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Skyscraper Safety Campaign applauds Security-calls at GZ

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:47 am    Post subject: Skyscraper Safety Campaign applauds Security-calls at GZ
From Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:00 am to Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:59 am (included)
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The Skyscraper Safety Campaign

For immediate distribution 7/28/08
Contact: Sally Regenhard: 646-266-1987
Prof. Glenn Corbett: 201-993-2814

Skyscraper Safety Campaign applauds NYPD Security Plan at GZ
& Calls for full enforcement of NYC codes

The Skyscraper Safety Campaign (SSC) commends Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on the recent agreement between the City of New York and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that gives the New York City Police Department primary responsibility for security at the World Trade Center site.

This is extremely significant news for all who will visit, work, or respond to emergencies at the WTC site as well as for the surrounding downtown community. The NYPD will bring a proven record of expertise and transparency to policing efforts at Ground Zero which will work towards ameliorating the obvious security design flaws of the underground truck and tour bus parking areas. In addition, the severe security deficiencies of the WTC underground memorial and museum call for a proven record of achievement and reliability associated with the NYPD security and anti-terrorism programs. Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly are to be congratulated for this benchmark achievement.

Although this agreement is a significant milestone on the road toward comprehensive security at the nation's number one terrorist target, we are still a long distance from total safety at the WTC site. The SSC calls on the City of New York to continue efforts at ensuring not only a secure World Trade Center site but a safe World Trade Center site as well. The WTC buildings remain essentially above the law by virtue of their immunities and exemptions from all NYC Building and Fire codes, just as the original WTC was. The necessity for the future WTC site to be constructed under the legal jurisdiction of the codes of the NYC Building and Fire departments is just as important as security measures at this ultra sensitive location. In this city, no buildings - especially the WTC - should be above the law.

Specifically, the SSC asks the City of New York to:

1) Insist that the Port Authority of NY/NJ relinquish its fire and building code immunities and exemptions from NYC codes.

2) Ensure that the entire World Trade Center site will be constructed under the legal jurisdiction of NYC building and fire codes.

3) Eliminate previous meaningless and unenforceable code compliance "memorandums of understanding" between NYC & the Port Authority, and instead, institute code compliance requirements such as plan reviews, building permits, periodic unannounced inspections with enforceable findings, certificates of occupancy and the ability to vacate any unsafe structures just like any other privately owned building in NY City.

4) Address the significant dangers posed by the underground museum and memorial which will descend to as much as seven stories below ground. . With thousands of visitors descending below grade, any emergency will present a life safety risk of immense proportions. This dangerous architectural design with the extreme remoteness of emergency escape stairwells will necessitate that fleeing visitors will travel lengthy horizontal distances to reach stairwells which will allow them to climb back up to street level. Many will literally have to travel off site to stairwells across West Street, across Liberty Street, and into the Calatrava transit hub. This long horizontal trek, combined with a seven story ascent in some cases, defies all safety logic. It will be impossible to move large numbers of people, especially the disabled , up to grade level as well. In addition, the large square footage and depth of the museum will greatly hinder quick emergency responder access & safety.

The Skyscraper Safety Campaign considers the WTC memorial/museum design to be inherently perilous for visitors, emergency responders, and the community at large and believes it must be modified to ensure public safety at the WTC site by safe design and full enforcement of NYC building and fire codes. In this way, the City of NY can aspire to achieve the goals of a safe as well as secure WTC site for the millions of people who will visit this National Memorial.

The Skyscraper Safety Campaign
Sally Regenhard, Chairperson
Monica Gabrielle, Co-Chairperson
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