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Friday, June 25, 2004

GOP Convention Security Rules 

[WARNING: OF INTEREST TO NEW YORKERS AND POTENTIAL VISITORS ONLY]

I'm going to be in Chicago during all of this, but I really feel sorry for non-conventioneer, non-protester New Yorkers during the GOP convention at the end of August. You know it's going to be bad when the Mayor's office releases the plans late on a Friday afternoon [From the NY Times]:
"The disruption will be a little bit annoying, but minimal," Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.

The transportation plan calls for one lane of avenues directly outside Madison Square Garden to remain open to motorists, except during the approximately 13 hours the convention will be in session. It also imposes parking restrictions and reroutes bus service. Streets bordering the convention to the north and south would be closed for several blocks.

A restricted area around the arena will be controlled by checkpoints, where police will demand identification from anyone seeking entry. Cars entering the area, including those carrying delegates and dignitaries, will be screened for explosives and other contraband by devices that provide real-time video images of their undercarriages.

...

Officials have said that Penn Station, located directly below the arena, will remain open during the convention.

They also plan to create a "pedestrian mall" leading to a main entrance of the station by closing 32nd Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

The transportation hub serves Amtrak, the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and the subway system. Riders could face delays, but no shutdowns, officials said.
Look, I'm really glad they're taking security seriously. I don't understand what function the party conventions serve at this point, nor why any city would actually agree to host one, let alone compete for such an "honor." But since the convention will be here, I'm happy to see such strong measures in place.

That being said, it's going to SUCK getting around town. I hereby predict that slowed-down traffic at the Hudson River tunnels combined with the closing of Eighth Avenue will bring traffic on the West Side of Manhattan to a complete halt. Commuters coming into Penn Station will have to tote their luggage for blocks to get to taxis, and so will opt for subway service instead, overloading the 1/2/3/9 and A/C/E trains. I strongly urge all fellow Manhattanites to leave town during the convention. As long as I'm at it, I also urge all potential conventioneers and protesters to take a well-earned vacation elsewhere over the weekend in question.

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