`Years of heavy vehicles have caused significant damage’
A bill that curbs vehicle use on all New York City boardwalks — including the famous Riegelmann Boardwalk that stretches along the southern shore of Coney Island from Sea Gate to Brighton Beach — was passed by City Council on Thursday, April 22.
The bill limits the weight of city vehicles that provide maintenance, construction or public safety to city boardwalks to under 2,400 pounds.
In addition, the bill only allows other vehicles on the city’s boardwalks in the case of an emergency.
According to Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Sea Gate-Gravesend-Bensonhurst), large vehicles have done enormous damage to the Coney Island boardwalk, with its wooden-plank surface, and the bill is overdue.
“It is an iconic American place of leisure and recreation – it was not designed as a roadway for utility vehicles,” Treyger said.
“Years of heavy vehicles driving on the boardwalk have caused significant damage to the landmarked site. By prohibiting vehicles from driving on boardwalks and limiting the weight of public safety and maintenance utility vehicles, we are giving the boardwalk in Coney Island back to the people,” he added.
Police vehicles over the years have frequently traversed the boardwalk, ranging from light two-seaters to regular sedans to SUVs. The Parks Department also uses a range of vehicles, from small lightweight ones to vans and small trucks.
During the early days of the pandemic, when access to the beach was limited, cars carrying police and parks enforcement personnel were common, enforcing a ban on swimming.
The Riegelmann Boardwalk was named a New York City landmark in 2018, after the Parks Department tried to repair part of it with concrete rather than with wooden planks.
Violators of the bill will be subject to a misdemeanor punishment, a $1.000 fine or both, as well as civil penalty between $500 and $1000.
The law will go into effect immediately.
“We are happy to have [the boardwalk] protected from vehicles to ensure safe experiences for the public and for the boardwalk to remain a destination and part of the Coney Island experience for memories for generations to come,” said Alexandra Silversmith, executive director for the Alliance for Coney Island.