It’s a shame it’s a two-year effort, but the project about to get underway to protect the Boardwalk from potential vehicle attacks is a wise investment.
We live in a “what if” world and unfortunately Ocean City, specifically the Boardwalk, is not prepared for some of the disturbing incidents that have occurred across the country and internationally.
Last August one person was killed and nearly two dozen injured when a white supremacist plowed his vehicle into a crowd of protestors in Charlottesville, Va. A couple months later, a terrorist slammed his rented truck into a group of bicyclists near the World Trade Center memorial killing eight.
Both of these cases involve extremism and it’s an unfortunate reality today for governments and private agencies to look around and predict where vulnerabilities lie. The Boardwalk, where thousands of people converge on busy summer day, is one of those places.
While it may seem outlandish to spend more than $1.2 million on security barriers for an open space like the Boardwalk, the reality is it’s necessary. The unacceptable route would be to do nothing and resort to hindsight thinking of “if only we had done this.”
Featured in the Boardwalk access control project for this summer are the addition of “jersey barriers and metal gates that honestly won’t be that attractive,” according to City Engineer Terry McGean. In the next phase, to be in place for next summer, will come the more aesthetically pleasing bollards and planters used in many areas.
The long and short of it is this summer the barriers put in place will not be pretty, but they will protect people on the Boardwalk from any type of devastating surprise attack or a joy rider under the influence.
It’s money well spent.