The Parks Department has yet to move all of the 31 massive concrete planters lining the Oriental Boulevard median, despite promises to have the effort completed by November 30.
Two days after the agency’s deadline, at least 16 planters still remain between West End Avenue and Girard Street. The remaining planters were moved onto the Kingsborough Community College campus after the school offered to provide the machinery and manpower needed to make the move, and the city greenlighted storing those on campus. Kingsborough completed the transfer on November 24.
But despite inaccurate media reports that all of the planters were moved, the fate of the remaining 16 is still up in the air.
“Does that surprise you? The city said they’d do something and then they didn’t,” said Judy Baron, the traffic committee chair of the Manhattan Beach Community Group. “I always said when I see it I’ll believe it.”
The problem appears to be that the city cannot decide where to redistribute the rest of the planters, said a source involved in the effort. Officials are considering places nearby, like Manhattan Beach Park or Shore Boulevard, but locations as far as Bill Brown Park on Bedford Avenue and Avenue X are also being considered. The college is awaiting directions from the city, and affirmed that they’ll keep to their word to do the legwork wherever the city decides to place them.
Parks Department has not yet returned calls for comment on the issue.
Since they were placed in 2005, the community has fought for removal of the planters, which has vegetation that grows as tall as 4 feet during spring and summer. Residents say that their height blocks the view of oncoming traffic for drivers attempting a turn, causing several accidents along the busy strip.
Though the city stubbornly denied their requests for years, they finally made the concession to traffic safety after a 4-year-old boy was struck and killed in a tragic accident this October. The city, though, said they did not have the equipment to move the planters, which weigh several hundreds of pounds, leading Kingsborough to make the offer.
Since the planters lack drainage holes, the added weight of water caused the concrete on some to crack when the school attempted to relocate them. Kingsborough will coordinate with the Sanitation Department to have broken planters removed.