Pedestrians: Prisoners of Occupy Wall Street

Barricades confining pedestrian traffic to narrow sidewalks have been in place since the start of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters aren’t going anywhere — and neither are the NYPD barricades blocking Wall Street.

“I hate the barricades. It’s like we’re caged in,” said Janice Weinman, 38, who works in hospitality on Wall Street. “They have to give us our sidewalk back.”

Chris Richards, 33, who works in finance on Wall Street, said it’s not even the protesters who annoy him; it’s the blockades that jam the sidewalks.

“I hate these things — it disrupts the flow to get to work, to leave work, to go to lunch,” Richards said. “Imagine if there was an emergency and we all had to evacuate. Where would we go?”

Community Board 1 will hold a meeting tomorrow to address the concerns of Lower Manhattan residents and workers.

“We need the NYPD to address the barricades — we have residents that are calling and saying they can’t get in to their buildings,” Julie Menin, the Community Board 1 Chair told Metro.

At the meeting, the first of it’s kind, protesters will meet with members of the NYPD, the community, the mayor’s office and representatives from Brookfield Office Properties, the owners of Zuccotti Park and reluctant hosts of Occupy Wall Street.

But to April Condell, 23, who has to weave through metal fencing and is questioned by cops on a daily basis just to get to work, the meeting can’t happen soon enough.

“The protesters are at Zuccotti Park,” she said. “The NYPD is actually occupying Wall Street.”

Cross from lack of crossing

Downtown Councilwoman Margaret Chin met with the NYPD last week to discuss the possibility of creating a crossing at Nassau Street so pedestrians can get from the north side of Wall Street to the south side without having to walk blocks out of their way.

Bloomberg says they can stay

Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on the ongoing protest yesterday, and he said the Occupy Wall Street group can stay as long as they want, as long as they follow the law. “The bottom line is people want to express themselves. And as long as they obey the laws, we’ll allow them to,” he said.

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.


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