The Riegelmann Boardwalk, which stretches from Coney Island’s western end all the way to Brighton Beach’s east, is made of wood, which is susceptible to erosion. And, frankly, the city is tired of having to fix it. So when it replaces five blocks of Brighton boardwalk, from Coney Island Avenue to Brighton 15th Street—a project expected to be done by 2014—they want to use faux-wood, “recycled plastic lumber,” which, according to the Post, “looks and feels like the current wooden panels but doesn’t break down as easily.”
Few are upset about the change to the fake stuff. What has residents up in arms is the city’s plan to install a 12-foot-wide strip on concrete down the middle of the less-iconic faux-boardwalk. “This is violating the one piece of solitude in a city that’s already a concrete jungle!” one advocate said at a recent meeting, the Post reports.
The city considers the plan a compromise: in March, they had asked for a 16-foot strip, which was way down from an original plan to replace the boardwalk with sidewalk. The concrete is necessary, they say, to handle traffic from emergency and parks department vehicles.
Critics say faux-wood can handle traffic just as well as concrete, and the city admits that the most important factor is cost. Concrete costs $24 less per square foot.
The community board will vote on the proposal, but only in an advisory capacity. The final decision rests with the city.