A debate is shaping up over a $40 million barrier system that would encircle the 16-acre World Trade Center site. The barrier would include static barriers and sally ports, where booths control barriers screening vehicles attempting entry.
Residents of the area banded together as the World Trade Center Neighborhood Alliance have filed a lawsuit against the city of New York, the NYPD and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is in charge of the trade center. They claim the barrier, which would take years to construct, would be akin to “fortress-like” security. Only several hundred people live within the circumscribed area
Mary Perillo, a lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, said, “We didn’t sign up to live in a gated community, with credentials needed to go home.” She added that the local population, which has tripled since 2000, has exploded and the security system will adversely affect the neighborhood. Perillo said that after the 9/11 attacks, “I saw nothing but office buildings at night. Now I see curtains, lamps, kitchens, people coming home with groceries. And more are moving in.”
Lawyers representing the community aver that the local community will be cut off from the rest of the city, that shops won’t do good business and home values will drop because of traffic jams.
But city attorney Amy McCamphill said that the tourist attractions in the area, such as its world-class transit hub, the Sept. 11 memorial and the new 1 World Trade Center necessitate the security plans.
“This is the plan for public safety for one of the most sensitive sites in the country,” McCamphill said. She defended the system by noting that pedestrian and cyclist access where vehicles are barred, will remain. She also pointed out that foot posts and barriers would not be higher than 3 feet.
State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chan said that she has to see the area before she makes a ruling in the case.