With the start of a new year underway, two local pols are teaming up with a newly elected official to renew their call for the city to up protections for pedestrians and cyclists at two of southern Brooklyn’s most popular public spaces – the Coney Island Riegelmann Boardwalk and the Gravesend Bay Promenade/Shore Parkway Greenway.
The repeat call comes from Councilmembers Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch, joined now by newly-minted Councilmember Justin Brannan, on the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s January 2 announcement that the city is investing $50 million to install 1,500 permanent protective bollards at high-profile city locations, including Times Square.
The original call for bollards in Coney came from Treyger and Deutsch just days after the October 31 terrorist attack in Manhattan in which eight people lost their lives when a vehicle was used as a weapon against pedestrians and cyclists. The duo sent letters to the mayor, the NYPD, the Parks Department and the Department of Transportation calling for the installation of retractable, fortified safety bollards at all Boardwalk entry points wide enough to provide vehicular access.
Treyger then joined former Councilmember Vincent Gentile in calling for guardrails along the approximately mile-long stretch of the Gravesend Bay Promenade and Shore Parkway Greenway which currently feature no protection from the Belt Parkway’s eastbound traffic between Exits 4 and 5.
The first request was met by confirmation from both Parks and the NYPD that the city was evaluating the proposal while the second was answered with news that metal barriers would be installed at the entrance to the American Veterans Memorial Pier – one endpoint of the Gravesend Bay/Shore Parkway Promenade – after a pair of recent incidents in which vehicles drove onto and along the pier. No word was given on the request to add protection for the stretch of pedestrian/bike path between Exits 4 and 5, which remains exposed.
“Last year’s tragic incidents in Tribeca and Times Square were a painful message that we need to move swiftly to provide enhanced protection for pedestrians and cyclists at the city’s heavily-trafficked locations,” said Treyger. “I commend Mayor de Blasio for acting to implement safety measures at Times Square, at the American Veterans Memorial Pier, and at 10 other high-profile locations, but I remind the mayor that there are many other locations popular with pedestrians and cyclists which lack these same kinds of protective installations.
“The Coney Island Boardwalk and the Gravesend Bay Promenade are the pride of Southern Brooklyn, where local families and tourists alike come to walk, jog, cycle and roller blade, yet continue to be vulnerable to potential vehicular attacks,” he went on. “The millions of people who visit the Boardwalk each year deserve the peace of mind that strategically placed bollards can bring. The lack of guardrails along the mile-long stretch of promenade and park running adjacent to the eastbound Belt Parkway leaves visitors dangerously exposed to a heavily trafficked roadway where vehicles travel upwards of 50 miles per hour. The city must act to ensure safety for all.”
“It is common sense that anywhere you have a high concentration of pedestrians and cyclists alongside a high speed roadway there must be some type of protective barrier or guardrail,” said Brannan, who was sworn in as the new rep for Gentile’s former district on January 1. “I support the mayor’s efforts to better protect pedestrians throughout other parts of our city and join my colleagues Councilmembers Treyger and Deutsch in urging City Hall to implement similar safety measures along the Belt as soon as possible.”