Parks Commish Dismisses Manhattan Beach Concerns

Despite numerous complaints and pleas from local leadership, a two year battle to remove concrete planters in Manhattan Beach has culminated in a dismissive letter from the Brooklyn chief of the Parks Department.

Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo received a letter from Parks Department Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Julius Spiegel claiming that neighbor’s worries were exaggerated and that the concrete planters pose no risk at all. Scavo read the letter at last week’s Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association meeting.

“I understand the issues you raise concerning traffic crossing over the boulevard from both directions,” wrote Spiegel. “The Park Avenue Malls, near Union Square, are lushly planted with high shrubs in containers, much like those on Oriental Boulevard, but still allow for the safe flow of traffic,” he added.

Manhattan Beach residents say the four-feet-tall planters block the view of oncoming traffic for turning vehicles, causing accidents along  the bustling Oriental Boulevard. Both of the neighborhood civic groups, along with the Community Board, have written the Parks Department to request removal, and neighbors have offered to raise funds to pay for it. But though there appeared to be an agreement to move them earlier this year, no action was taken.

Spiegel’s letter appears to be a signal that the department wont be moving the planters, and wont hear any more complaints.

“The letter was insulting and was more of a final act that they won’t be moved,” Scavo told a Courier-Life reporter.

Meanwhile, members of the Manhattan Beach Community Group have enlisted the 61st Precinct to help battle accidents and speedsters along the boulevard. Huge highway signs were placed near Ocean Avenue yesterday reminding drivers that the street is an accident prone area and to drive slowly. A police scooter is also parked along the boulevard to deter speedsters from blazing down the straightaway.

Related stories:
MBCG Puts Parks Dept. “On Notice”