Spring 2004, p.4

Landmarks Commission OKs DOT’s Oppressive QBB Chain Link Fence

The DOT's chain link fence destroys the Queensboro Bridge's views and historic character and discourages path users.

On March 2, The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the City Department of Transportation’s plan to install a seven-foot tall chain link fence along the entire length of the Queensboro Bridge’s pedestrian and bicycle path. T.A.’s two year campaign to stop the DOT from fencing in this city and national landmark was backed by 400 New Yorkers who faxed the Landmarks Commission. T.A. made Freedom of Information Act requests to the City DOT, Police Department, Law Department, the Manhattan District Attorney and the U.S. Coast Guard for records of people regularly throwing items, including themselves, from the bridge. No agency was able to produce records. Though it had no supporting evidence, the Coast Guard stated that, without a seven-foot tall chain link fence, the path presented a condition of “clear and present danger.”

The City of New York should encourage New Yorkers to bicycle and walk by creating attractive paths, including bridge crossings. The chain link fence planned for the Queensboro Bridge path will transform a breathtaking view into an unpleasant gauntlet. Transit and transportation planners know that people are less likely to use unattractive and unpleasant facilities, which means that it is likely that the chain link fence on the Queensboro Bridge will discourage people from walking and bicycling across the bridge.

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