Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chan has ruled that the NYPD had all its t’s crossed and i’s dotted when it drew up a super-strict security plan for a rebuilt World Trade Center site.
She’s probably right about that much.
The NYPD has been working on the security blueprint for years — weighing New York’s safety imperatives against demands for greater openness by local businesses and community leaders in a neighborhood that’s quickly adding workers, residents, students and tourists.
Yet the specifics of the NYPD plan are troubling.
The restrictions include security checks certain to tie traffic into worse knots than before. They include features that could isolate the rebuilt WTC from the fast-growing neighborhoods around it.
This is exactly what planners hoped to avoid.
They wanted to bring an exciting human element to the forbidding old windswept superblock that isolated the original WTC from the rest of the city. They wanted to make the post-911 area hum like all of New York.
How? By restoring a through Greenwich Street to lower Manhattan’s 400-year-old street grid. And by letting Fulton Street again stretch from the East River to West Street. Taxis, pedestrians, shoppers, tourists — they would all add to the mix to create a powerful urban energy.
Unfortunately, that’s not what the NYPD has in mind.
The agency wants to close streets around the WTC to normal traffic. While regulars could join a “trusted access program,” other vehicles could be screened. Some might be searched. And it would help if visitors in cars could cite specific business if they want to enter the complex.
As for pedestrians in the nabe, welcome to Rikers.
The NYPD wants to use sally ports here and there — double-door entrances you find in places like prisons — to see who goes where. And it wants to roll out 11-foot-tall guard booths and three-foot-tall barriers around the place.
Mayor Bill de Blasio should order the NYPD to take a second look a its gameplan. We all want security, but we don’t want to choke the vitality out of the neighborhood.