Did Coney Island’s Renovation Work Too Well?

  • Bami Adeoyin/NYCgo

So, with a flurry of post-Sandy renovations, influx of chain restaurants, general booster-ism, and beach-goers diverted from still-closed shores like Fort Tilden, things are getting a little crowded down at Coney Island (yes, more than they already have been for years). Or, as the Daily News puts it, “As if there weren’t enough buns on Coney Island.” Terrible. But also seemingly true.

According to the Daily News, 2.4 million people have already visited Coney Island this summer, which accounts for more than half of the season’s total foot traffic for city beaches, approximately 4.3 million. All of which is great for local businesses, and sort of a pain in the ass for local residents who are hoping to hang onto amenities like parking spaces, or room to move on the sidewalk.

“It’s getting worse. People are taking up our parking spaces. They are leaving trash everywhere,” Ronald Stewart, a longtime resident, told the paper. “We are getting frustrated. We feel powerless.”

Local community board members are hoping to work with the DOT and the MTA to figure out a few workable compromises, like speeding up the traffic signal timing on Neptune Ave. to ease congestion, or a more ambitious plan that would involve a 1,000-car-capacity parking lot behind the train station at Avenue X where beach-goers could then take a shuttle to the actual shore. Per a CB12 official, it would be “something like they have at Disney World.”

And, per MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan, it won’t be happening. “We have no plans to build a parking deck above our Coney Island subway maintenance facility and/or train yard,” Donovan told the Daily News. Giant new parking facility or no, this doesn’t seem like a trend that’ll be slowing down anytime soon, at least not with so many other beaches closed for the summer. Seems like as good a time as any to test out our new branding concept for the neighborhood, “Times Square By The Shore.” If no one else, we assume the people over at Applebee’s will be on board.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

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