2012-02-10 / Top Stories

Boardwalk Benches Vanish

By Nicholas Briano


The boardwalk at Beach 121 Street where the benches have been removed to make way for a bike lane. The boardwalk at Beach 121 Street where the benches have been removed to make way for a bike lane. More than 60 benches have been removed over the past couple of weeks from the Rockaway boardwalk to make way for a bike lane, according to local sources.

The lane will run along the northern end of the boardwalk where the benches used to be, from Beach 81 Street to Beach 125 Street. For those concerned about sitting on the boardwalk, the benches facing the ocean are still there and Parks has no plans to remove those.

This addition to the boardwalk, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the publicly scrutinized shared bike lanes installed back in 2009 along Rockaway Beach Boulevard will be removed anytime soon. The boardwalk bike lanes, meanwhile, should be ready in time for summer. Rules and regulations regarding the bike lanes will be similar to what’s in place now. The lanes will be closed during beach hours on the weekend and holidays due to increased pedestrian congestion. An effort to reach out to Parks for more specifics on the project went unanswered.

The discussion, Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska said, started around two years ago when the bike lanes were installed on Rockaway Beach Boulevard. People began requesting the privilege to ride their bikes on the boardwalk, which was previously prohibited, even though loosely enforced. In 2009, Community Board 14 requested of Parks that bikes be permitted on the boardwalk with the exception of beach hours on weekends and holidays. The amendment of policy was successful enough, Gaska continued, for Parks to dedicate a lane solely for bikes on the boardwalk. Before the lane opens, however, signage must be coordinated with DOT to warn cyclists and pedestrians to yield to one another at boardwalk entrance ramps and staircases. The plan is to eventually extend the bike lanes the entire length of the boardwalk to Far Rockaway.

“The community board felt that removing the north side benches was the best way to add a bike lane,” Gaska said. “The community feels that riding the bikes on the boardwalk is much safer than the streets.”

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