Boardwalk Focus Group Meeting #4 [Some Thoughts]

I went to the final Boardwalk Focus Group Meeting where results from the boardwalk surveys and focus groups were discussed in great detail (click here for results & presentation).  I am pleasantly surprised by some of the findings, most notably the boardwalk material type.

As you can see in the chart below, wood was the overwhelming #1 choice with 55.4% of the respondents wanting some sort of wood involved – whether it’s solo or wood/cement combo. While I am in the group that believes a boardwalk needs to have boards to be called a boardwalk (duh), the wood/cement combo does seem intriguing. Basically, a cement path would center hard wood boards on each side. Rollerblading would finally be possible and fire trucks would have better access to beach-side high rise fires. While I am not a fan of large vehicles on the boardwalk, safety of course outweighs everything. I just don’t like the leisure driving on the boardwalk. Yeah.. those have to be put to a stop (sorry… off topic rant.)

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I am extremely pleased that only 10.2% wanted cement alone. A cement boardwalk is not a boardwalk, but a hot and ugly street filled with old gum, bad knees and puddles (blog = opinion).

One major issue among residents was the protection of our homes. On the topic of a sea wall in conjunction with the boardwalk, one resident said she lives off Pacific Blvd which has no boardwalk and was worried about water being pushed to her area. That is definitely something to think about. It’s also a topic I brought up in the past: Do we turn Long Beach into a bathtub? Because a wall just protecting one section of Long Beach isn’t the answer [Read – I’m not a big fan of Sea Walls (But what do I know)]. Again, Blog = Opinion.

Along with protecting our homes, one resident believes that extending the jetties will help; trapped sand will give us a shallower and longer beach. That is supposed to help lessen storm surges. Sounds logical.

Working with the Army Corp of Engineers alongside the boardwalk-rebuild was another popular topic. A resident was concerned with new boardwalk height. He said if we rebuild it at the same height, what happens if the Army Corp comes in and puts dunes 5 feet higher than the boardwalk? He added that everybody under 5 feet tall will have a wonderful view of the dunes and nothing more. The man has a point.

Really interesting stuff. Definitely check out the Boardwalk Focus Group Meeting results (click here) and watch the vidoes of all the meetings, posted on the City of Long Beach official site: LINK

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16 thoughts on “Boardwalk Focus Group Meeting #4 [Some Thoughts]”

  1. Whatever. These meetings are just for show, to make the “community” feel like they have input. A “quick and dirty” wood boardwalk will go up from National to Long Beach ASAP by June – the City wants it for the festivals, and you can bet that the Allegria and the Meridian and Aqua aren’t going to have their guests/renters/tenants looking out towards a destroyed beach and boardwalk. That’s the City’s first priority, everything else – including protection of residential property in the City, takes a back seat to tourism and real estate special interests.

  2. I don’t know… they have to take some of the feedback into consideration. If only 10% wanted cement and LIRO comes in and puts all cement, how weird would that look?

    On the other hand… You do have a point in a way that, FEMA only wants to replace what was there. It does seems like we’re going to say to FEMA – “hey those boards just weren’t good enough, but these will do. And all of our old lamp posts got destroyed, how about these fancy ones?”

    I think the end result will look the same. You can’t expand the boardwalk over the beach without DEC approval, plus we’re going to need that room for dunes. I just wonder if the boardwalk will be higher and if there will be bathrooms and a lifeguard shack on the beach again.

    Also, sorry for typos in article… ha. Next time I won’t write while I’m half sleep.

  3. wood? really? how the hell in this day and age can we say wood is the most economical and stable material? what the is wrong with the plastic recycled stuff that looks like wood? you get your silly “boards”, but you dont have to replace em every 5-7 years. (average life span of a wood board compared to about 20-30 years of plastic). maybe its just the word plastic you dont like? you can even have it wood colored! feel better? i cant believe you would keep boasting support for a source like wood rather than a recycled source. especially in this greener day and age. shame…

  4. Yeah, i mean we are all entitled to our own opinion. Really hard wood with screws would last a lot longer than the 2x4s and nails we used to have, plus they are more sustainable and aesthetically pleasing than trex-type material. I am also worried about a slippery surface and whether the material absorbs heat.

    I am not completely against those types boards – I did do a post on timbersil decking a few weeks ago: seabythecity.com/?p=17969 that seems promising.

    Again, this is just my opinion, but I welcome yours too. I am really just adamant against having an all-cement boardwalk. It’s going to be freakin hot as hell.

  5. The boards do look nice, but most of those plastic products get way too hot in the sun. Of course there may be some newer plastic materials that don’t, I’m surely no expert. I would have liked the Liro experts to lay out the various options with their pros and cons and short term and long term costs for concerned citizens to discuss. Seems like the City chose to organize brainstorming sessions to somehow list and quantify citizen wish lists first, before getting to the engineering, true sustainability, financial and other real factors that will determine a realistic decision. That’s ok given the excellent presentation of local opinion that was assembled, but next steps involve some technical stuff.

  6. Those girls are jumping because the decking is hot.:)

    Seriously there are some very strong and durable structural recycled plastics available. The Trex type materials, which are a blend of wood fillers and plastic are not nearly as strong. We had some structural plastic installed at the entrance of an amusement pier – in front of an ice cream stand – and after 4 years it was power washed off and looked brand new. Cigarettes and gum had no effect on it. And this was plastic that could support 200 lbs / sqft on 24″ spans. Trex type plastics are usually limited to 60 lbs/sqft on only 16″ spans.

    Plastic is hotter than wood but certainly less than beach sand itself so we’ve never really worried about the heat issue as the durability of the plastics impressive.

  7. Anthony, Slippeyness is hard to measure as there are so many variables. We’ve found that the structural plastics, with a good anti-slip wood grain finish, are less slippery than smooth wet wood. Especially the hard woods.

    There is also PermaTrak for a center concrete section which is certainly more appealing than plain concrete.

    http://www.permatrak.com/

  8. I liked the idea of focussing on “Ipe” wood with the “Buy a board funding Program” ipe may not be environmentally savvy, but it is the best option. We coukd invest into offsetting our negative deforestation action for sustainable assets.

  9. Sensei, With all due respect, the deforestation of the Amazonian Rainforests is a direct cause of the global warming = sea rise equation that will make storms like Sandy so much more devastating. Its not a choice that you can simply offset anymore.

    Also, there is a difference between Ipe installed in low traffic areas and high traffic applications like a boardwalk. Atlantic City is looking for alternatives to ipe, and I can show you pictures of the trashed Ipe that was installed just a few years ago on the Wildwood Boardwalk.

    That said, a modest Buy A Board program could completely fund a new state-of-the-art Long Beach Boardwalk.

  10. At the rate they are going about this, we’ll be luck if we get the Boardwalk done before the summer of 2014!

    Whats the matter with these people, Why wasn’t all these plans done a long time ago? They sould have been in the planning stage whole they were demolishing the Boardwalk not after it was all done!

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