Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced plans to install nearly 1,500 new permanent perimeter barriers, known as bollards, into the city’s streetscape.
Following the horrific Times Square incident that unfolded on May 18, 2016, when a 26-year-old driver purposely drove his vehicle onto a sidewalk, killing an 18-year-old tourist and injuring 22 others, the city will double its $7.5 million commitment for new permanent bollard in Times Square.
Other high-profile public spaces and city landmarks will also get bollards, which will be part of a larger set of protective measures that the city will initiative to make things safer for pedestrians.
“In 2017, New Yorkers witnessed the horrible capacity of people willing to do us harm, whether it was in our subways, on our bike paths, or in Times Square,” said Mayor de Blasio. “But we will not be cowed, and our expanded investment today in barriers and bollards in our public spaces underscores our resolve in keeping New York City safe from future attacks.”
Several sites in Manhattan have been given temporary concrete barriers in the wake of recent terror attacks involving vehicles. Those barriers are now being replaced by more aesthetically appealing temporary barriers until installation on permanent metal bollards begin in March.
In the meantime, some local officials and advocates are still pushing for a car-free Times Square but with critics weighing in from both sides of the fence, it doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon.