Brooklyn Boro

Anti-terror bollards proposed for Brooklyn Bridge Park, Coney Island Boardwalk and other high-traffic sites

June 28, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A mother strolls with her baby along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, one of seven high-traffic Brooklyn locations identified by the borough president as sites for the installation of protective anti-terror bollards. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

BP Adams Submits First-Round Security Picks

High-traffic Brooklyn locations have been identified as potential sites for the installation of protective anti-terror bollards.

Following the West Side Highway terror attack that killed eight people and injured 12 last Halloween, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would bring 1,500 permanent perimeter bollards to “high-profile” sites, at a cost of $50 million.

In a letter sent out June 13 but not publically shared until now, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams urged NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver and Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to consider “specific locations in Brooklyn that are ripe for additional security measures.”

The sites include Brooklyn Bridge Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island, Eastern Parkway, Ocean Parkway and the Plumb Beach Greenway.

“All of the entrances to these locations should be considered for inclusion in the first round of bollard security investment, as should the borough’s many greenways and parkways,” Adams, a former police officer, told the commissioners.

* According to park estimates, roughly 5 million people visited Brooklyn Bridge Park during the summer of 2017, and park attendance has been increasing every year.

* Prospect Park, the flagship park of Brooklyn, attracts roughly 10 million visitors a year. Prospect Park recently went permanently car-free.

* The Brooklyn Heights Promenade, a destination for tourists and locals looking to take in the scenic view of the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and Manhattan, is “a high-profile location teeming with visitors,” the BP wrote.

* Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island continues to draw millions of visitors during the summer, and is quickly becoming more and more of a year-round destination, according to the Borough President’s Office.

*Eastern Parkway, Ocean Parkway, and the Plumb Beach greenway all “need additional security measures along [their] entrances to prevent attacks akin to the one along the West Side Highway greenway,” Adams wrote. The Eastern Parkway Trail is a tree-lined 2-mile route in Crown Heights; the Ocean Parkway bike path stretches over 5 miles from Prospect Park to Coney Island. A greenway to and from Plumb Beach has been repaired and reopened following Superstorm Sandy.

“This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather a starting point of conversation” Adams wrote.

This is not the first time the idea of anti-terror bollards has come up. Following the Halloween attack in Manhattan, Councilmembers Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch proposed placing bollards on the Coney Island Boardwalk and the Gravesend Promenade along the Belt Parkway.

In letters addressed to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner James O’Neill and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver in November, the officials asked the city to install retractable bollards at entry points to the Boardwalk.

Vehicle Terror Attacks Increasing

The number of vehicle-involved terror attacks is going up, said Steven Crimando, one of the nation’s top security experts.

Brooklyn-born Crimando, founder and principal of Behavioral Science Systems, a consultancy on crisis response and intervention, spoke at the ASIS New York Security Conference at Javits Center in May.

From 2014 through 2017, 23 violent extremists used cars and trucks to mow down unsuspecting people, including the April 2018 attack where Alek Minassian drove a rented van through the business district of Toronto, killing 10 and injuring 16, along with the NYC Halloween attack.

It’s likely that terrorist groups like ISIS will continue to encourage vehicle attacks, Crimando said, since these types of attacks are easy to carry out and can be extremely deadly.

Would-be terrorists actually receive online and print training from ISIS and Al Qaeda on how to carry out these attacks, he said. One advertisement in a terrorist publication published in 2010 boasted of a Ford F-350 pickup as “the ultimate mowing machine.”

Concrete barriers hastily erected on the West Side Highway following the Halloween attack have been criticized for making the path almost unusable by bikers. Permanent bollards, likely steel cylinders, will allow easy access by bikers and pedestrians while still blocking vehicles.