By Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — Workers are building a protective sidewalk shed near the rapidly rising 4 World Trade Center, after a teen was struck by a falling steel rod there last month.
The 14-year-old boy was not seriously hurt after the four-foot rod hit his hand while he was walking down Liberty Street on May 2, but the accident prompted residents to call for more safety measures on the highly trafficked block.
"After consultations with Community Board 1, we have installed a sidewalk bridge outside the 4 World Trade Center construction site," Dara McQuillan, spokesman for Silverstein Properties, which is building the skyscraper, said in a statement Friday.
"The bridge will serve as an added layer of protection for pedestrians along Liberty Street…. We hope this action further demonstrates our steadfast commitment to everyone’s safety."
The sidewalk shed covers Liberty Street between Trinity Place and Greenwich Street, a block that runs along the south side of the World Trade Center site and is often packed with tourists, residents and commuters.
The accident occurred when a piece of steel rebar slipped through a tiny gap in 4 World Trade Center's protective enclosure. Immediately afterward, Silverstein's contractor retrained workers, implemented additional inspections and filled in holes with more plywood and netting, the developer said.
The idea for the sidewalk shed came from Tom Goodkind, a Battery Park City resident and CB1 member who was horrified to hear of the accident at a meeting last month.
Goodkind said he was glad Silverstein listened to his suggestion and implemented it so quickly.
"We hope things don't continue falling down from the building and hitting 14-year-olds, but now at least we'll be protected," Goodkind said Friday. "If one person is made safe by this, we've done our job."