Safety zone: City to study bollards for Boardwalk

No shoes, no problem: Cathy Hay kicks off her shoes and enjoys a stroll on the wooden Boardwalk.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

A few weeks after two local pols called on the city to make Coney Island’s Riegelmann Boardwalk safer for pedestrians by installing fortified safety bollards at vehicle access points, the Parks Department confirmed that it is working with the police to study the proposal and determine how best to make the iconic walkway safer for the 14 million people who visit it each year.

In the wake of the Oct. 31 truck attack that killed eight and injured 11 in Manhattan, Councilmen Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) and Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) sent letters to Mayor DeBlasio, Police Commissioner James O’Neill, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, and Department of Transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg asking them to work together to fund and install retractable, fortified bollards at certain entry points to the Riegelmann Boardwalk to block vehicle access except for authorized city vehicles.

Councilman Treyger said in a statement that the city should prioritize protecting the Boardwalk since it is such a popular destination, and since open spaces like it have increasingly become the targets of terrorists.

“The Coney Island Boardwalk is one of our city’s most iconic destinations, enjoyed by Coney Islanders, residents from across the city, and tourists alike,” Treyger said. “The Oct. 31 attack in Tribeca and the vehicular attacks we have recently witnessed around the world are a reminder that we need to implement safety measures to protect pedestrians at our most frequently visited attractions.”

The Boardwalk is under the jurisdiction of the Parks Department, which received the original letter from the pols on Nov. 9, a spokeswoman confirmed. But the spokeswoman would how long the department’s evaluation of the Boardwalk safety proposal will be finished, only saying that there are currently no finalized plans and that Parks continues to work with the police department to ensure the safety of the Boardwalk and those who use it.

A spokesman for Councilman Treyger said that the office did not specify in the letter where along the boardwalk or at how many access points the bollards should be installed, but that they are calling for the city to install them at any place where a vehicle can access the boardwalk. The spokeswoman from the Parks Department said that there are approximately 32 entry points for emergency and maintenance vehicles along the Boardwalk.

In August, New York Magazine reported that a single bollard can cost around $2,500, with installation costing up to the same amount.

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

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

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