Times Square is crowded. At almost all hours, the sidewalks are full of pedestrians. But that didn’t stop a bunch of buildings from installing large planters or other barriers after 9/11. They ostensibly kept potential terrorists from driving up to the buildings, but more often (i.e. almost constantly) kept potential pedestrians from having room to walk around.

Now, according to the Times, NYC DOT is making the buildings remove the planters. Apparently security experts concluded the barriers are useless or even counterproductive (a vehicle could smash the planter into deadly flying fragments). While commonsense security decisions are uncommon these days, more uncommon yet welcome is DOT caring about pedestrians.

The article lists a variety of buildings around Times Square who are ditching the planters, including the Times Square Tower which did a good job of making attractive barriers in the shape of globes and oval sundials. One building not mentioned, which I’d like to know about, is the Port Authority Bus Terminal, which has the largest and most intrusive planters of all. Those almost completely block very busy sidewalks, with only small openings just wide enough for one person to pass through and insufficient for two to pass each other.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.