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Bollard bill will protect pedestrians, hold city accountable, councilman says

A bill to create a bollard installation plan,

A bill to create a bollard installation plan, introduced by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, pictured, was approved by the City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. Photo Credit: David Handschuh

A bill requiring the city to install bollards on sidewalks in order to safeguard against potential terror attacks was passed by the City Council on Tuesday.

“Repeatedly, we have seen how easily a terrorist or a reckless driver can cause immense harm to many people very quickly simply by driving a vehicle onto the sidewalk,” Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said on Monday after the Council Committee on Transportation voted to move the legislation forward.

At the committee meeting, Rodriguez highlighted several incidents that could have been prevented with the presence of sidewalk bollards, including the lower Manhattan terror attack that killed eight and injured 11 on Halloween. He also praised how a bollard ultimately halted the carnage a man caused when he plowed through pedestrians in Times Square in May.

“New York is proud to be known as a great walking city,” Rodriguez said. “Bollards play a key role in preventing vehicles from being used as weapons in crowded areas, which are so common throughout the five boroughs.”

The bill also mandates that the city report the installation progress to the City Council every year, he added, stressing that the legislation will help the council be successful in its oversight role and help protect “vulnerable pedestrians.”

Sidewalk safety came under intense scrutiny after Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov allegedly carried out an ISIS-inspired truck attack on Oct. 31. Saipov allegedly drove a rented pickup truck on the bike path next to the West Side Highway for nearly a mile, prompting calls for additional safety barriers.

Just days after the attack, the city and state installed huge, concrete blocks and Jersey barriers at several intersections along the bike lane to protect the high volume of runners and cyclists. But the move was met with severe criticism from transportation advocates, who deemed the barriers inconvenient and a safety hazard.

The bollard bill drew widespread support from the transportation committee on Monday, according to Rodriguez’s spokeswoman, Yennifer Martinez.

“We are going to keep working hard to make sure that the installation of bollards in front of schools, plazas, and Vision Zero corridors begin as soon as possible in order to continue creating a New York City for all,” Rodriguez said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will need to sign off on the bill before it becomes law.

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