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August 23, 2011

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Full Security Study Needed Before Approval of Bollard Plan

Alan Rosner, who co-authored a white paper on arena security and terrorism issues in 2005, is urging NoLandGrab readers to ask the New York City Department of Transportation to postpone approval of Forest City Ratner's bollard plan for the Barclays Center pending a thorough security study.

In 2005, Forest City Ratner paid for a private security study. In 2006, the Empire State Development Corporation used that study to assert that closed-circuit television, along with private security guards, would meet all the security needs of the proposed sports arena. That claim, and the claim that the threat of terrorism did not warrant study in the Environmental Impact Statement, was successfully defended in court by Forest City and the ESDC.

If bollards are now suddenly required, it is only because this is a sports arena hard by Brooklyn’s largest transit hub. Yet in today’s environment, vehicle-stopping bollards are useless if a truck bomb gets too close to its target. How close is what matters most, and the design of the Barclays Center violates the city’s and every Federal agency’s standards on “close."

Just two weeks before Newark’s Prudential Arena opened in 2007, that city ordered street closings for every hockey game. Brooklyn’s busiest intersections can’t just be closed when games are played because of some last-minute, legally imposed-but-otherwise-belated security measures. Now is the time for a comprehensive look at the whole issue based on readily available New York City standards.

Judge Marcy Friedman cited Forest City and the ESDC for withholding material information from the courts in her recent decision against them. They are doing that again, this time in their petition to the Department of Transportation.

If we can’t postpone DOT's decision, don’t be surprised when some time next year city officials make a summary announcement of necessary street and/or lane changes or closings, of time and/or vehicle restrictions, etc., all being imposed for our safety… showing once again that Brooklyn, and not basketball, has been played.

The deadline for submitting comments to DOT regarding the Barclays Center bollard plan is this Thursday, August 25th has been extended until September 22nd. Comments can be sent via email to Emma Berenblit, director, at eberenblit@dot.nyc.gov.

Posted by eric at August 23, 2011 11:32 AM