Alternative Means of LBPD Transportation for the Boardwalk [The Boardwalk Is Not A Road]

I don’t mean to beat this topic to death. The majority of you agree there needs to be less vehicular traffic on the boardwalk. Because of that, I plan on beating this topic to death.

Today we’re going to talk about alternative vehicles for our LBPD. While we all agree that they need to patrol and respond quickly and safely to all emergences, their 2.5 ton cars do contribute to some boardwalk damage. Besides, i’m not exactly sure how safe it is to drive an average sized car, on what is essentially a sidewalk. Perhaps we can replace them with a lighter and safer alternative vehicles?

So here are a few that police departments in other municipalities use. This stuff costs money, but so does large amounts of wood & nails, slip & fall lawsuits and hours of boardwalk repair. Footing the bill for better means of transportation that is lighter and safer is a no-brainer. Oh, and this does not apply to ambulances; I’m strictly talking daily patrol that does a wear and tear to the boardwalk and our wallets.

1) Let’s start with the basic: Mounted Police. I feel like when I first moved to Long Beach, I saw some horse-mounted LBPD. Can somebody please confirm whether or not our LBPD has horses? Benefits: They give the officers some height and eyesight distance, they look cool, you can pet them (the horses, not the officers) and besides, who doesn’t love a horse? Negatives: Not ideal for the officers during the colder months. The horses need food, care and a place to sleep. Lots of horse poop and flies all over the place. (Although, that can be a positive if we create a long Beach community garden).

2) Next we have the complete opposite of a horse: Segways. Our LBPD has them already; The LB Patch recently did a whole article about it (read – Segways on the Boardwalk). I’m not the biggest fan of segways for the LBPD, but what do I know? Maybe it’s because you can’t pet them like a horse, but they seem like an expensive gimmick that should be left for mall cops. Benefits: Futuristic, faster than a person running, easy to maneuver. Negatives: Not ideal during the cold months or snow. Also, when you see a person riding a segway, part of you wants to laugh; that is not ideal for the image of an intimidating police officer.

(Photo Credit – Sergeant Eric Cregeen, LB Patch: Segways on the Boardwalk)

3) The next two photos were sent in by a reader named KAYO, who said, “LBPD patrolled the boardwalk years ago with vehicles like these. They used a 3 wheel scooter that was nearly silent and caught lots of underage drinkers who didn’t notice it coming. There is no reason that they can’t return these lightweight’s to service.”  

I personally don’t remember the three-wheel vehicles, but I also didn’t pay much attention to this stuff back then. Benefits: three wheels = one less flat tire to worry about. Less dangerous for pedestrians/cyclists during an emergency because they’re smaller and easier to maneuver. They take up less room, are lighter and more fuel efficient than your average police vehicle. They work every season too, so cold weather shouldn’t be a problem. Perhaps this is the way to go for LBPD boardwalk patrol? Negatives: I honestly can’t think of any.

4) Gem Cars / Golf Carts. I took the following photo in Coney Island just a few months ago. I was actually on that boardwalk for several hours and not once did I see a regular sized car or truck pass by. The sanitation carts even had hitches on the back for garbage storage. Our LBPD does have some all-terrain versions of these (wish I had a photo, but I don’t).  Benefits & Negatives: Similar to the three-wheel cars (see above).

 5) Bicycles. Benefits: Exercise! This is ideal on a hot summer day when the boardwalk is crowded.  Negatives: Would require more LBPD patrol to cover more ground. Plus, I wouldn’t want to tourture Long Beach’s finest when it snows or rains.

Conclusion: I personally think those three-wheel carts or Gem/Golf Carts are the best way to go. They’ll keep the LBPD warm and dry when it’s cold and wet out. They’re faster than a person running, yet not large enough to create a dangerous situation if an emergency arises. Plus, the officers might not feel so removed from boardwalk-happenings like they might in their comfy cars. Most of all, these ligher vehicles will have less of an impact on our boards:  A police vehicle can weigh somewhere between 2000 to 3500 pounds. A Gem Car? 1200 lbs, give or take the amount of options you give it.

Any thoughts? Am I missing anything?


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10 thoughts on “Alternative Means of LBPD Transportation for the Boardwalk [The Boardwalk Is Not A Road]”

  1. No the LBPD does not have any horses. The three wheeled things that you previously described are called Cushmans. They were uses many years ago and the department no longer has any. They have some golf cart type vehicles (John Deere type) that can be used both on the beach and the boardwalk. And yes there are bicycles and segways. They have more than enough vehicles to operate on the boardwalk so its not damaged any further. The real issue is manpower. If you remove an officer from a patrol car to place in one of these other vehicles(Segway,Bicycle, Etc), you now leave his post uncovered. If assistance is needed in another part of town, that would be a safety issue. If manpower was not an issue, yes you can leave an officer or two on these segways or golf carts to stay on the boardwalk to patrol it efficiently. However if they are short on manpower, the boardwalk still needs to be patrolled and the only way to do it without jeopardizing someones safety is to do it in a Police Car.

  2. Thanks for the info. I am not proposing we bring down the amount of patrol. I am merely saying the current police vehicles on the boardwalk are only heavy, but also dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists due to their size. Plus, wouldn’t patrol be better if you were more in-tuned with what’s going on the street level? Leave the police cars for the roads. We are going to disagree on this topic, but you have to understand, this is just a blog. I am not in charge of change here.

    I am not sure why they got rid of the cushmans

  3. What will they do if they get a call? Speed down at 60 MPH to respond? Cars and trucks don’t belong on the boardwalk. It’s dangerous to pedestrians and causes costly damage. As Anthony pointed out in this article there are many other options that make way more sense.

  4. Max makes a valid point, but there has to be a happy medium. With the Gem cars they can still drive on the road, which is currently being done by the sanitation crew. Long Beach isn’t that large an area to patrol and I understand it is divided into sectors, so I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.

    I don’t know if it is true, but rumor has it that the city just bought a couple of new cars, so I am sure they will cry poverty.

  5. Oh, Anthony, Nassau County had/has a mounted unit and they would augment LBPD during events like Irish Day. I haven’t seen them in a while either.

  6. “I don’t mean to beat this topic to death.” Too late! 🙂

    I don’t like seeing vehicles on the boardwalk, but what the heck… I’ll be devil’s advocate. What studies or proof says that these vehicles are bad for the boardwalk? Is the boardwalk more torn up in the middle where these cars usually drive? To my very novice eye, the boards just look to be rotting. That would be from the harsh weather and salt water.

    I’m sure the vehicles are bad for the boards, but there’s obviously a bigger issue. Weather and salt. We can’t move the boardwalk inside so maybe we use better boards… or double or triple the maint. crew and do more patchwork repairs. This talk about vehicles is taking our eye off the real problem. I’ve been riding my bike a lot on the boardwalk and it really is crappy. It’s like the city doesn’t care about its jewel.

    I like the horse idea. They had them in Cincinnati and the idea was to allow the public to have interaction with the police. They see a horse, they go pet it, they talk to the cops, they start to like the cops. Good public relations type thing. The other vehicles in the article just make the cops look like sissies.

  7. @John Lately – feel free to jump on the Screw the Boardwalk bandwagon – – where we’re advocating just what you propose and intend to do something about it. With Sea by the City’s support, we’ve made real inroads with the city and are currently trying to ‘nail’ down a date.

    I’m not sure there’s been a study, and know you’re only playing devil’s advocate, but it’s patently clear that the vehicles are having an adverse impact on the boardwalk. One just needs to watch and listen as the boards pop up and down every time a car/truck drives over them. That said, you are absolutely right, a major concern is simply the condition of the boards themselves. The wood they’re using has a 7-10 year lifespan and, by the city’s estimates, a vast majority are well over 25 years old.

  8. If wood was such an ideal surface for motor vehicle traffic who aren’t all of the roads inland covered with wood? The name “boardwalk” say’s it all: boards to be walked on. The word dosen’t mention Autos, Trucks jeeps, just “walk”ing.

    I question the statement that parts of the boardwalk are “25 years old”. I lived right on the boardwalk for 28 years and witnessed the boardwalk in front of my building being replaced three times. Please give the name of the “city” person you mention as your source. Are they by any chance the people who want to keep their personal city owned pickup trucks that cause most of the damage? Does the city keep records of exactly what has been repaired/replaced over the years? “The wood lasts 7-10 years” What about the combination of wood, fastening’s, and truck traffic? The wood dosen’t rot in 7-10 years but it gets pulverized much sooner.

    There are seven pickup trucks. They are driven on/off the BW 5 times daily ( work ,2. off to break, on from break to lunch on from lunch 4. off to break on from break, 5. quitting time.

    For 7 trucks thats 8 one way trips daily X 5 days weekly. Thats 40 trips per week–thats around 2,000 trips p/a alone, just from the pickup trucks . On to that tack: LBPD cars, Eruv repair truck, lighting repair truck, all of the vehicles for the vendors at the various flea market’s, race’s, health fair’s. And the repair crew’s 10 passenger van, 2 flatbed trucks, 2 or 3 dump truck, plus others.

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