Atlantic Ave. bollards finally meet their endBy
When the Atlantic Ave. Long Island Rail Road terminal opened two and a half years ago, the security measures in front drew immediate criticism. Giant granite slabs — some shaped to serve as benches — blocked entrances and walkways. They formed a ring around the front as impenetrable to people as they were to potential terrorists, and over the past few years, the granite slabs were used more as garbage dumps than anything else. Memorably, No Land Grab called them tombs, and Streetsblog explored how they went above and beyond NYPD-endorsed security guidelines.
After facing constant criticism for 18 months, the MTA announced last August that the bollards would be replaced by more standard security measures. At the time, the authority had no renderings, but reports indicated that the new measures would be standard cylinders that, for better or worse, ring around buildings in Midtown and Lower Manhattan.
When I walked by the terminal a few weeks ago, work had finally begun on the bollard replacement project, and last week, Transportation Nation secured some definitive details. Per the MTA’s statement:
“The MTA and the Long Island Rail Road listened to concerns from local elected officials and community leaders who felt the stone bollards were intrusive and out-of-scale at their current size. As part of the original design, there were 15 granite bollards surrounding the new $108 million Atlantic Terminal Pavillion when it opened in January 2010. In consultation with the MTA Police and NYPD, we decided to replace the granite bollards with 60 smaller steel bollards that still meet the security requirements spelled out by the NYPD for public buildings of this kind. The new bollards will be 36 inches in height and approximately 12 inches wide. They will be placed around the perimeter of Atlantic Terminal approximately 4 feet apart.
The removal of the old bollards and the installation of the new bollards is part of [a] comprehensive perimeter security project being undertaken by MTA Capital Construction through a grant from the federal government. On April 12, a contract for the project was awarded to Adtec Enterprises of Mt. Vernon, N.Y., after the company submitted the winning low bid of $3.486 million. The overall project will take one year to complete, but most of the bollards have already been removed and installation of the steel replacements is expected to get underway soon.”
The granite blocks, which weighed around eight tons, have been removed. Yesterday, another reporter tried to venture over to the space to take some photos, and the workers objected. They refused to allow the reporter to take photos of the work in progress, and even after gaining authorization from the MTA press officer, Andrea Bernstein still had some troubles with workers. She snapped her photos, but the objections claiming a homeland security project rang a bit false. The bollards will be in view for all to see soon enough.
Ultimately, the bollards cost $1.2 million to build and another $150,000 to remove. The feds — and taxpayers — are footing the bill for another $3.5 million replacement project. So now a wrong has been righted, and the sidewalks at the intersection of Flatbush Ave. and Ashland and Hanson Places will now be pedestrian-friendly and safe. With a little foresight, this whole thing could have been avoided.
An unrelated reminder: I’m going to be on TV at 7:15 a.m. this morning. Check out Fox 5 for a segment on the Straphangers’ subway report cards.