“The old World Trade Center site was an absolute island,” said Paul J. Browne, deputy commissioner at the NYPD. “The new site has connectivity with streets running through it,” which he said will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists who are not subject to the checkpoints. “All of this is part of the original design,” he said. “Nothing has changed.” Browne said the NYPD plan uses “very attractive kiosk-style checkpoints in keeping with the designs used downtown that have gone through the public review process.” Browne urged the public to remember that the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center was carried out with a truck. “There are serious security issues we think have been balanced in this plan,” he said.
Zupan said the conspicuousness of any security plan comes down to design and logistics, noting that community and city stakeholders “should get together to minimize the visual impact of the checkpoints through design. While a necessary evil, [security] can be minimized more than it is now.”
Rob Rogers, principal at Rogers Marvel Architects, is intimately familiar with the convergence of security planning and design. His firm designed the award-winning checkpoints on Wall Street and is currently working on integrating security and landscape at President’s Park in Washington, D.C. “Security design can become the identity of an entire district, in a positive way, not necessarily in a negative way,” Rogers said. “That’s what we tried to do at Wall Street.” His firm designed bronze barriers to act as bollards, some with integrated lighting, that soften the edge of the security checkpoint.
“None of these [security] elements that exist were intended for urban environments,” Rogers said, pointing to the military origins of security checkpoints. “Their scale, makeup, rhythm, and spacing are not made to be integrated into a pedestrian environment. The best solution is integration into the overall environment.” Rogers also said that coordinating this with multiple interests can be very difficult. “You need everyone to be committed to innovation to make it happen.”