View Full Version : NYNV responds - Or why is the Tour Bus issue such a big deal

March 5th, 2003, 12:19 PM
The PC brigade has spoken:

from http://www.designarchitecture.com

NEW YORK NEW VISIONS Lauds Winning STUDIO LIBESKIND plan: A PROMISING beginning, but now the work begins

New York New Visions (NYNV), a coalition of twenty-one architecture, engineering and planning organizations, congratulates Studio Libeskind, the chosen designer for the World Trade Center site.

At the same time, NYNV points out the need, now that a designer is chosen, to revisit assumptions and refine the selected scheme with respect to other planning processes - especially with the imminent memorial design competition, the Mayor’s vision for Lower Manhattan, and continuing transportation, infrastructure, and retail development analyses. It particularly calls on the Port Authority to make clear the programmatic and engineering framework it has imposed on the plans to date and to define the degree to which these constraints can be flexible as the plan evolves.

“The winning scheme is a promising beginning for rebuilding,” stated Mark Ginsberg, NYNV executive committee member and president-elect of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects. “It is a strong concept that treats the site design itself as a memorial, and incorporates transit connections, public amenities and commercial development opportunities. But as with any competition submission, it is only a sketch of the final solution, and as it evolves over time, there is a danger that this strong concept can fall victim to the normal forces of New York City development, and be whittled away behind the scenes and out of public view.”
As examples, NYNV representatives stressed two critical challenges to the plan. One challenge is programmatic, the purported need to pack the site both with infrastructure elements—a tour bus garage, other parking and delivery—and with over one million square feet of retail space, much of it underground. The other challenge is how the plan will be integrated with the upcoming memorial competition, in which the chosen result must complete and enrich the plan, not compete with it.
“The ongoing planning process—never well conceived or explained—must now come to grips with the many remaining divisive and thorny issues,” stated Ethel Sheffer AICP, NYNV executive committee member and president of the New York Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association. “Specific unresolved controversies still focus on the need for an agreed development program for what goes beneath the site—now seemingly driven by Port Authority requirements for on-site bus storage and below-grade retail shopping.
“Before these elements are cast in stone,” she continued, “we need to step back and analyze the potential range of solutions to Lower Manhattan’s worsening tour bus situation. We also need to publicly discuss and define the optimum balance of below-grade versus above grade and on-site versus off-site retail development—our bias is to define appropriate locations for different retail types throughout the larger area.”
The tour bus issue is a major point of contention, how to resolve implications on the site’s memorial space with respect to the impact of parked or idling tour buses on Lower Manhattan’s pedestrian ambiance and air quality. Similarly, the market impact of up to one million square feet of retail must be very carefully analyzed and the urban design impact of such a bulk of predominatlly below grade space evaluated. The continuing issues of how much office space is appropriate, where and when it should be developed, and how the entire development can be made sustainable will influence the plan’s final layout and development strategy.
NYNV’s Plan Review Task Force, which provided an influential and independent civic sector evaluation of the nine Trade Center plans, will examine some of these issues with respect to the winning scheme in the weeks ahead—and analyze to what degree the scheme or the program assumptions should be compromised.
Concurrently, NYNV will continue to press the issue of coordination of the plan and the memorial competition—defining a role for the public in responding and evaluating the plans, but also acting as a watchdog to ensure that the process results in a single integrated scheme, not one monument tacked onto another. As the designated designer, it is critical that Studio Libeskind both assist the selection panel in its choice and work as the leader of an inclusive team with the winning memorial designer.
“The chosen scheme will succeed only if it is part of a larger agreed planning process for Lower Manhattan,” said Hugh Hardy FAIA, chair of NYNV’s Plan Review Task Force. “It is now up to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to define a clear process for moving forward in which the public is informed and involved. We also call on the Port Authority to be forthcoming not only with their recommended plan and program for the site, but also with their justifications for those recommendations in terms of need, demand, costs and benefits off alternative solutions. The Mayor and the Governor must exert every influence to resolve conflicts over site control and public- private relationships in favor of the broadest possible public interest.
“As we have previously stated,” Hardy continued, “this will not be a complete vision until an integrated memorial and development plan is agreed upon for the Trade Center site, details are refined and approved by relevant City agencies, and larger issues of funding and feasibility are resolved. Studio Libeskind’s challenging and well-conceived scheme gives us an agreed framework for achieving that vision, but only if prudent steps are taken to preserve the vision.”

March 5th, 2003, 12:21 PM
More on the idiotic tour bus debate:

from http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?brd=1841

Do Tour Buses belong on the 'Footprints?'

Relatives of the Sept. 11 victims clashed last week with Downtown residents and businesses over whether a proposed garage for tour buses built over the "footprints" of the Twin Towers would dishonor the victims.

Michael Cartier, whose brother was killed in the terror attack, said Gov. George Pataki's pledge not to build on the footprints should include the area below the street grade.

"If the governor said he was going to preserve that area, then it should be preserved," said Cartier. "He should keep his word."

Conflicting priorities between residents and family members over the World Trade Center site have been apparent for some time, but rarely has the dispute come to the surface as clearly as it did last week and in a forum where both sides, roughly speaking, were equally represented.

The forum was a Feb. 20 meeting of the various advisory committees to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. in the Port Authority's Manhattan office. The committees are made up of groups such as residents, business people, and family members and usually meet by themselves. Many family members had objected to the garage plans at an internal committee meeting closed to the press a week before.

Lee Ielpi, whose son was a firefighter who was killed, said the area near under the footprints and near the slurry wall, or the "bathtub," was "consecrated, hallowed ground."

As a retired firefighter, Ielpi spent months at the recovery site and said, "I know what 20,000 body parts look like."

But Albert Capsouto, who for 25 years has lived in Tribeca where he and his brothers have owned Capsouto Frères restaurant, said the victims can be honored regardless of what is built on the footprints.

"I think preserving that sacredness and that holy ground," Capsouto said, "can be done symbolically.... Businessmen also have a life down here."

The back and forth between family members, residents, and business people followed a presentation by Port and L.M.D.C. officials on transportation plans.

On Thursday, the two agencies plan to select either architect Daniel Libeskind or a group of architects called Team THINK to continue working on the W.T.C. street plan, but regardless of who is picked, planning officials want an underground transportation hub and a bus garage at the site. ******In response to security concerns about an underground garage, Anthony Cracchiolo, director of capital projects for the P.A., said passengers would get off outside the parking area, and "the buses would be empty and thoroughly inspected."

He said the agency will continue to look for ways to put the entrance ramps, mechanical equipment and spaces for 160 buses in areas that don't conflict with the footprints, but it doesn't seem feasible.

In addition, the temporary PATH station under construction will have tracks under the footprints and plans are to build the permanent station in the same location. Picking up on that point, Sudhir Jain, a Battery Park City resident, said "we already have PATH trains going through. It seems arbitrary to exclude buses."

Madelyn Wils, chairperson of Community Board 1 and a member of the L.M.D.C.'s board of directors, said efforts to prevent construction in the tower area and to bring all of the human remains back to the site were threats to Lower Manhattan's future.

"We cannot build a future for Downtown unless the infrastructure goes under the footprints," Wils said in a telephone interview. She added that "when I hear my nine-year-old say, 'mommy don't let them build a cemetery or else we'll have to move,' " it makes her more aware of the need to make sure residents' needs are also considered. She said several mothers have told her of similar statements from their children. "We cannot take away people's pain by making everybody else miserable," she said. ******

But Edie Lutnick, whose brother worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, disputes the idea that relatives are dominating the process. "We are finding it difficult to believe...that the families are being listened to," she said at last week's meeting. "It is so apparent that the memorial is not driving this process."

Of all the family members who spoke, Charles Wolf, whose wife was killed in the towers, came the closest to saying he could accept a bus garage, but he said every effort should be made to build it around the footprints. "If you want a memorial, you have got to acknowledge that there is stuff that goes with it... I don't want the loss of these 2,800 lives to mean the loss of the life of Lower Manhattan," he said before calling for some sort of a compromise.


March 5th, 2003, 12:38 PM
"when I hear my nine-year-old say, 'mommy don't let them build a cemetery or else we'll have to move"

I think we should all start a college fund for this kid. ;)

“It is a strong concept that treats the site design itself as a memorial, and incorporates transit connections, public amenities and commercial development opportunities. But as with any competition submission, it is only a sketch of the final solution, and as it evolves over time, there is a danger that this strong concept can fall victim to the normal forces of New York City development, and be whittled away behind the scenes and out of public view.”

Not having the site whittled down to mediocrity should be everyone's first concern.

"The other challenge is how the plan will be integrated with the upcoming memorial competition, in which the chosen result must complete and enrich the plan, not compete with it."

The public needs to have just as much input on the memorial selection as anything else. This shouldn't be left completely up to the families.

March 5th, 2003, 12:47 PM
Personally, I thought building a bus depot below the memorial was brilliant. *God knows idling buses lining our avenues waiting for the tourists create pollution and annoyance.

(Edited by BrooklynRider at 1:12 pm on Mar. 5, 2003)

March 5th, 2003, 12:57 PM
I wouldn't exactly call it a stroke of genius. *Common sense is more like like it.

March 5th, 2003, 04:57 PM
I'll be at the CB1 meeting tonight at 6PM.
PA will give presentation on transportation plans.
Family members will be there.

I suspect it will be a waste of time, but I want to hear it all myself.

March 5th, 2003, 05:11 PM
Excellent Zippy - full report please.....

March 5th, 2003, 10:37 PM
Sorry Edward, this will not be NY Times worthy English. :)

This was a normally scheduled CB1 committee meeting. The PA was the only agency there - to present their transportation plans.

Exchange Place PATH station: I didn't realize that the station is still closed because there is no place to turn around the trains. The PA just completed tunnel cuts between the two tunnels to reverse the trains. Service will resume in June, with increased ferry service to NYC.

New ferry terminal at BPC North Cove. 5 slip floating terminal, anchored on two pilings to bedrock. Mostly glass, enclosed from weather - looks pretty good.
Construction may start in 2 months, completion by end 2004.

Tempy PATH at WTC site: Both tunnels gutted, new track, power lines, etc complete. The station is two level, located exactly where the old one was. Above track level will be a fare control area. There will be a concourse running east under the IRT 1/9 subway to escalators (about where the old ones were) to street level. From there an enclosed walkway to Church and Fulton/Dey, where there will be a canopy entrance. This will last about 4 years, but it's bare-bones.
No direct subway connections.

There were excellent computer simulations of movement through the transportation hub. Some of it was a little confusing, because they also used simulations from the hub that they designed before Libeskind was chosen.

The simulations move you from various entry points throughout the hub. Very open design, lots of visual clues to the outside. They spoke of working with the MTA to open up views from the 1/9 subway station into the concourse, and possibly the same thing with the N/R station.

Possibly an entry point into the hub from Liberty Park (off the SE corner) to avoid crowds crossing Church. Another entry point in the triangle off 7WTC.
A question was asked later about an entry at Liberty and Greenwich.

PA expects transportation hub, memorial, and hopefully one building complete by 2008

This ended the slide presentation. The PA said it was pulling its plan to build an underground bus garage. A good political move, they said they were going to present the facts they had - and were open to suggestions.

CB members had their questions answered first, before it was opened to the audience. Since all CB members support the bus garage, Monica Iken got upset or bored, and left at 7:45.
5 minutes later, questions were opened to the audience.

PA said truck unloading will be in centralized underground areas, with entry ramps on Vesey St near Washington St. If buses are allowed, entry will be in the same place. The number of loading bays in the old WTC was inadequate, they will need more.

NYC building code requires that there be some tenant parking on the site.

Estimates are that there will be 5.5 million visitors per year. With 15% not taking mass transit, that would be 160 buses on an average day. NYC DOT and City Planning have told PA they have no place downtown to store that many buses.

It was mentioned that CB1 had been trying for 12 years to find a place for commuter bus storage - without success.

Most family member representatives were reasonable. Charles Wolf, mentioned in the above article, again said he could support a garage if it didn't touch the footprints. The PA said it would drastically reduce the number of buses that could be stored, and may not be feasible, since ramps would be needed.

Another family member, Colleen Delancy, had questions about the PA not having to follow NYC building codes, about the security and danger involved in underground facilities.
That was the only time the PA rep (Tony Cracchiolo) got a little emotional. He said someting like, "Yes, we didn't have to build to the existing code, but we went beyond it."
He also said NY is a vertical city, and there has to be underground facilities. someone on the CB said there will always be security problems in a big city.

At some point in all this, a CB member threw out a zinger. His sister (I think it was his sister) was killed off the site on West St, would it be reasonable for him to want the roadway closed.

Just before I left, a woman whose son was killed spoke. She had a list of all the statements at the meeting that upset her, and addressed them. She suggested that the bus garage be put in NJ, and people ferried across. Then she started ranting about conflicting reports of human DNA still at Fresh Kills, and that she had to go to a garbage dump to see her son, and what sort of name is that - Fresh Kills, and that maybe we should put the garage in Fresh Kills.
I said it was a rant.

Well, that's it. Virtually every downtown group supports the garage. *

March 5th, 2003, 11:39 PM
Estimates are that there will be 5.5 million visitors per year.

I wonder how many will want to vist the observatory, less or more?

His sister (I think it was his sister) was killed off the site on West St, would it be reasonable for him to want the roadway closed.

Good for him. I will never quite understand the fixation with the footprints never mind to bedrock. I think its a power thing. Maybe they have focused on the footprints as a way to try to make some meaning out of the whole thing. Sort of just something to grab on to. I really don't get it.

I am amazed at how raw the emotions still are at the extremes at both ends of the rebuilding issue.

The more I think about it the happier I am that the site plan came before the memorial. I'd rather have that end of the spectrum driving the "feel" of the site rather than a memorial.

March 5th, 2003, 11:59 PM
The WTC observatory was always popular. About 8 million visitors per year. I would think it would be just as popular.

I didn't expect anything to get settled at the meeting. I just wanted to guage what sort of political clout the family groups had. At least on this issue, not very much. All the logic was against them. There was no other support. You could see what the PA did. "OK, you tell us what we should do." Some of the arguments were so strained, it was painful to listen to them.

I feel sorry for these people. They need to work through their pain, and this isn't the way.

As I said earlier, I was quite impressed with the transportation hub.

March 6th, 2003, 12:03 AM
It doesn't surprise me that the transport hub was good. Have you seen some of the new terminals at JFK. They're really quite an improvement. The PA does do some things well.

March 6th, 2003, 12:18 AM
Yes, it looks like the entire complex is transforming. The PA never seemed comfortable running the WTC, but they seem to know how to move people around.