Editor’s word: Kevin Howe wrote this story in 2011.
MONTEREY — In a transfer that was both coincidental or prescient, the Presidio of Monterey closed its gates to informal civilian auto site visitors 10 days earlier than the terrorist assaults on New York’s World Commerce Heart and the Pentagon.
Since then, the Presidio has remained “a geopolitical boundary or barrier” separating New Monterey and Pacific Grove from downtown Monterey.
The closure took away two entry roads to downtown with the lingering impact of congestion on Lighthouse Avenue and Holman Freeway, the one two remaining routes out and in of New Monterey and Pacific Grove.
Then-Commandant Col. Kevin Rice introduced in August 2001 that the gates could be closed starting Sept. 1 to all however licensed automobiles from 6 p.m. to six a.m.
The announcement sparked dismay amongst civilian commuters used to driving via the Presidio, and a number of other city corridor conferences have been held to debate it. Monterey officers estimated that 960 automobiles and vehicles traversed the Presidio day by day earlier than the 2001 closure.
On the time, Rice stated the closure was mandated by Military headquarters on the Pentagon as a part of a nationwide effort to guard navy bases from terrorism and different safety threats.
He insisted there have been no recognized threats directed on the set up.
“The Military believes posting guards on the gates will function a deterrent to potential acts of terrorism on federal property,” he wrote in a Herald visitor editorial. “Controlling entry is a change in Military philosophy. After reviewing potential threats around the globe, the Military has determined to tighten up safety.”
After the 9/11 assaults, hypothesis rose locally that the navy knew beforehand that the strikes towards the Pentagon and World Commerce Heart would happen.
However a Presidio spokesman stated the Military’s Coaching and Doctrine Command headquarters had been wanting into strengthening safety in any respect Military installations for years earlier than 9/11.
Retired Military Col. Pete Dausen, presently govt director of base operations help on the Naval Postgraduate Faculty in Monterey, was serving because the Presidio’s garrison commander in 2001. He stated the Presidio and its Protection Language Institute “didn’t actually have a fence on the time of the occasion” and the Navy faculty “had solely a cyclone fence. Neither base was outfitted to cope with the occasion itself.”
The day after the assaults, safety received tighter.
Vehicles, vans and automobiles backed up on the Presidio of Monterey gate whereas troopers combed via them, regarded beneath with mirrors and checked drivers’ licenses, registrations and insurance coverage papers.
The Naval Postgraduate Faculty and the Navy’s Fleet Numerical Heart, the navy”s climate forecasters, additionally had armed guards at their gates, checking identification to ensure solely Protection Division workers received via.