Increased Memorial Day weekend traffic eyed
STEVENSVILLE — As summer unofficially kicks off Memorial Day weekend, AAA Mid-Atlantic projects nearly 834,0000 Marylanders will travel, a 2.3 percent increase compared to 2016, and the highest figure for the holiday since 2005, mirroring the nationwide trend for Memorial Day travel. The Maryland Transportation Authority estimates more than 377,000 people will travel across the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29.
“Our forecast shows that Marylanders are joining Americans across the country in planning a getaway for the Memorial Day holiday weekend in record numbers not seen since 2005,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Increases in personal income and falling unemployment rates have led to strong growth in consumer spending, as well as a high level of consumer optimism. These are the driving factors motivating Marylanders to open up their wallets to spend on a holiday trip.”
AAA Mid-Atlantic, transportation and safety officials, as well as law enforcement, were joined by Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan Turesday morning, May 23, at Hemingway’s Restaurant in Stevensville, at the southern base of the Bay Bridge, to kick off the unofficial start to the summer vacation season with travel projections and traffic safety initiatives.
“Ocean City is excited to kick off the summer season and the Memorial Holiday Weekend,” said Meehan. “Our summer is full of free family fun, every day of the week, including exciting signature events like the 10th Annual Air Show. Despite all of the excitement, safety is always our number one priority. We want our visitors to arrive in Ocean City safely, stay safe while you’re here and return home safely. Remember to Walk Smart, using crosswalks and crossing with the pedestrian signal.”
Nearly 744,000 Marylanders intend to drive to their destination, a 2.1 percent increase over last year’s holiday. Residents taking to the roads represent the largest share (88 percent) of overall travelers.