2006-07-14 / Editorial/Opinion

Opinions In Deplorable Condition, Boardwalk Needs Quick Fix

Walk the world-renowned boardwalk. It's the longest boardwalk in the world, some say, more than six miles of pure walking pleasure. Or not! Actually, our boardwalk, for most of its length, is in need of immediate repair. In some places, it is impassible. And, that is not acceptable when thousands of present residents and legions of newcomers are lured to Rockaway by a swim in the ocean and a walk on the boards. Walk the Coney Island boardwalk. Occasionally, you might find a nail sticking up. Walk the Rockaway boardwalk. It is in deplorable, dangerous condition. Why? There are many answers. The quick answer is that the boardwalk is made of wood and wood deteriorates over the years. That the boardwalk is repaired once a decade and only when there is a hue and cry from residents and politicians alike is to understate the problem. Then, there are the trucks. The legion of trucks that run the boardwalk each day. Parks Department garbage trucks picking up the overflowing cans. Police vans and cars. Parks Department SUV's full of high-paid supervisors. Parks Department Vans filled with low-paid functionaries. Maintenance trucks. Beach buggies that race up and down. An occasional fire truck or chief's car. Wheels destroying the already-rotting boards. There is a solution to the problem, however. First, keep vehicles (with the exception of emergency vehicles actually responding to an emergency) off the boardwalk entirely. Secondly, repair sections as they rot rather than wait for entire zip codes of boardwalk to deteriorate. And third, change the boardwalk slowly from wood to concrete. Look at the board walk at its most eastern terminus at Beach 9 Street. The boardwalk there is concrete. It will last almost forever. Is it as esthetically pleasing as a traditional wooden boardwalk? Probably not, but it certainly stands up to wear, tear and weather in much better form. In any case, something must be done and done quickly. Rockaway residents need their soothing summer walks on the boardwalk. It is one of our legacies that is about to be lost.

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