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Stalled security plan for Penn Station roils riders

(The following story by Kate Rudish and Dave Goldiner appeared on the New York Daily News website on April 10.)

NEW YORK — Angry commuters have a message about Penn Station security - Just do it!

"I don't know why they can't put the politics aside and do what's right for the people," said Joe Keith, 55, a salesman from Pennsylvania.

Steamed riders called it "scary" and "disappointing" that the owners of Madison Square Garden have blocked installation of security barriers around the huge transit hub.

"It's kind of scary it takes that long to figure out something that simple," said Jason Cuthbert, 32, of Manhattan. "I hope it doesn't take a serious incident for them to do something about it."

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority secured $15 million to build a perimeter capable of stopping powerful truck bombs.

Three years later, the barriers are still not there.

"Get it together," railed Grace Bradley, 81. "If they think it's important enough to spend all that money, then it's important enough to work together."

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly wrote a letter to MSG boss James Dolan and the heads of the MTA, Amtrak and developers Vornado Realty demanding action.

"This impasse has gone on for too long," Kelly wrote.

MSG and Vornado wouldn't comment on the snafu. The MTA said it cannot proceed without the owners' cooperation.

Amtrak, which also uses the sprawling hub, did not return calls for comment.

"The bottom line is we're running out of time and it has to be done," said Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), who heads a terrorism panel. "We shouldn't wait one minute longer."

Hundreds of thousands of riders use the hub every day, yet few had heard anything about the delayed barriers.

"Obviously, they need to stop the bickering," said Carlos Mills, 43, of Queens. "If the money's available, put it to use."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

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