The New York City Police Department’s plan for security at the World Trade Center is akin to the erection of a “Berlin Wall,” a group of residents of Lower Manhattan said in a lawsuit against the department.
The World Trade Center Neighborhood Alliance, a group of people who live and work in the area, filed the suit in state Supreme Court in Manhattan today, saying the NYPD’s security plan for the area would create an “isolated fortress downtown,” tie up traffic and pollute the air.
Residents would have access to their homes blocked by physical barriers under the plan, will be required to show credentials to reach their homes and will be “overrun” by thousands of tourists from tour buses, the alliance said in the petition.
Barriers and checkpoints will make the area “as impervious to vehicle traffic as the Berlin Wall,” the alliance said. “The Trade Center will effectively be turned into a walled fortress, devoid of any local traffic and accessible only to those willing and able to get through guarded checkpoints.”
The city’s Law Department said in a statement that the importance of security at the site “cannot be overstated” given the two terrorist attacks there in the past 20 years and that car and truck bombs pose “very real and serious risks.”
Construction must move ahead so the security measures can be implemented as the site becomes operational, the Law Department said.
“The 1993 attack on the World Trade Center was a truck bomb -- and the security plan guards against vehicle bombs by screening automobiles,” the Law Department said. “Pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to freely enter and move about the site. The environmental review that is being challenged was a thorough and public process.”
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