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Engaging Lower Manhattan, Transportation Projects

Transportion Projects Governor Pataki and business leaders are proponents of creating a one-seat rail link from JFK Airport to Lower Manhattan. Such a link would also serve LIRR passengers who now travel to the LIRR’s Flatbush Avenue and Penn Station terminals. A joint agency study recommended in May 2004 that this service use a new tunnel under the East River that could be tied into existing or planned subway lines. The project would cost approximately $6 billion and open by 2013, with planning beginning in December 2004 and continuing until the start of construction in 2007. In its proposed federal budget for the next fiscal year, the White House has endorsed redirecting $2 billion of unused Lower Manhattan tax credits to the project. The Port Authority and MTA have jointly pledged about $1 billion. Other funding sources are as yet unknown. The Regional Plan Association made a presentation on the rail link to the Civic Alliance in June 2004. The proposed rail link was the subject of an Engaging Lower Manhattan briefing on December 2. Fulton Street Transit Center The $750 million Fulton Street Transit Center, in the general vicinity of Fulton Street and Broadway, is intended to improve access to and connections between 12 subway lines in six existing stations for hundreds of thousands of daily commuters and Lower Manhattan residents and visitors, and will link subway facilities with PATH service and the World Trade Center site. Designed by the architectural firm Grimshaw Architects, the transit center incorporates the historic Corbin Building. The Fulton Street Transit Center has completed the environmental review process; the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was released in May, and the Final EIS was completed in October 2004. In November 2004, the Federal Transit Administration issued a Record of Decision saying environmental review had been completed and the project could move ahead. Work will begin in January 2005. According to the Final EIS, construction is expected finish in mid-2008. At the April 28 Engaging Lower Manhattan briefing, William Wheeler, the MTA’s director of special project development and planning, spoke on the Fulton Street Transit Center Plan. For more information on the Fulton Street Transit Center click on the following links: World Trade Center Transportation Hub – Permanent PATH Terminal at the World Trade Center Architect Santiago Calatrava’s $2 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub has as its centerpiece a new, permanent Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) Terminal. The terminal will serve more than 80,000 daily PATH riders. The hub includes pedestrian connections to improve access between PATH, ferries, and subway lines in Lower Manhattan. The terminal will provide more open space in the Wedge of Light Plaza and additional access from Church Street to the World Trade Center site memorial. It is currently in the environmental review process; the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was released in May. A Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement was released in March 2005. Governor Pataki announced in a speech on November 22 that work would begin in summer 2005. The official comment period on the Final EIS will end on June 15. South Ferry Station south ferry station improvement The nearly 100-year-old South Ferry terminal on the 1 and 9 lines will be replaced by a new two-track terminal. According to project documents, the $400 million, fully federally funded project will allow more, better, and faster train service, improve access to the station, and provide a free transfer to the R and W trains. The project has completed the environmental review process with a Finding of No Significant Impact and is in the planning and engineering phase of the project. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2005 and end by December 2007. The MTA maintains a mailing list for project announcements. For more information on the South Ferry Station click the following links: Permanent Battery City Park Ferry Terminal The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began work in April 2004 on a new floating ferry terminal by the World Financial Center. The terminal would have five slips, as opposed to the current two, and be connected by concourses to the new PATH Terminal and Fulton Street Transit Center. The terminal, to cost about $36 million, is expected to be completed in 2006. LowerManhattan.info and the Downtown Alliance each have a brief news item about the new terminal. Route 9a Reconstruction The destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11 also destroyed a section of West Street (Route 9A). The New York State Department of Transportation reopened the damaged section with a temporary roadway and is currently working on a supplement to a 1994 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that first laid out new plans for West Street. The current Supplemental EIS proposes three alternatives: the No-Action alternative, which would render permanent the temporary six-lane road; the At-Grade alternative, which would create an eight-lane road with landscaping; and the Short-Bypass alternative, which would build a tunnel from Vesey to either Liberty or Cedar streets. As of April 13, 2005, the state has selected the At-Grade alternative. In addition, NYSDOT is working to turn West Street into a landscaped promenade from W. Thames Street to Battery Place. Work on the promenade began in December 2004. NYSDOT maintains a mailing list — both electronic and postal — for project updates. Chinatown Access and Circulation Study The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s Chinatown Access and Circulation Study commenced in summer 2003. The study focuses on vehicular and pedestrian concerns that affect quality of life in Chinatown; major focus areas include Park Row, Chatham Square, coach buses, other bus and van services, parking, and streetscape. The final report was released in December 2004. Holly Leicht, the director of off-site planning for the LMDC. Greenwich Street The area between Liberty Street and Battery Place, from Broadway to West Street, was severely affected by 9/11 and recovery work. The LMDC commissioned studies in October 2003 to devise strategies to resume the rebirth of the area as a residential neighborhood. H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture prepared the study, which was released April 7, 2005. The study focuses on the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel Plaza, which would be redeveloped to form the core of a revitalized neighborhood. The study looks to transform the area into “a new residential enclave and cultural spine for Lower Manhattan,” connecting the World Trade Center site to Battery Park. There are many historic properties in the area. A PowerPoint presentation of the study is available on the LMDC’s website. (Warning: File is very large.)