As NYC steeled itself a day after Tuesday’s deadly terror attack on the West Side, many New Yorkers felt a little more vulnerable knowing that no matter how good our law enforcement people are they can’t protect us all at all times and in all places.
So, how to smartly protect the city against those like the 29-year-old Uzbek man feds filed charges against Wednesday after he used a rental truck to kill eight and injure 12?
One way is to address the attacker’s weapon of choice. No defense can stop every hell-bent driver, but safety installations like posts called bollards would help. That would mean strategically erecting the posts in crowded pedestrian areas like the bike path along the West Side Highway that became a crime scene this week. We know the posts help, because a rampaging car driven by a Bronx man was stopped short by a post in Times Square in May.
The posts would help protect the bike path on the West Side Highway, where local politicians have long called for safety precautions to prevent traffic deaths. Other cities — like London and Nice — have erected security devices to address similar attacks.
New Yorkers are no strangers to clever street design. With pedestrian plazas now a part of life in locations like Times Square and Herald Square, we’ve become used to the idea that public spaces are cherished places. That’s the beauty of open societies, but threats to those spaces underscore the need for designed protections.
City officials say they are conferring with state partners on West Side bollard installations. They should think aggressively about erecting protections in more places where New Yorkers and tourists gather.
That would be a welcome plan of action. Other reactions to the attack would benefit from more thought, however. President Donald Trump seized on a visa lottery program he connected to suspect Sayfullo Saipov, a green card holder who came into the United States in 2010. We must always look for ways to improve our immigration system, but trying to cast blame for the attack on a decades-old, bipartisan immigration program is just pandering.
Let’s be thoughtful about fighting terror.