Yes, There Will Be A Boardwalk
Yes, there will be a boardwalk—or at least a boardwalk plan. The plan, being developed now, will be revealed when the Community Board meets in September. That, and other news was dispensed by Liam Kavanagh, Deputy Commissioner of New York City Parks in a visit to The Wave on Tuesday.
To a significant degree, the Parks Department is using boardwalks in Virginia Beach and Ocean City, Maryland—-both of which have sea walls—-as models for a Rockaway version. Parks hopes to get community acceptance and begin work soon after, with the goal being a full, continuous boardwalk open for the 2014 summer season. The plans, Kavanagh said, would essentially be a net result of Parks’ research, Army Corps consultation, and community input which was gathered at town hall meetings and through a Parks website.
Questions about elevating portions of the boardwalk and allowing for commercial or recreational areas are still to be answered. Kavanagh said Parks is open to ideas and will continue to accept suggestions from residents through their website, in writing, or speaking to supervisors such as Kavanagh, Queens Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, and even City Parks Commissioner Veronica White. Although close-to-complete plans are expected to be revealed in September, Kavanagh could not predict a starting date for construction but emphasized the goal would be to open the boardwalk in 2014.
Parks has approximately $195 million set aside for the boardwalk rebuild.
Virginia Beach’s boardwalk is three miles long, 28 feet in width and includes a bike path. The boardwalk runs through hotel and recreation areas and abuts a residential community of expensive homes. Virginia Beach and Ocean City have seawalls in addition their boardwalks.
When asked about the lack of a bike path at the new boardwalk islands in Rockaway, Kavanagh said he was confident that landscape architects could come up with “a creative solution” for a bike lane which he said is important to include in any new design.
Before a boardwalk is built, Rockaway is getting trap bags, a system of sand bags used for flood protection. The bags are being installed from Beach 149th Street through Beach 55th Street. Plans for east of Beach 55th Street have not yet been established.
A boardwalk with a seawall will offer protection for nearly six miles of the Rockaway peninsula, on the beach side. As for areas without a boardwalk such as Belle Harbor, Neponsit, and Breezy Point Kavanagh said much of that will be determined by the reformulation study the Army Corps of Engineers completes in 2015. Installing rock groins, extending the boardwalk to Riis Park and/or constructing a uniformed integrated system of dunes are some of the measures being considered.
On a less critical issue, Kavanagh said the Parks Department was very pleased with the MoMA VW2 Dome on Beach 94th Street and hoped to work with MoMA again about the possibility of bringing it back next year. The Dome is set to be taken down June 30th or thereabouts.