Bloomberg Questions PATH Shutdown During Obama Visit

By Jill Colvin and Julie Shapiro  on June 15, 2012 1:05pm

President Barack Obama on the 22nd floor of One World Trade Center June 14, 2012.
President Barack Obama on the 22nd floor of One World Trade Center June 14, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

LOWER MANHATTAN — Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t have much sympathy for New Yorkers snarled in traffic during Presidential visits. But PATH riders — he feels your pain.

The mayor was shocked at the Port Authority’s decision to suspend World Trade Center PATH service for more than three hours Thursday as he, President Barack Obama, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and other officials toured progress at the site.

“Did they really?” the mayor said, when asked about the closure during his weekly sit-down with WOR’s John Gambling.

“The MTA kept the subways running, certainly,” he said.

When Gambling noted that the Secret Service had requested the suspension, the mayor scoffed.

“You don’t have to say yes. You know, this is our city,” he said.

Thursday’s shut-down angered many riders, who complained about being rerouted, beginning around 3:00 p.m.

Jordan Rosenberg, from Montclair, NJ, was on his way to visit a friend in the hospital when his plans were derailed.

"I don't mind. I just wish they would have let me know," the 32-year-old said.

But the Port Authority defended the decision.

“When dealing with the safety and security of the President of the United States and the First Lady, we follow the direction and recommendations of the U.S. Secret Service and the Port Authority Police Department,” said Spokesman Steve Coleman, describing their compliance as “not negotiable” and “just common sense.”

Bloomberg, meanwhile, was less sympathetic to the traffic nightmare caused by the President’s near-weekly swings to glitzy fundraisers.

“It’s annoying when it’s in your neighborhood, but it is what it is,” Hizzoner said.

“In the grand scheme of things it only lasts for a relatively short time," he added. "Although if you’re stuck in traffic, you don’t think so.”

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