Residents Suing to Prevent 'Fortresslike' Security Plan at World Trade Center
Barriers, gates, fences and checkpoints surround the new World Trade Center in order to secure the new site, but some Lower Manhattan residents are preparing to sue the New York Police Department over its security plan for the building, saying that the plan will leave the center in “fortresslike isolation” and the area around it “as impervious to traffic as the Berlin Wall.”
According to a New York Times report, the group’s chief objection was that the environmental impact statement about the plan “failed to explain and generally suppressed the N.Y.P.D.’s rationale for critical aspects of the plan based on a purported need for secrecy.”
The police department plans to close the streets in and around the trade center to normal through traffic. Vehicles entering the “campus” would be screened beforehand, and some would be searched. Only those having demonstrable business at the building, or those previously certified as trustworthy (such as the fleet of town cars used by Condé Nast publishing company) would be allowed in, the article says.
Drivers who regularly come into the secured zone can enroll themselves and their vehicles in a Trusted Access Program, although police say that specific operational details of the program would not be released.
The police also plan to ring the perimeter with three-foot-tall barriers, 11-foot-tall guard booths and long sally ports through which vehicles would pass for screening, the article reports.
Pedestrians and bicyclists would be free to come and go, although cyclists might be required to dismount and walk their bikes through security stations.
The 12 residents and one shop owner suing the police under the name of the WTC Neighborhood Alliance said in their complaint that the NYPD’s 834-page environmental impact statement was flawed by faulty analysis and its rejection of alternative measures. Six of the plaintiffs live within the heavily secured zone on Liberty Street.
They include Mary Perillo, the leader of the alliance and the communications director of the 9/11 Environmental Action group, who has lived opposite the World Trade Center for more than 30 years. “I live in the City of New York — not ‘on campus’ or in a gated community,” she says in her affidavit. “I do not want to prove who I am to come home to my own apartment.”