Traditional wood to prototype concrete in Brighton Beach. The Parks Department, are attempting to replace the historic boardwalk in Coney Island and Brighton Beach with concrete. The City refuses to allocate proper funds to maintain the wooden boardwalk. (Photo by Paul Martinka)
Call it a concrete bungle!
Critics says that the city was horribly mistaken when it indicated last week that concrete was the only viable alternative for the repaired Coney Island Boardwalk, because environmentalists and one leading plastics scientist insist that prefabricated “faux-wood” could do the job just as well — or better, according to the Brooklyn Paper.
At a meeting last week, a key Parks Department official said that plastic material — called “recycled plastic lumber” — would not work because it warps, gets slippery when wet, and becomes hot after hours in the sun.
But opponents, who will host their own meeting on Nov. 17, scoffed at this statement — literally!
“The U.S. Navy doesn’t think it’s slippery, the U.S. Army doesn’t either,” said Richard Lehman, referencing the fact that the military has made bridges out of plastic. “When plastic-based lumber gets wet, it is not slippery.”
Lehman, who is the director of the Advanced Polymer Center at Rutgers University, added that the real issue — one that he’s heard elsewhere, given that he is one of the leading scientists studying plastics — is the aesthetics of concrete, which many locals have said would turn the Boardwalk into a sidewalk.
“If you want a highway-look [on the Boardwalk], of course you go with concrete,” said Lehman. “But that is a major departure.”
The plastic lumber would still resemble a boardwalk and would seem an easier “sell” than the scored and colored concrete that the city favors.
The Brooklyn Paper - November 10, 2010 - By Stephen Brown
A Walk In The Park - October 29, 2010