Local pols call for barriers at Coney Island Boardwalk after Manhattan truck attack

Local pols call for barriers at Coney Island Boardwalk after Manhattan truck attack
Photo by Milo Hess

A pair of Southern Brooklyn pols are calling on the city to make the Coney Island Boardwalk safer for pedestrians after last month’s Manhattan truck attack on the West Side Highway killed eight people and injured twelve.

Councilmen Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) and Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) sent letters to Mayor DeBlasio, Police Commissioner James O’Neill, and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver calling on the trio’s offices to install retractable, fortified bollards at certain entry points to the Riegelmann Boardwalk to restrict vehicle access to authorized vehicles.

Treyger said that even though the police department has successfully foiled other attempted attacks on the city, the barriers have become increasingly necessary to protect the Coney Boardwalk after other truck attacks in Nice, London, Berlin, Stockholm, Times Square, and now Lower Manhattan have killed dozens and injured hundreds more.

“As we’ve sadly seen — both in our own city and on an international level — vehicles are increasingly being used in high-pedestrian-traffic areas as weapons to attack the public,” Treyger said. “Securing the entries to these areas with retractable, fortified bollards is an important measure of protection that still enables access for authorized vehicles. Our city must do everything in its power to make sure we are keeping people safe.”

Deutsch said in a statement that the Oct. 31 attack — the deadliest in city since the 9-11 attacks — made the speedy installation of the Boardwalk protections imperative because they would help prevent car attacks on the iconic beachfront walkway, which sees more than 14 million visitors a year.

“This attack has demonstrated that we must be ultra-vigilant, and take necessary precautions to protect New Yorkers,” said Deutsch. “Retractable safety bollards would provide security on the boardwalk from the threat of vehicle attacks.”

Both Treyger and Deutsch have been calling for protective bollards at the Boardwalk since April, after a truck attack in Stockholm killed four people.

Local civic leaders have also been voicing their concerns about boardwalk safety beginning of this year, according to the head of the Alliance for Coney Island, who said the space should be completely closed to cars in order to make it safer for pedestrians.

“Non-emergency vehicles do not need access to the Boardwalk and it really should be a safe, pedestrian-only zone,” said Alexandra Silversmith.

The Boardwalk is under the jurisdiction of the Parks Department, which received the letter on Nov. 9, a spokeswoman confirmed. She added that the department has not yet done any cost estimates or feasibility studies on adding bollards to the Boardwalk.

The police department directed all questions to the Department of Transportation, which manages the installation of the bollards. It has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.