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JMGarcia
June 1st, 2003, 06:10 PM
Downtown favors West St. tunnel, poll says

By Josh Rogers
Downtown Express

Most people living in Battery Park City think building a short tunnel under West St. is at least somewhat important if not a top priority, according to a new poll of Lower Manhattan residents.One third of the B.P.C. residents surveyed by Blum and Weprin Associates said building “a short vehicular tunnel adjacent to the World Trade Center site” is either a top priority (10 percent) or very important (22 percent). One quarter said it was somewhat important, but 42 percent said it was not very important.

Julie Weprin, who conducted the poll of 800 residents in B.P.C. and the other neighborhoods south of Canal St., did say people living in Battery Park City were the most likely to say the tunnel is not very important. The issue has been an emotional one in B.P.C. and that result was perhaps less surprising than the fact that the number of people who rated the tunnel to be at least very important was about the same in B.P.C. than it was in Tribeca and the Financial District/Seaport area.

Overall, nine percent said the tunnel should be a top priority, 24 percent said very important, 30 percent somewhat important and 31 percent not very important.

The poll on a range of subjects about living in Lower Manhattan was paid for by Friends of Community Board 1, a non-profit fundraising arm of the board. The respondents were interviewed on the telephone between May 4- 6.

The tunnel, which is estimated to cost $900 million, has been endorsed by Gov. George Pataki and others as a way to take most of the through traffic off the eight-lane roadway, also known as Route 9A, and ease pedestrian crossings between B.P.C. and the proposed memorial to the victims of the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington D.C.

Opponents of the tunnel, led by a residential group called the Save West St. Coalition, argue that the tunnel is too costly, will be disruptive to build, will cause new traffic problems at the tunnel’s exit and entrance ramps, and will primarily benefit Brookfield Financial Properties, which owns the World Financial Center, which is on the opposite of the street as the W.T.C.

Madelyn Wils, chairperson of C.B. 1, which commissioned the poll, said she is confident the tunnel would be an improvement for pedestrians, but she is undecided about whether it is worth doing.

“My concern is over the costs of West St.,” she said.

Similarly, after Pataki said the state was moving forward with the tunnel in April, Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff said he was not convinced yet that the benefits justified the cost.

The money would come out of the $21.4 billion in federal aid to help Downtown recover from the terrorist attack and Wils said there may not be enough for the tunnel if other priorities are addressed. Wils has been arguing for building a rail link from Downtown to the Long Island Rail Road and JFK Airport – which would cost at least $2 billion.

That idea rated significantly higher than the tunnel in the poll. Almost 60 percent of the respondents said an airport/L.I.R.R. link is either a top priority or very important and only 13 percent said it was not very important.

The margin of error for the poll was plus or minus three points. Weprin said 243 people in B.P.C. were surveyed. On questions dealing with the smaller sample of residents from B.P.C. the margin of error was larger, plus or minus about seven points, Weprin said.

Other poll results

There were other significant findings in the poll. Forty-two percent of the people living Downtown before 9/11 rated is as an excellent place to live, but only 14 percent say it is excellent now. Even so, 79 percent of the people who were living Downtown before the attack said they were not thinking of moving away.

“It seems the ones that are still here now, they are here to stay,” said Weprin.

Of the people who are considering moving away, the most common reason was for personal reasons unrelated to 9/11.

Most of the apartments of people who permanently moved out of Lower Manhattan after the attack were filled by new residents taking advantage of a federally-funded residential grant program administered by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. The poll confirmed the anecdotal evidence that the residential turnover was most pronounced in B.P.C., where 43 percent of those polled had moved Downtown after 9/11.

Fifty-six percent of the people who lived in Tribeca and Battery Park City rated it excellent before 9/11, whereas only 27 percent on the East Side rated it that way. After 9/11, 29 percent of B.P.C. residents said it was excellent, compared to 26 percent in Tribeca and 10 percent on the East Side.

Thirty percent of the respondents who lived Downtown before 9/11 said someone in their household suffers from coughing, respiratory problems, or some other ailment which they believe to have been caused by the W.T.C. debris. As for new residents, 25 percent answered yes to this question.

Thirty-one percent of the pre-9/11 residents said they were still suffering from emotional difficulties, depression, sleeplessness, anxiety or nightmares as a result of the attack. Forty-one percent said they had these difficulties after the attack, but do not have them now.

Seventy-five percent said they would like to see a temporary, open-air public market at the east side of the W.T.C. site during the transitional years when no buildings are expected to be constructed there.

When asked what should be the “number one priority for Downtown construction,” 35 percent said street level local retail services, followed by schools (21 percent) and east and west waterfront park improvements (17 percent).

This question had more fluctuation depending on where people live. Since all of the public elementary and middle schools in the C.B. 1 area are west of Hudson St., it was perhaps not surprising that 26 percent of Downtown East Siders said schools were the number one priority, while in B.P.C. and Tribeca, the numbers were 16 and 19 respectively. In B.P.C., 44 percent said better retail was the highest priority, whereas on the East Side, it was 26 percent.

The first two parts of the poll were released last week. The final part on residents’ feelings on the memorial and the rest of the W.T.C. site will be released May 27, the day before a public hearing to discuss the memorial competition.

BrooklynRider
June 2nd, 2003, 09:18 AM
The tunnel just seems silly. *Use that money to develop a 2nd Ave Subway or direct rail link from Lower Manhattan to JFK or LaGuardia. *Those will reduce the traffic, rather than hide it as the tunnel would.

TLOZ Link5
June 2nd, 2003, 04:00 PM
We need an airport link and a Second Avenue subway more than anything else at the moment.

ZippyTheChimp
June 3rd, 2003, 09:44 PM
The tunnel should be viewed as more than a traffic/pedestrian issue, but as part of the WTC site development.

Most of the initial BPC opposition to the tunnel has subsided. It was proposed too soon after 9/11, and was viewed as another construction project on top of all the other disruptions going on at the time.

Another problem is that there is still no detailed proposal.
I heard that the DOT will release 3 alternative plans this month. *

NYguy
June 24th, 2003, 07:19 PM
(Newsday)

WTC Highway Plan Designs Released
Route 9A Proposals Combine Tunnels, Multi-Lanes

June 24, 2003

State transportation officials released designs Tuesday for two alternatives for rebuilding the busy stretch of highway near the World Trade Center site -- one with four lanes under ground and one with all eight lanes at street level.

Although Gov. George Pataki has said he supports the tunnel option, the state Department of Transportation will conduct environmental reviews of both plans and will hold a public hearing in one year, said Rich Schmalz, who is in charge of the highway project for the department.

Federal officials will decide between the alternatives at the end of 2004, he said.

The tunnel option would cost $860 million while the "at-grade" plan would cost $175 million, Schmalz said. A landscaped pedestrian promenade will add another $140 million to the cost of either plan.

Schmalz said the more expensive plan would depress four lanes of West Street in front of the trade center site and leave four lanes at grade. Through traffic would drop below grade just north of Albany Street and rise to street level about eight blocks north at Murray Street.

Officials estimate that 75 percent of the cars would use the below-grade lanes.

Schmalz, who presented both alternatives at a briefing at the Customs House a few blocks from the trade center site, said the tunnel alternative would provide "better connectivity for the pedestrians going from the trade center site over to the World Financial Center."

He said either choice would be paid for out of the $4.55 billion that Congress allocated for lower Manhattan transportation improvements after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the trade center.

The section of the highway, Route 9A, was severely damaged by the attack and the recovery and cleanup efforts. A temporary roadway and pavement was installed.

The tunnel alternative would take two years to design and two and a half years to build, Schmalz said, while the at-grade plan would take one year to design and one and a half years to build.

One choice that was previously under consideration, a longer tunnel costing $2.3 billion, has been rejected in part because of community opposition to what would have been a five-year construction project.

NYguy
June 25th, 2003, 07:33 AM
Here's the website...
http://www.route9a.info/promende.html

and gallery...
http://www.route9a.info/gallery.html

Kris
June 25th, 2003, 08:46 AM
June 25, 2003

Tunnel Is Proposed as Option in Rebuilding of West Street

By EDWARD WYATT

The State Department of Transportation released preliminary plans yesterday for two alternative overhauls of West Street from the World Trade Center site south to Battery Park, one of which would place part of the street in a tunnel that would cost $860 million and take nearly five years to build.

That option is preferred by Gov. George E. Pataki, who in April endorsed the idea of a tunnel from Vesey Street to Liberty Street that would "divert loud, fast-moving highway traffic underground to protect the dignity of the memorial" at the trade center site.

Already, however, community groups have formed in opposition to the tunnel idea. A group calling itself the Coalition to Save West Street contends that the tunnel would further isolate Battery Park City, because its entrance ramps would restrict traffic into and out of the neighborhood and create pedestrian hazards.

The group favors what the Transportation Department calls the at-grade alternative, a revamped eight-lane roadway similar to what existed before Sept. 11, 2001, but with enhanced pedestrian access across West Street and landscaped medians. That plan would take two and a half years to design and build and cost about $175 million.

Whichever plan is chosen, it will be combined with a landscaped promenade to be built between the trade center site and Battery Park. The promenade, a $140 million project that would take two and a half years to design and build, is to include a 40-foot-wide pedestrian way along the eastern side of West Street to encourage the development of street-level activities, like cafes and retail shops.

Construction of the promenade is to begin in July 2004 and to be completed in November 2005. West Street, a state highway also known as Route 9A, will remain open during the construction.

On the west side of the street, the Transportation Department would rebuild and expand some of the playgrounds and green spaces that form the edge of Battery Park City. A one-acre triangle park would be created just north of Battery Place, forming a connection between Hudson River Park and Battery Park.

Information about the alternatives is available from the Transportation Department at (212) 201-0917 or from the Web site www.route9a.info .

Richard Schmalz, the Route 9A project director, said a decision on which alternative to pursue would be made in November 2004. Over the next year, the department will draft an environmental impact statement outlining each proposal, and a public hearing is tentatively scheduled for June 2004. Construction on the project area near the trade center site will begin either in mid-2005 or mid-2006.


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company


(Edited by Christian Wieland at 10:36 am on June 25, 2003)

JMGarcia
June 25th, 2003, 10:31 AM
Personally, I prefer the tunnel option although I'm not sure if its worth the money. Of course, it might be one of those cases where the money "disappears" if not used in which case cost becomes irrelevant.

I can't see how the tunnel entrances, being mid-block, will block pedestrian activity. Pedestrians just don't cross West St. mid-block. So, I think the local NIMBYs are on especially shaky ground with this one.

On the other hand, I do not see the tunnel being a traffic panacea. There is enough traffic going down West St. at rush hour and NY drivers being what they are, they will fill up both the above and below ground lanes to the max. I can see that at off hours most traffic would go through the tunnel though.

billyblancoNYC
June 25th, 2003, 10:58 AM
This is one of those things, I think, that when it is all said and done, people will flock there b/c it will be beautiful. *NYC needs more open, relaxing areas like this for people to just be, and to enjoy themselves. *This is good for the traffic, for the WTC site, for all the businesses and for all those new and current residents down there. *Would be nice to have an extended tunnel, but that is too much cash. *

NYatKNIGHT
June 25th, 2003, 11:56 AM
This area will be one of the top destinations in the city - I say do it right. If they don't do it now it will never get done, and it will always be regretted.

Traffic Engineers have some creative devices to use to discourage rush hour drivers from filling up the top lanes by making it not worth the time or effort. I am sure this will be among the first things they consider since the main goal is to divert traffic away from the site.

billyblancoNYC
June 25th, 2003, 01:35 PM
Agrred. *If it is done the right way, as the plans seem to be, it will be a focal point not just for downtown, but for the entire region and (for better of for worse) tourists. *This, the WTC and the Hudson River Park make this area amazing. *Downtown deserves all it can get and more.

NYguy
July 2nd, 2003, 09:18 PM
Downtown divided over West St.

By Josh Rogers

The State Dept. of Transportation last week released new details about the proposal to build an $860 million tunnel under West St. while Downtowners remained divided over whether it is the best option for the six-lane roadway.

The issue has gotten the most attention in Battery Park City, the only place along the roadway where residents live between the highway and the Hudson River.

A recent poll of Lower Manhattan residents showed that people living in B.P.C. were the most likely to say they were against building the tunnel, 42 percent, but a third of the residents either said building the vehicular tunnel between Vesey and Liberty Sts. is very important or should be a top priority. The one-third figure matched the numbers for the rest of Downtown.

Two friends and mothers pushing strollers who were opposed to the tunnel, both cited a reason that some tunnel proponents suspect is the real reason for the B.P.C. opposition — namely that reducing the number of lanes along West St. will encourage more visitors to the neighborhood.

Karen Picciani, who lives in the southern part of B.P.C., volunteered that she doesn’t want to do anything to encourage more people to cross the highway. “We like being isolated,” she said. “[The tunnel] will open us up to the rest of Downtown.”

Her friend, Trish Baumann, added, “I do like the highway as a barrier. Right now it’s so different on the other side.”

Battery Park City is often likened to the closest thing to suburban living in Manhattan and the two mothers said they felt more protected with the highway.

Picciani said she is somewhat relieved that the state has abandoned plans to build a longer tunnel from Chambers St. down to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, but her preference would be no tunnel at all. “I’ve resigned myself that they’re going to do it regardless of what we think,” she said.

Indeed, Gov. George Pataki has said he clearly wants to build the tunnel adjacent to the World Trade Center site, although most other politicians are either lukewarm or opposed to the idea.

And certainly many of the opponents dispute the notion that the tunnel will make it easier to cross the highway.

John Dellaportas, chairperson of the Save West St. Coalition, formed last year to stop the tunnel, said the tunnel’s proposed exit and entrance ramps near Murray and Albany Sts. will make the situation more unsafe. “There will be two horrific tunnel ramps that will get people run over,” he said in a telephone interview.

He says the diagrams released last week heightened his concerns about the ramps when he saw how close they were to the entrance to the Battery Tunnel. Southbound motorists exiting the West St. tunnel looking to turn into B.P.C. at Albany St. will be shifting to the right lanes at the same time motorists looking to take the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel will be shifting to the left from the local through lanes, said Dellaportas.

The agency is planning to begin building a temporary pedestrian bridge over Vesey St. next week. The bridge, at a still unspecified cost, would open by November and allow commuters exiting the PATH W.T.C. station to walk west into Battery Park City when the station reopens, also in November. It would not connect to a building although it could be built to lead into 3 World Financial Center and architect Daniel Libeskind’s proposed Freedom Tower at Fulton and West Sts.

Regardless of which option is chosen, D.O.T. plans to create a $140 million boulevard along West St. The sidewalk would be widened to as much as 40 feet in some places and a deck would be built over the Brooklyn Batter-Tunnel ramp to create a new park leading into Battery Park at the south end of West St. Unlike the tunnel, the idea has the strong support of both the governor and Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

Tim Carey, the president and C.E.O. of the Battery Park City Authority, which manages the 92-acre neighborhood of 9,000 people, said the tunnel is the only way to make it safer for neighborhood residents and the millions of people expected to visit the W.T.C. memorial. “It’s going to get worse if we don’t improve it,” he said. “I don’t want to see people killed.”

Carey cited Pearl Scher, a fairly-well known senior citizen in the neighborhood who was hit by a car on West St. last year.

Scher, 88, said in a telephone interview that she broke her ribs and still has dizzy spells and aches from last year’s accident .She would love to see a tunnel start at Chambers St. closer to her home, but the shorter tunnel is worth doing, she thinks, because it will add park space and make it easier for the elderly, handicapped, and stroller-pushers to cross.

Of the long tunnel, she said, “We would have loved it. It would be wonderful.” The shorter tunnel would “add a lot to the community,” she said.

Randy Schmidt said he bought his B.P.C. condo this year because he liked the overall Libeskind plan and the tunnel idea in particular. “I think it will be great idea to have a park there. It will help all of the people who will be strolling there.” Schmidt, who works in Jersey City, said he moved to B.P.C. from Queens to shorten his commute, but he followed the rebuilding plans closely before investing in the neighborhood.

As for the politicians, there is little enthusiasm for the tunnel other than from Pataki, and much opposition locally. U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler is the most recent to come out against it. His aide, Linda Rosenthal, said Nadler is concerned about the costs of the tunnel and also well-aware that he has received hundreds of e-mails opposing it. Assmblymember Deborah Glick is opposed, and Councilmember Alan Gerson is leaning against.

Several weeks ago, Gerson put out a strongly-worded statement opposing the tunnel, but in a telephone interview, said the statement was designed to halt Pataki’s plan and he remained open to the possibility that a different tunnel plan could work. “We had to issue a strong statement to get the governor to back off,” Gerson said at the end of May.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the local politician with the most amount of leverage with Pataki, said he has not taken a position on the matter. He said he is not at all concerned about the costs, but it is not clear to him what his constituency wants to see.

“If that’s what the community wants, it’s not a lot,” of money, Silver told Downtown Express last week.

Two people who are concerned about the costs are Dep. Mayor Daniel Doctoroff and Madelyn Wils, chairperson of Community Board 1 and a board member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. Both say the tunnel would improve pedestrian crossings but that it is probably not as high a priority as other projects such as building a link to J.F.K. Airport and the Long Island Rail Road.

Wils has said that the tunnel would clearly not be worth it if there were no street-level pedestrian access over Libeskind’s sunken memorial area, as she has proposed adding.

State D.O.T. officials say they have ruled out building a deck —which would be significantly cheaper than the tunnel — over the highway because of the sunken memorial idea.

A D.O.T. official who was answering questions at last week’s meeting said, “If [the memorial] came up, the deck may come back into the picture.”

This official agreed with some other architects who have said that the decision to extend Greenwich St. through the W.T.C. site, effectively ruled out the easiest way to build a deck leading to the second floor lobbies of the World Financial Center, since Church St. is significantly higher than Greenwich. “If they had done that, it would have been easy and you wouldn’t have a pit,” he said, referring to Libeskind’s memorial area.


http://www.downtownexpress.com/DE_10/plan1.jpg
State D.O.T. drawing of what West St. would look like near the World Trade Center site with a tunnel underneath.


http://www.downtownexpress.com/DE_10/plan2.jpg
D.O.T. drawing of what the Morris St. area would like south of the proposed tunnel area.


http://www.downtownexpress.com/DE_10/plan.jpg
State Dept. of Transportation drawing of a proposed new park area near the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel entrance ramp. The park would be built regardless of whether the disputed tunnel under West St. would be built to the north.

NYguy
August 8th, 2003, 05:26 PM
At Vesey Street, a new Pedestrian Bridge and Path Are Coming

by Ronald Drenger

Pedestrians crossing West Street and negotiating their way along the north side of the World Trade Center site should find their wanderings easier by the end of this year.

A new Vesey Street pedestrian bridge and an upgraded, covered path connecting the bridge to Church Street should be ready when the temporary PATH opens around the end of November, officials from the State Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Port Authority said as they presented detailed project plans to Community Board 1’s WTC Redevelopment Committee on June 9.

Plans for the temporary pedestrian bridge had previously been announced by state and city officials, but at the meeting the Transportation Department unveiled a design and site plan for the project.

The 250-foot-long bridge will cross from the southwest corner of Vesey and West Streets, in front of Three World Financial Center, to the northeast corner, in front of the Verizon Building.

The bridge is expected to remain for about five years, until the reconstruction of West Street (see “State Officials Present West Street Plans”) is complete, DOT officials said.

The path is most likely going to be within a new elevated structure running along Vesey Street from the bridge and then ramping down to street level in front of the new PATH station entrance on Church Street, said Peter Rinaldi, general manager for World Trade Center site projects for the Port Authority.

The Port Authority is considering keeping the path at street level—thought it would still get a roof and other improvements—but an elevated passageway would more effectively separate pedestrians from construction crews at the main Trade Center site and at 7 World Trade, keeping them out of each other’s way, Rinaldi said. Street-level pedestrians would also have to contend with a new wave of truck traffic going to and from the post office building at 90 Church Street, which Rinaldi said is expected to reopen next April.

The path will be 20 feet wide, compared to the “woefully inadequate” 7-foot-wide path that exists now, Rinaldi said. Whether the new path is elevated or not, “it would be a tremendous improvement over what is there today,” he added.

The bridge and path projects are intended to ease access for World Financial Center workers who will resume arriving by PATH and for Battery Park City residents entering and leaving their neighborhood.

When the temporary PATH station reopens, it is expected that 1500 to 4500 people an hour will cross the bridge, with that number rising to 6500 as redevelopment moves forward over the next several years, said Richard Schmalz, director of West Street reconstruction and Lower Manhattan redevelopment at DOT.

The bridge will be similar to the Rector Street bridge, protected from rain and wind though not fully enclosed. But it will be brighter and more open, according to Heather Sporn, DOT’s deputy director for Lower Manhattan redevelopment.

It will not actually enter Three World Financial Center, as the North Bridge connected directly to the Winter Garden before it was destroyed on Sept. 11. There will be stairs, an elevator and eventually an escalator from the sidewalks on Vesey and West streets outside the World Financial Center to the bridge.

On the east side, there will be an elevator and stairs down to West Street, at the place where the bridge is expected to connect to the elevated Vesey Street walkway. And there would be a couple of points along the walkway between West and Church streets where people could descend to the street by stairs.

But the elevators will not be ready until the spring, Schmalz said.

Several Battery Park City residents at the meeting said they were concerned that the elevators won’t work anyway, based on their experiences with the chronically broken elevators at the other pedestrian bridges over West Street, including the one at Rector Street that the Transportation Department built in the spring of 2002.

“I don’t trust any of them,” said Betty Heller, who lives in Battery Park City’s north neighborhood. “They’ve been so unreliable.”

“We want to do much better than we did with the elevators on the previous bridges,” responded Schmalz. He said that the Transportation Department was working out a contract with Brookfield Properties, the World Financial Center’s owner, for the company to maintain the bridge.

The pedestrian walkway along Liberty Street, on the south side of the World Trade Center site, will also be upgraded, DOT officials said, but those plans are not ready yet.

The Vesey Street bridge is expected to be completed in November.


http://tribecatrib.com/photos/news/june03/veseybridgerendering.jpg


http://tribecatrib.com/photos/news/june03/veseybridgeplan.jpg


http://tribecatrib.com/photos/news/june03/vesey_st_walkway1.jpg

Jasonik
August 8th, 2003, 05:59 PM
The bridge is expected to remain for about five years, until the reconstruction of West Street (see “State Officials Present West Street Plans”) is complete, DOT officials said.

State Officials Present West Street Plans

by Ronald Drenger

http://www.tribecatrib.com/photos/news/june03/weststshortbypass.jpg
http://www.tribecatrib.com/photos/news/june03/west_st_promenade_cap.gif
http://www.tribecatrib.com/photos/news/june03/west_st_at_grade.jpg

Although Governor Pataki and Downtown rebuilding officials have declared that they want to create a West Street tunnel as part of the redevelopment of the World Trade Center area, the State Department of Transportation is still evaluating tunnel and non-tunnel options, agency officials said on June 9. But the officials said they believed that the tunnel plan would do a better job separating pedestrians from vehicle traffic next to the World Trade Center site and transforming West Street into a bustling, tree-lined promenade.

At a meeting of Community Board 1’s WTC Redevelopment Committee in the Assembly hearing room at 250 Broadway, the officials provided the most detailed public presentation to date on the planned promenade from Chambers Street to the Battery, though they said that planning was still in its early stages.

Downtown residents closely scrutinized two 26-foot-long color drawings taped to the walls that showed preliminary visions of the project, with and without a tunnel, and some residents raised concerns about the potential impacts of the proposed tunnel on the neighborhood.

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Another informational meeting on the West Street project, at which members of the public can speak, will be held on June 24, from 2 to 8 p.m., at the U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green.

Much of the presentation and the subsequent discussion at the community board meeting focused on the portion of West Street adjacent to the World Trade Center site, which the officials said would be turned into a landscaped, pedestrian-friendly area, making it easier for people to cross to and from the World Financial Center and Battery Park City.

The proposed tunnel would run under this stretch, from Vesey Street to Liberty Street, with the tunnel’s northern ramp extending up to Murray Street and the southern ramp ending at Albany Street. Four lanes of traffic, two in each direction, would run through the tunnel, and another

four lanes, in addition to turning lanes, would remain on the surface for cars entering or leaving Battery Park City and the Financial District, and for tourist buses.

The officials estimated that three-quarters of vehicles traveling on West Street, or Route 9A, would use the tunnel.

“Putting 75 percent of vehicles underground makes it possible to have a much more pedestrian-friendly area,” said Richard Schmalz, director of the Route 9A project and Lower Manhattan redevelopment at the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Schmalz and Tim Gilchrist, the department’s director of planning and strategy, also presented a “long tunnel” option, extending almost to the Battery, but said that fewer than a third of vehicles would use it and that they would probably soon eliminate it from consideration.

Without a tunnel (the “at-grade option,” in DOT lingo), about 60,000 vehicles would travel on West Street each day after the area is redeveloped, the department estimates, while if the “short” tunnel is built only about 18,000 vehicles are expected to travel on the surface lanes. About 60,000 people will be crossing West Street each day, the agency estimates.

There would be wide, landscaped pedestrian islands for those people, and a wide walkway between the street and the World Trade Center site.

http://www.tribecatrib.com/photos/news/june03/west_st_view_north_at_lib.jpg *http://www.tribecatrib.com/photos/news/june03/west_st_view_west_lib.jpg *
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South of Liberty Street, planners envision a busy strip with cafés, shops, art galleries and lots of new trees, and the sidewalk on the east side of the highway would be widened considerably, from 8-10 feet today to 35-40 feet, said Heather Sporn, deputy project director.

At the southern end of West Street, a new one-acre park would be created on a deck over the entrance to the underpass that leads around the tip of Manhattan to the FDR Drive.

“This creates a green swath that leads into a much grander terminus than you had before,” Sporn said. “You will really have a connection between the World Trade Center site and what we consider to be a very important place, Battery Park.”

The whole project, she said, “will create east-west connections, enhance north-south movement, and create as much green space as possible.”

The project requires an environmental review and DOT officials pledged to work with the community as plans are refined.

“These are conceptual renderings to start the dialogue with the community board,” said Gilchrist.

Once the government completes the environmental review is completed and makes a final decision about a tunnel, the design phase for the West Street project would take about two years and construction another two and a half years if the tunnel is included, while the at-grade option would take about a year to fully design and 18 months to build, Schmalz said. The total time could be cut by about a year under a proposed streamlined contracting process, he added.

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Many Battery Park City residents have opposed the tunnel proposal, saying that construction will be disruptive, that the finished product will cause congestion and pollution and impede vehicle access into and out of the neighborhood, and that it’s the whole project is simply not worth the money.


The Transportation Department estimates that the West Street project will cost $900 million with the tunnel and about $200 million without the tunnel, and critics point out that major infrastructure projects frequently exceed early estimates.

Community board members, other residents and a representative of Councilman Alan Gerson raised some of their concerns at the community board meeting.

A couple of residents suggested creating more

pedestrian bridges to make it easier for people to cross West Street without a tunnel.

The DOT officials said they planned to look at that option, but cautioned that people often ignore pedestrian bridges and cross highways at grade even if it’s not as safe. The bridges would have to be at least 22 feet high to give enough clearance room for vehicles and “people tend not to go up,” Gilchrist said.

More bridges could also hamper other goals of Lower Manhattan’s redevelopment, the officials said.

“You can put people in pedestrian bridges but it does remove a lot of street life that you maybe want to encourage in this area,” said Sporn. “People stay within this closed system. We want to encourage people to walk, to visit shops, to be on the street. Then you have a much more normal environment.”

Jordan Gruzen, a Battery Park City resident and an architect who has designed several Downtown buildings, agreed.

“I see the short tunnel as the right solution, and I see bridges as the wrong solution,” he said.

But another resident said that planners were neglecting local community interests. “You’re thinking about businesses, cafés and tourists by talking about keeping people at grade level so that there’s street traffic, rather than about giving us a way to get in and out from Battery Park City to Tribeca,” he said.

The officials responded that a vibrant street environment would benefit residents as well as visitors and that the area on top of the tunnel would improve pedestrian access to and from Battery Park City.

The officials also addressed residents' concerns about vehicle access. Drivers from Battery Park City and financial district will easily be able to get onto West Street in either direction or into the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel or the underpass to the East Side, generally using the same routes as they use today, , Schmalz said.

When one resident questioned whether the tunnel would improve traffic flow, Schmalz said that that wasn’t the goal. “It’s less about moving vehicles more efficiently than about separating vehicles and pedestrians and allowing pedestrians to move more easily.”

Another resident raised doubts about how pedestrian-friendly the tunnel plan would actually be, pointing to the Park Avenue underpass, which is considered a nightmare for pedestrians, as a precedent.

Schmalz said that DOT was studying that tunnel, which he acknowledged was poorly designed, especially where it comes back to street level at 33rd Street. He said that on West Street there would be wider medians and “refuge areas” for pedestrians to stop as they crossed the highway.

In response to concerns about disruption during tunnel construction, Schmalz said that traffic on West Street would be maintained while work goes on, “and we will maintain pedestrian bridges or at-grade crossings, and possible even have shuttle services into and out of Battery Park City.”

“We’re still at the conceptual level, it’s hard for me to lay out all the details on the construction level,” he added. “We have to look at the staging, and how we can minimize disruption.”

Some critics complain that the decision to build the tunnel has already been made. In a major speech in April on Downtown redevelopment, Governor Pataki included the tunnel among a list of projects that would be built, and he released a timetable indicating that the tunnel would open by December 2007.

A spokeswoman for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is overseeing rebuilding on and around the World Trade Center site, said then that the tunnel “has emerged as a preference.”

When asked after the community board meeting if the at-grade alternative was still being seriously considered along with the tunnel option, Schmalz said, “Until we do the environmental review—looking at the impacts on air, noise, access, cultural resources and all the other issues—and then make a decision, they’re equal. But certainly we’re not going to ignore what the governor says.”

“We have to go through the process and in the end show that it’s in fact the right decision,” he added, regarding the governor’s stated preference for the tunnel. “That one, perhaps, is favored, but we have to be fair and equal as we do the analysis.”

(Edited by Jasonik at 6:21 pm on Aug. 8, 2003)

Jasonik
August 8th, 2003, 06:32 PM
I just realized these images are the same as above minus the garish color approximations.

This thread relates: TUNNEL IS SUNK (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/topic.cgi?forum=4&topic=251)

JMGarcia
August 8th, 2003, 06:47 PM
There is no doubt in my mind that, if done right, the tunnel option will be more pleasant and better for the area. What I'm not so convinced of is that it is worth the money.

As far as the "disruptions" go, I think a large number of BPC residents really have to start thinking of something beyond themselves or move to the suburbs. BPC is not a gated community as much as they'd like to think otherwise.

Jasonik
August 8th, 2003, 11:42 PM
I would appreciate any info on who would pay for the tunnel. *

From this link to the NYS DOT (http://www.dot.state.ny.us/reg/r11/rt9a/pr.html) it appears to be State funded:
----------
This Route 9A project seeks to develop a permanent facility that will, among other goals, restore vehicular capacity, improve pedestrian movement, provide an appropriate setting for the future Memorial, enhance green space, support economic recovery in Lower Manhattan and ensure community participation. The project follows and builds upon the Route 9A Reconstruction Project, for which a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Final Environmental Impact Statement was published in May 1994 and a Record of Decision was issued in August 1994.
----------

*****

In the 1997 New York City Bicycle Master Plan (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/bike/mp.html), the NYS DOT sponsored the Route 9A bikeway/walkway.

From the Greenway Plan Realizing the Vision portion of the same website:
----------
Greenway segments can also be implemented as part of park renovation projects, such as Soundview Park in the Bronx, or in conjunction with highway or bridge projects, such as the rebuilding of Route 9A and rehabilitation of the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges.
----------

*****

Battery Park City as described by half of the Master Plan design team of Alexander Cooper and Stanton Eckstut:
----------
"[Battery Park City] was the vision of a whole new town, in town," says Eckstut, now principal of Ehrenkrantz, Eckstut & Kuhn Architects.
----------

Excerpted from:
As originally published in The Atlantic Monthly March 1988
A Good Place to Live (http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/96sep/kunstler/langdon.htm)

by Philip Langdon

Today's designers of residential areas are
increasingly influenced by the grid plans, narrow
streets, intimate scale, and convenient shopping of
nineteenth-century American towns

Public Pleasure Versus Private Refuge

----------
SOME of the most interesting work in community design is taking place not in the nation's suburbs but in its cities. There are two strongly differing viewpoints on how to design large urban housing developments today. One focuses on celebrating the public environment. The other tries to pull away from it, to a private, secure domain. Each of these attitudes is wielding considerable influence over the character of urban areas. On the one hand, some of the country's most respected designers are attempting to inject dignity, order, and human activity into cities by organizing new buildings around public streets and public parks, squares, and waterfront esplanades. On the other hand, much of the development that goes on around the country is predicated on the more reclusive attitude of wishing to retreat to private sanctuaries.


The emphasis on establishing an orderly, formal public environment is in part a strong reaction against the modern planning patterns of the 1950s and 1960s, which increasingly fragmented American cities with arbitrarily placed plazas and towers that pulled away from one another and from the street. It became obvious that more constancy and order were needed. A prime example of the change in thinking is the residential portion of Battery Park City, a ninety-two-acre office and residential development along the Hudson River next to New York City's financial district.


The Battery Park City Authority adopted its original development plan in 1969, but only one group of residential structures was built in accordance with these guidelines--a 1,712-unit apartment complex called Gateway Plaza. This cluster of concrete apartment towers, with lower buildings on its perimeter, stands aloof from the traffic of South End Avenue, one of the larger new streets built on the landfill site. To reach the towers' lobbies, you have to pass through Gateway Park, an irregularly shaped park area that has curving walkways and evergreens growing on little mounds--a bit of pastoralism in the city. The greenery is not meant for everyone: a sign announces FOR RESIDENTS' USE ONLY. The Authority envisioned many clusters of residential towers like this, but retreating from the street produced poor results. What faces the sidewalk and street on South End Avenue is a dull row of ground-floor stores with two stories of drab-looking parking ramp above. Something different was needed.


In 1979 the Battery Park City Authority adopted a revised master plan, developed by the design partnership of Alexander Cooper and Stanton Eckstut, who have since established separate New York firms. The new plan puts landscaped areas largely in the public realm and invests them with formality. A side street named Rector Place has in its center a public park something like the lovely old Gramercy Park, without the locked gates. Semicircular where it meets South End Avenue, the park is dignified and orderly, with small shrubs above a granite base, three-foot-high hedges, beds of raspberry-and-ivory-colored tulips, and a flowering crab-apple tree in the center.


On the next street to the north a fascinating sculpture, Ned Smyth's Upper Room, which has columns around its perimeter and a table at one edge suggestive of the Last Supper, holds people's attention. The sculpture connects Albany Street to a magnificent esplanade that the Authority has constructed along the Hudson. Sitting on benches from the 1939 World's Fair, people look off toward the Statue of Liberty and a not entirely dull vista of Jersey City.


The new buildings at Battery Park City seem in accord with their setting--a consequence of the design code, which requires architects to form the apartment buildings' exteriors into a consistent "street wall" with stone on the bottom two stories, orange brick on the walls above, prominent cornice lines, and non-rectangular peaks. The elements that have made traditional New York apartment-building exteriors gracious and neighborly--part of an ensemble that confers elegance on boulevards and parks--have been turned into a set of guidelines, within which the designers and developers are still free to exercise a moderate amount of imagination.


"Making public places is what New York is really about," Eckstut says. "How many projects do you know that are as successful as Park Avenue or Riverside Drive?" The positioning of harmonious buildings against open space--at Battery Park City, as on Park Avenue--creates the grandeur associated with cities at their best. The public spaces at Battery Park City are more than attractive decoration; they invite use. When I visited, people were sitting on the green benches along Rector Park's herringbone brick walks, turning Upper Room into a noon-hour lunchroom, and walking, jogging, and relaxing along the esplanade.
----------

BPC is unique in that it has a Governmentally entwined Authority which can lead to such outcomes as The case of Battery Park City

How New York politicians scuttled plans for low-cost housing

By Fred Mazelis
18 January 2001 (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/jan2001/nyc-j18.shtml)

*****

-Ironic that the Socialists don't see this governmental control of land and use allied with their long term goals. *

-Ironic also that this property is now subsidized to be affordable.

Jasonik
August 9th, 2003, 12:00 AM
Tangentially related to construction on West St.-

From:http://www.panix.com/~danielc/nyc/

Less Highways Results in Less Driving
Cutting back roadway capacity reduces the number of people driving. This point was, once again, proven in New York City during 1973. The Henry Hudson Parkway between 72 St and 79 St was closed for repairs. During that reconstruction, though unrelated to it, a portion of the West Side Highway collapsed, causing that road to be closed below 42 St.

These two highways form a continuous link along Manhattan's west side. Only the 72 St to 42 St portion of these highways remained open. This segment lost 59,000 trips, 53% of its traffic load. Less than 4,000 of these trips reappeared on other roads crossing 60 St.

http://www.panix.com/~danielc/graphics/wshgraph.gif

It may eliminate the need for a high volume artery by the very act of it's construction. *Very pedestrian friendly. *;)

NYguy
August 21st, 2003, 07:49 AM
PATAKI HAS 'TUNNEL' VISION FOR NEW TRADE CENTER

By WILLIAM NEUMAN

August 21, 2003 -- Gov. Pataki yesterday came out in favor of running West Street through a tunnel next to the World Trade Center - a plan that has drawn opposition from many downtown residents.

"The master plan calls for the suppression of West Street near Ground Zero. I think that's appropriate. I think it's important," Pataki said at a groundbreaking for a new foot bridge over the street.

The Ground Zero plan by architect Daniel Libeskind shows several lanes of West Street running underground by the site, but officials have said they were still considering at least two options for the street.

However, recent drawings produced by the Port Authority clearly show a "depressed West Street" and officials said the scheme works well with plans for underground truck ramps.

Pataki said the design must pass an environmental review, but his acknowledgement was the first public indication that a decision has been made on the street.

The state Department of Transportation had said it was considering two options. One, costing $175 million, leaves West Street at ground level. The other places several lanes in a four-block tunnel, with an $860 million price tag.

"This is a complete waste of money," said Bill Love, of the Coalition to Save West Street.

Freedom Tower
August 21st, 2003, 09:29 PM
It is a waste of money, but it'll be nice.

JerzDevl2000
August 21st, 2003, 09:57 PM
If Pataki cares, he'll be in favor of a street and send NYC the $ for the long-needed Second Ave. Subway. Many more people and civic groups are in favor of it's construction!

ZippyTheChimp
August 22nd, 2003, 09:39 AM
http://www.downtownexpress.com/DE-17/silveraskslmdc.html

Silver asks L.M.D.C. to look at impacts, at-grade West St.

By Albert Amateau

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has called on the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. to take a deeper look into the environmental impacts of the World Trade Center Memorial and Redevelopment Plan.

In an Aug.7 letter responding to the L.M.D.C. call for public comment on the draft generic environmental impact statement for the proposed trade center redevelopment, Silver said that important aspects of the project were either not mentioned or need to be expanded.

“The At-Grade-Alternative for the Route 9A reconstruction must also be added to the lists of projects to be studied,” said Silver, who estimated that an at-grade 9A reconstruction would cost about $700 million less than the tunnel bypass between Vesey and Liberty Sts., which is favored by Governor Pataki.

In an Aug. 4 letter to the state transportation department, Silver recalled that the department was exploring the possibility of building pedestrian bridges over Rte. 9A. The speaker said he believed bridges over the highway were a better choice than a tunnel. “I strongly urge N.Y.S.D.O.T. to include pedestrian bridges in the final plan, especially one in the Morris St. vicinity. This will add a minor amount to the cost but provide major access opportunities to residents, workers and visitors on both sides of the highway,” Silver said

Community Board 1 on July 29 expressed strong doubts about whether the tunnel project was worth doing in the light of other Downtown transportation needs. The community board, which previously supported the tunnel reconstruction, passed by a vote of 25-10 the resolution expressing “serious reservations about the cost-effectiveness of the West St. bypass.”

Nevertheless, Tim Carey, president and C.E.O. of The Battery Park City Authority, and a close associate of the governor, told Downtown Express at the beginning of August, “There’s not an at-grade option. The governor said he wants a tunnel.”

City Councilmember Alan Gerson was strongly critical of the remark. He noted that much of the Battery Park City community has been opposed to the tunnel and that the state transportation department proposed two alternatives. “The governor’s position would suggest that there is no option at all,” Gerson said.

However, in his comments to L.M.D.C., Silver said, “Since the New York State Department of Transportation is considering both of these options … it is essential that the analysis of this [at-grade] alternative be included [in the W.T.C. environmental study] as well.”

The Assembly speaker, whose district includes most of Lower Manhattan, also urged the L.M.D.C. to include a study of the impact of winds on the neighborhood in the scope of the redevelopment project.

“The height and placement of the buildings, the design of the Memorial and the placement of through streets on the W.T.C. site are all certain to create wind patterns which will be detrimental to people and elements on the ground level,” said Silver.

The speaker also said that the full-length Second Avenue subway project, not mentioned in the draft environmental impact secondary study area, must also be included in the final E.I.S. The secondary study area encompasses all of Lower Manhattan south of Canal St. and west of Pike St. from the Hudson River to the East River.

“This new subway project is currently in the M.T.A. Capital Plan… and is expected to begin construction by the end of 2004,” Silver said. “The completion of this project will affect development trends in a major way by resolving the extreme congestion on the Lexington Ave. subway lines and stations,” he added.

Silver said the L.M.D.C. should pay special attention to the noise and air pollution at construction sites and staging areas, which could severely impact nearby residential and business neighborhoods. “All mitigation measures must be monitored and if not successful, new methods must be developed and instituted,” Silver said. He said the L.M.D.C. should make public the type of air monitoring and the list of substances being monitored during construction.

Citing a recent residential housing survey by Community Board 1, Silver said that more than 13,000 new residential units, increasing the population of the district to 60,000, are expected in the next two years. “By 2015, the year the [W.T.C. redevelopment] is expected to be completed, the assumption is that the population of the C.B. 1 area will reach even greater heights,” said Silver, who urged the L.M.D.C. to consider the project’s impact on a greatly increased residential population.

Michele McManus, an L.M.D.C. spokesperson, said that all comments would be reviewed as part of the environmental review process for the World Trade Center Memorial and Redevelopment Plan. “L.M.D.C. will issue a generic environmental impact statement in the late fall, which will also be subject to a public comment period,” she said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ---------------------------


“I strongly urge N.Y.S.D.O.T. to include pedestrian bridges in the final plan, especially one in the Morris St. vicinity.
Morris St area is the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel ramps - a big pedestrian blocker. This is where a tunnel is needed - a direct connection to the FDR underpass.

Harmonicaman
August 22nd, 2003, 11:56 AM
Wouldn't placing some of West St. down in a tunnel create a much quieter Memorial Site?

I believe that is a big plus for the concept. * Heavy traffic going right by the Memorial would detract from its solemn ambience.

billyblancoNYC
August 22nd, 2003, 01:19 PM
Reduce traffic, make it easier for pedestrian traffic in the area and to/from BPC, plus it would allow the plan to be fully realized - wider sidewalks, a "park-like" setting. *It costs more, but so do all major improvements and efforts. *I really hope the NIMBYs are stiffled.

Jasonik
August 22nd, 2003, 01:43 PM
Since the State is funding the tunnel it would apper to me the State can figure out which option is the most cost effective, w/out Board 1 input.

Community Board 1 on July 29 expressed strong doubts about whether the tunnel project was worth doing in the light of other Downtown transportation needs. The community board, which previously supported the tunnel reconstruction, passed by a vote of 25-10 the resolution expressing “serious reservations about the cost-effectiveness of the West St. bypass.”

In the long run maintaining a road or tunnel is much cheaper and simpler for the NYSDOT than cleaning, patrolling, *and maintaining a handful of pedestrian bridges. *I would doubt providing pedestrian bridges falls within the scope of their responsibility as fundamentally as providing free flowing automotive arteries. *

Remember, ever since Battery Park City was concieved, West Street- Westway- Route 9A was planned as a sunken thoroughfare.

BrooklynRider
August 25th, 2003, 09:25 AM
I support the burying of West Street, but not at the cost of sacrificing the 2nd Avenue Subway or building a true one stop link to JFK or LaGuardia. *New York City residents, for the most part, don't drive around the city - the proposed sunken West street is no gift to us. *

NYatKNIGHT
August 25th, 2003, 10:47 AM
True, if you look at it from a transportation perspective. But it could be seen as a gift towards the quality of the what will be the most visited site in the city.

I want to know how valid the claim is that other projects will not be built due to the construction of the West St. tunnel. It seems that only opponents of the tunnel have made the case that other projects won't be built. The cost of the tunnel is far less than the other projects mentioned, I don't see how it would derail those other very important projects. 2nd Avenue Subway is in design stage, and Airport Rail links are being studied. As of yet, nothing is held back. Plus, aren't the funds coming from different sources?

BrooklynRider
August 25th, 2003, 11:00 AM
I, myself, havenothing to confirm that anything else wouldn't be built other than the Federal and State Government's track record of funding mutiple high cost projects. *

Jasonik
August 25th, 2003, 11:13 AM
New York City residents, for the most part, don't drive around the city - the proposed sunken West street is no gift to us.

I think the conventional view is that a depressed roadway will enhance the pedestrian friendliness between Battery Park City and the rest of Lower Manhattan.

One doesn't nave to drive on it to benefit.

TLOZ Link5
August 25th, 2003, 07:35 PM
It's definitely an aesthetic gesture. *Express traffic would be rerouted in favor of a landscaped boulevard, in the spirit of City Beautiful. *I mean, could you imagine today that Park Avenue never existed, and that the MetroNorth tracks were open to the air all the way to Grand Central? *The Upper East Side probably never would have developed to its full potential, let alone the properties adjacent to a sooty, gritty, dangerous railroad.

This plan will catalyze many beneficial changes to the neighborhood, particularly raising land values and making it a more desirable place to live. *It may seem excessive to some people now, but sometime a century from now, everyone will look at West Street and think that the city was extremely forward-thinking.

(Edited by TLOZ Link5 at 6:22 pm on Aug. 31, 2003)

misterknickerbocker
September 16th, 2003, 02:48 AM
I just posted on another similar thread before I discovered this one. (Sorry, but I discovered this forum through a link to the first thread.)

Just a few additional things:

1) The article that was posted at the beginning of this thread, "Downtown favors West St. tunnel," was challenged by a professional pollster in one of the following issues of the Downtown Express. (It wasn't the next issue, but the one after that.) As a professional pollster she felt that this was not a justifiable reading of the poll at all -- that in fact the tunnel came in as the second lowest preference (just beat out by a downtown "NYC Opera House" for least preferred). In the same article, the pollster who conducted the poll also felt that it had been misrepresented. (Although, the two pollsters agreed about the misrepresentation, they did sllightly disagree about something else -- I forget exactly what.)

I would go further however, I think the very poll itself was methodologicallly flawed -- giving people too narrow a range of options to choose from (e.g., you didn't have the opportunity to say you were violently opposed to something, only that you preferred something more than something else).

2) CB1, at it's last pre-summer break meeting, voted to express many of the same reservations as the posters on this board have about the cost effectiveness of the tunnel.

3) Although many people view opposition to a tunnel as a NIMBY thing (which is ironic since its supporters originally claimed it was being done at the behest of local residents!), I don't live in the neighborhood. I'm against the tunnel in part because I think the tunnel is at heart an anti-urban throw back to a 1950s style urban "renewal" philosophy -- real city streets are bad (and, at heart, unredeemable) and are better if replaced by traffic tunnels that are covered with suburban parks. Or, in other words, the only good city street is a "dead" city street -- a highway with trees and grass next to (and over) it.

I think a West St. tunnel (and the highway-like conditions it will foster up and down the rest of West St.) actually cuts off Battery Park City from the neighborhoods on the other side the street worse than the current post-9/11 -- and admittedly bad -- arrangement does.

I'm more for the Jane Jacobs approach to CITY streets: that automobile traffic should be forced to "make do" with regular CITY streets where, for instance, people are allowed to cross at each and every intersection (traffic will "learn" to adjust) -- and not that city streets should be reconfigured (with fewer pedestrian crossings, long traffic signals and turning lanes, etc.) to accomodate more highway-type traffic and then covered over with ill-conceived, anti-urban, suburban-style "park" land.

So from my (admittedly minority) perspective -- this highway / "park" would be a bad deal (anti-neighborhood, anti-New York) even if it were free.

4) While it's true that people don't normally choose to cross in the middle of the block, tunnel ramps are nevertheless impediments to crossing the street. For example, look at the ramps for the Park Ave. tunnel. The southern ramp (33rd St.?) is barricaded to prevent pedestrians from crossing and the northern ramp (41st?) has a sign saying something along the lines of "Be careful, a pedestrian was killed here."

So, even if the tunnel were to make it easier to cross Vesey and Liberty streets (which is debatable when compared to combination of pedestrian bridges and traffic calming, for example), it would certainly make it more difficult to cross in front of the tunnel ramp entrances at Barclay(?) and Cedar(?).

Plus there is all that anti-urban fencing and highway signage -- and those "chimes" that warn a truck that it is too tall to fit into a tunnel.

5) And with all the terror alerts that we have these days (and tunnels are prone to closings during terror alerts), the tunnel could very well become a frequent traffic impediment too.

NYatKNIGHT
September 17th, 2003, 01:12 PM
This isn't a 50s throw back at all. There will still be a street with sidewalks and traffic - local traffic, slower traffic, less traffic, and streetlife above. All the cars using the highway only as a means to pass through the neighborhood and/or access the tunnel will be diverted. So it takes the highway out of the neighborhood and leaves the local streetlife, the opposite of what Moses did to the Bronx and would have done to Soho.

You say you think the tunnel would cut off the neighborhood and not be any improvement, but I agree with the professionals. It will be vastly better for the neighborhood. Do it right, now is the only chance. I don't understand why anyone not from the neighborhood would have a problem with this tunnel (other than the cost, though you stated you would be against it if it was free) unless you are a replicationist and hate everything that doesn't rebuild exactly what was there before.

misterknickerbocker
September 28th, 2003, 09:35 PM
Except for the architecture styles of the structures (which are more dynamic and less minimalistic than most 1950s urban renewal complexes), the plans for this area (the rejected ones, as well as Liebskind's) are really classic 1950s urban renewal type plans.

The planner's think that because they've put two (poorly thought out) "streets" through the site they've escaped the 1950's urban renewal mentality. As though that was the whole thing that was wrong with 1950s urban renewal schemes.

First of all, the so-called "streets" (Liebskind's especially) proposed for the site are not truly functional streets to begin with, but are just like the streets through a 1950s urban renewal complex -- artifical, overly-planned, anti-urban, surburbanized, and de-vitalized. Liebskind's original site plan (which is continually being modified) is essentially a cross between Lincoln Center (with the buildings sporting trendier shapes) and the west side of Sixth Avenue (with angular buildings and an irregular street wall).

In the plans for the site, we see the same heavy-handed "paint-by-numbers" approach to mixed uses found in 1950s urban renewal projects (some office buildings here, some apartments there, some planned shopping strips along this edge and some space for community institutions, etc. sprinkled throughtout). That's just like the WTC redevelopment -- some big-time cultural institutions surrounded by open space, here; a religious structure surrounded by open space, there; a tower-in-the-park "signature" office structure, placed just so over there; some imported "big name" retailer brought in to anchor the development (latest talk is of trying to lure Nordstrum's); and so on.

And finally, in true 1950s urban renewal fashion, rather than making the automobile adapt inself to the city, the proposed plans have the city adapting itself to the automobile -- by putting a street in a tunnel and building an ill-conceived "park" [two 12-foot strips of grass] on top. So rather than creating a real city street (with, say, cross walks at every intersection) that is manageable for pedestrians the whole length of West St. (and which would help give life to blocks on both sides of it), they want to create a tunnel that would make West St. into more of an anti-urban super highway than it has already become.

ZippyTheChimp
September 28th, 2003, 09:50 PM
Your street-grid argument (valid or not) would be the same with or without the tunnel.

ablarc
September 28th, 2003, 10:19 PM
misterknickerbocker, your last post is thought-provoking.

You point out the danger (all too-prevalent on this Forum) of being seduced by trendy buildings into overlooking that the underlying planning principles are old hat and often discredited.

Paint-by-numbers? Hasn't that always been the very nature of master planning? Master planners allocate functions and building massing according to some supposedly artistic concept.

Come to think of it, there was not very much master-planning in Manhattan until Columbia University and Rockefeller Center, both Rockefeller-inspired products. Then this family of enlightened plutocrats and art lovers planned for us the UN Complex, Lincoln Center and the Albany Mall. Did they also have a hand in the first World Trade Center?

You open the door to this question: Do we really need a Master Plan?

Most of Manhattan got built without one, and most of Manhattan turned out pretty well. Maybe all we really need to do is lay out streets and subdivide blocks into lots, which can then be developed incrementally by developers to meet the needs that are identified. Certainly this will yield the scale that we are accustomed to in most parts of Manhattan.

What you will never get from this process, however, is monumental urban form. And monumental urban form is what everyone is screaming for in Lower Manhattan.

Maybe, misterknickerbocker, you just like your cities to grow naturally, without the intrusion of the artistes and the master planners. That is how we got Times Square. No shortage of vitality there.

So it comes down to this: do you want your city slightly sterile but monumental, or do you want it slightly messy and vital?

Don't know what to think.

BPC
October 5th, 2003, 12:31 AM
Your street-grid argument (valid or not) would be the same with or without the tunnel.

Zippy, I think what Knickerbocker is saying is that the tunnel is only one of several bad features of the LMDC / Liebskind site plan.

ZippyTheChimp
October 5th, 2003, 08:19 AM
No, you don't understand that the site plan is independent of the tunnel.
Mrknickerbocker just ran out of tunnel arguments.

JMGarcia
October 5th, 2003, 09:35 AM
The Libeskind site plan is basically buildings on blocks like the rest of NY. The towers my be angular but the bases create the usual NY street wall. Evene the Wedge of Light creates a uniform street wall, it is just set back at an angle. It cannot be compare to the west side of 6th Ave.

BPC
October 5th, 2003, 10:02 PM
No, you don't understand that the site plan is independent of the tunnel.

Then why has a West Stret tunnel been shown in every depiction of the LMDC site plan in the last six months?

ZippyTheChimp
October 5th, 2003, 10:41 PM
My statement had nothing to do with LMDC intentions. The argument concerning the tunnel is independent of the site plan. If you want to discuss the inadequacy of the site plan, use the search function to find the proper thread.

NYatKNIGHT
October 6th, 2003, 12:40 PM
Which is why I didn't respond to misterknickerbocker. I disagree with the one thing he did say about the tunnel which was that the street was going in it and an ill-conceived park is going on top of it, and that West Street would become more of an an anit-urban superhighway than it is now. But what will really happen is the anti-urban highway that exists will go underground and the once pedestrian friendly, active, and more beautiful neighborhood street would return to the surface.

NYatKNIGHT
October 6th, 2003, 01:12 PM
...for us area residents who will have to cross in front of tunnel ramps just to get to and from our homes

Isn't this a little melodramatic? The preliminary plans show many wide pedestrain crossings, on a new landscaped boulevard with the majority of the traffic being diverted away. I would think residents would be thanking the planners for changing what once was an uncrossable highway to a pedestrian friendly grand boulevard.

Calling the buried highway more dangerous or the cause of new traffic congestion are unproven arguments made to divert attention away from the real NIMBY issue here, which brings me to reason #3 to add to JMGarcia's list:

3. They don't want to make it easier for anyone to enter the neighborhood - they prefer the isolation.

JMGarcia
October 6th, 2003, 01:29 PM
Vinoly also commented that BPC residents (at least the organized groups) like to think of themselves as a gated community.

ZippyTheChimp
October 6th, 2003, 01:30 PM
The irony is that a full tunnel, right into the BBT and FDR underpass should have been more actively considered after Westway was defeated.
However, since Westway itself was a tunnel, the understandable reaction to the word tunnel was extemely negative. While RT9A works reasonaby well further north where it does not cut through residential neighborhoods, that is not the case south of Chambers. At the BBT, you have an Interstate spilling out onto a street.

Attempts at traffic calming or traffic reduction ignores the fact that there will be plenty more traffic when the WTc is complete. Let's not forget those tour buses.

BPC
October 8th, 2003, 01:57 AM
Isn't this a little melodramatic? The preliminary plans show many wide pedestrain crossings, on a new landscaped boulevard with the majority of the traffic being diverted away. I would think residents would be thanking the planners for changing what once was an uncrossable highway to a pedestrian friendly grand boulevard.

What on earth are you talking about? The traffic will only be "diverted" for 4 meager blocks, and even for those 4 blocks, the plans still show 4 lanes (plus a bus dropoff lane) on top of the tunnel, not a park. Moreover, those 4 buried blocks will border exactly zero apartments, just the WFC office complex. The blocks that front the actual residential neighborhoods, both in North and South BPC, will have 0% of car traffic diverted, and on top of that the residents of those neighborhoods will have to cross in front of tunnel ramps, which are PROVEN TO BE DEADLY TO PEDESTRIANS. No one disputes this fact.

It's time to explain your financial interest in this scheme, which will burn one billion dollars in precious 9/11 funds and get pedestrians killed in the process. How exactly do you stand to profit? Honesty is the best policy here.

ZippyTheChimp
October 8th, 2003, 05:47 AM
Since you either missed it or ignored it, I'll repeat some advise from another member here:


BPC, you're relatively new to the board. I hope you will reconsider your tone. I feel there is a built in adversarial tone to your posts and I a growing tendency to hide in the use of the word "us" when defending your position. I would hope you'll clarify who the "us" is you are talking about. If you are an elected leader of a group, please disclose it. If you are a member of a group, disclose it. I you're a spokesperson for a group, disclose it. Posts on this boards are made by individuals not groups. I would hope you would rephrase in the future to be more precise that your opinions are YOUR opinions. I am certain that EVERYONE living in your area does not support your opinion. I am guessing there are some for, against and others with no opinion at all. I enjoy a good rousing discourse. But these boards, in my experience, are about expression individual opinions
Both these threads were started with newspaper articles. The "agenda" of this forum and it's members is evident. Yours however is in doubt. One person opens a dormant thread, posts only in that thread, and a few days later another person shows up, and attempts to explain the position of the first person.

If you represent the Save the No-Longer-Elevated-Miller-Highway Coalition, that's fine - but you're not going to accomplish anything here. There are arguments in favor and against the tunnel, but most of us here don't give a rat's ass which course is taken.

You have accused the people who disagree with you of lying or hiding a financial interest. That reinforces my depiction of you as narrow-minded.
You should be taking this argument to politicians. All you are going to accomplish here is make enemies.

Moderator: It may be best to just lock this topic. If anything new develops,we can just start a new thread.

NYatKNIGHT
October 8th, 2003, 10:43 AM
Right.

Kris
November 20th, 2003, 06:46 AM
November 20, 2003

THE TUNNEL

For a Construction Project Underneath West Street, a Long Line of Opposition Forms

By MICHAEL LUO

Grass-roots campaigns are usually won when people speak loudly and often — emphasis on often — and that is what opponents to the West Street tunnel did yesterday.

More than a dozen people lined up at the microphone during a public information meeting to denounce the proposal, supported by Gov. George E. Pataki, to spend $860 million to bury a half-mile section of the road alongside the planned World Trade Center memorial site.

Most of the comments were familiar: the tunnel plan was too expensive; construction would disrupt traffic for too long; the money would be better spent elsewhere; the tunnel ramps would be dangerous to pedestrians.

People in the line said their goal yesterday was to underscore their opposition.

In his statement, William Love, vice chairman of the Coalition to Save West Street, a group of more than 350 residents, transportation advocates and environmentalists, said the plans "should discourage additional through traffic on West Street and also encourage most downtown visitors to utilize public transportation, especially given the world-class transit center that will be built."

The tunnel proposal has been generating controversy since it was suggested last year, although many residents agreed at redevelopment meetings that something needed to be done about West Street's isolation of Battery Park City from the rest of Manhattan.

A more ambitious and expensive proposal, to run a tunnel from Chambers Street to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, was scrapped. Instead, in June, state officials released two alternatives, a "no-build alternative" which would actually involve expanding the current six-lane temporary road that was opened in March 2002 to eight lanes, and the tunnel option, called the "short bypass alternative." Yesterday, a third option was added, a true "no-build" plan which would leave the existing six-lane highway.

The tunnel plan would restore the eight lanes of traffic that existed before the Sept. 11 terror attack, but four lanes of through traffic would go underground, starting at Murray Street to the north and ending somewhere between Liberty and Albany Streets to the south. Four lanes of local traffic would run above ground.

The proposal to expand the highway without a tunnel would take one year to design, 18 months to build and cost $175 million. In contrast, the tunnel would take two years to design and two-and-a-half to three years to build. But Mr. Pataki has expressed his support for it because it would shield the memorial site from traffic noise.

Tunnel opponents had also criticized state officials for giving no notice by mail about the last meeting. This time, officials sent out brochures and used microphones to give the information session the feel of a public hearing.

"If it's not perceived to be an open and honest process," said Richard J. Schmalz, the project director, "then people aren't going to buy it."

Still, some opponents questioned whether they could have any effect on the decision, given the governor's preference.

"A big question I have is who is making this decision," said Helene Seeman, a Battery Park City resident.

At least one resident, Hilary Kitasei, did speak in favor of the tunnel, arguing that the long-term benefit of beautifying the roadway far exceeds the temporary inconvenience.

"Spend the money," she said before her three minutes at the microphone. "It's only money."


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

JMGarcia
November 20th, 2003, 09:25 AM
At least one resident, Hilary Kitasei, did speak in favor of the tunnel, arguing that the long-term benefit of beautifying the roadway far exceeds the temporary inconvenience.

Good for Hilary!!! :D

Jasonik
November 20th, 2003, 02:28 PM
...the tunnel would take two years to design and two-and-a-half to three years to build. But Mr. Pataki has expressed his support for it because it would shield the memorial site from traffic noise.

It looks like these whiners are going to get a tunnel. There may be influence coming from the inspirational David Rockefeller.

ZippyTheChimp
November 20th, 2003, 02:46 PM
Poor Hilary. The new neighborhood pariah.

BPC
November 22nd, 2003, 12:30 AM
Downtown Residents Blast Plan To Bury Part Of West Street


At a public hearing Wednesday, dozens of Downtown residents blasted plans to turn a portion of West Street into a tunnel.

The $860 million project would bury four lanes of traffic next to the World Trade Center site, leaving four more lanes at street level. Officials are also considering leaving West Street at ground level but expanding the number of lanes, and a third option is to just leave everything the way it is now.

Governor George Pataki has said he prefers building the tunnel, but critics say it's not worth the money.

"As has been pointed out by many speakers this afternoon, it's just a terrible waste of money,” said Bill Love of the Coalition to Save West Street. “We're talking about a total of something like a billion dollars on a four-block tunnel that nobody down here wants."

"If you're talking about decreasing traffic,” said Helene Seeman of Battery Park City United, “which is what we should be talking about, then you don't build a tunnel. We have to think out of the box and we need to be a model city. Let's decrease traffic in Lower Manhattan.”

Officials say a final decision won't be made until the middle of next year.

http://www.ny1.com/ny/WTC_Coverage/index.html?topicintid=8&subtopicintid=203&contenti ntid=34893

[link also has video of newscast]

BPC
November 22nd, 2003, 11:00 AM
Since you either missed it or ignored it, I'll repeat some advise from another member here:

[quote]BPC, you're relatively new to the board. I hope you will reconsider your tone. I feel there is a built in adversarial tone to your posts and I a growing tendency to hide in the use of the word "us" when defending your position. I would hope you'll clarify who the "us" is you are talking about. If you are an elected leader of a group, please disclose it. If you are a member of a group, disclose it. I you're a spokesperson for a group, disclose it. Posts on this boards are made by individuals not groups. I would hope you would rephrase in the future to be more precise that your opinions are YOUR opinions. I am certain that EVERYONE living in your area does not support your opinion. I am guessing there are some for, against and others with no opinion at all. I enjoy a good rousing discourse. But these boards, in my experience, are about expression individual opinions
quote]

Maybe you should follow your own advice, Zippy. After all, you were the one who called me a "a self-centered, narrow minded NIMBY," simply for expressing an opinion different from your own:

http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=1061&postdays=0&postorder=asc&star t=15&sid=c0261a8bf043aea1d021cbd420dd0582

As a moderator of another one of these forums, your co-moderators tend to give you extra leeway, but don't abuse it. If you have facts, by all means add them, but your name-calling is unnecessary, and does nothing to advance the discussion.

ZippyTheChimp
November 22nd, 2003, 11:16 AM
Welcome back. :roll:

The advice I cited was authored by another forumer, although I completely agree with it. I suspect that others are also in agreement. You came here with an unannounced agenda, while labelling this community as having one.

You may join the various discussions here, but if you continue this hostile behavior, you will eventually be removed.

Kris
November 22nd, 2003, 11:22 AM
Your opinion and attitude happen to be typical of a NIMBY, which isn't an abusive term. You don't like the label? You've earned it.

BPC
November 23rd, 2003, 04:50 PM
Your opinion and attitude happen to be typical of a NIMBY, which isn't an abusive term. You don't like the label? You've earned it.

Chris, as moderators, I would have hoped you and Zippy would have been above the name-calling. I guess I was wrong. But I suppose when you have no facts, that is all that remains.

ZippyTheChimp
November 25th, 2003, 07:24 PM
From Downtown Express
http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_31/dotlooks.html

D.O.T. looks to lengthen proposed West St. tunnel

By Josh Rogers

The State Dept. of Transportation last week announced it was studying new options intended to improve pedestrian crossings on the portion of West St. opposite the World Trade Center site.
The agency held two public hearings last Thursday and most of the speakers criticized the most expensive option — a four-lane vehicular tunnel under the existing highway, also called Route 9A. That option — originally proposed to be 1,100 feet from Vesey to Liberty Sts. and expected to cost about $860 million — is likely to go up in price now that D.O.T. is considering extending the proposed tunnel by 200-400 feet to go south of Albany St. The agency is also studying the idea of not building the tunnel and keeping the six-lane roadway in addition to previously announced plans to consider a no-tunnel, eight-lane roadway.
Richard Schmalz, D.O.T.’s project director on the Route 9A project, said he hoped to have detailed cost estimates on all of the options in the spring as the environmental studies proceed and that there was no preliminary estimate on the longer tunnel. The eight-lane option would cost about $175 million since the temporary roadway would have to be rebuilt. Schmalz said the D.O.T. decided to look at extending the tunnel at the request of the Battery Park City Authority.
Tim Carey, the authority’s president and C.E.O., said that it would be safer for pedestrians at Albany St. to put the tunnel exit and entrance ramps south of the street.
“It’s such a busy intersection with everything meeting at the same place,” said Carey.
John Dellaportas, president of the Save West St. Coalition, which has organized the opposition to the tunnel, said it is possible crossing West St. at Albany would be safer under the new option, but the change “substitutes a whole new set of problems.”
The exit ramp would be closer to the entrance to Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and would cause traffic problems and confusion, Dellaportas said.
Carey, who favors the West St. tunnel, said if it were built south of Albany St., southbound tunnel vehicles would have the option of entering the Battery Tunnel or going to the local West St. lanes, and Brooklyn-bound drivers in the local lanes would have to stay on West St. a few more blocks, make a U-turn and enter the Battery Tunnel while driving north.
Dellaportas said in addition to safety problems at the southern and northern ramps, the tunnel is too expensive and would cause construction disruptions for Battery Park City residents. He favors the six-lane option with the same traffic-calming measures proposed for the eight-lane option.
Madelyn Wils, chairperson of Community Board 1, who has been skeptical of whether the tunnel’s benefits justify the costs, said over the weekend that the proposed World Trade Center memorial designs may make the at-grade options less appealing.
The memorial would be adjacent to the highway and although some of the designs bring the W.T.C. site up to street level, they still leave the slurry wall exposed so that memorial visitors could look down at the protective wall, nicknamed the bathtub. Wils said that pre-9/11, West St. ran over the bathtub and that leaving a gap to see the wall takes up the equivalent of two lanes of traffic and makes it harder to find room for all of the surface traffic. She said covering up the bathtub was one possible solution. “The slit can be closed,” Wils said.
Schmalz said if a street-level memorial were chosen, D.O.T. would still have time to study a previously-dropped option, a pedestrian deck.
“If the scheme changes…if it brings it back up to the street, then we’ll take another look at it,” Schmalz said of the deck.
Dellaportas said the deck option has appeal particularly if officials don’t proceed with plans to extend Greenwich St. through the W.T.C. site. Greenwich St. has a lower elevation than Church and West Sts., so that a deck running from Church could lead to a smooth walkway to the second-floor lobbies of the World Financial Center on the other side of West St. Brookfield Properties Corp., which owns the W.F.C., has opposed the deck option because if it ran from Greenwich St., it would either lead to its basement or become an uphill climb to its lobby. The advantages of the deck are that it would be much cheaper than a tunnel and allow for more open space near the W.T.C. since there would be no surface traffic.
There are common elements to the three options currently being considered – a six or eight-lane roadway or a four-lane tunnel with four lanes of surface traffic. D.O.T. would keep the Liberty St. pedestrian bridge, possibly build one at Murray St. and remove the temporary ones at Vesey and Rector Sts. Each option has a truck and bus entrance ramp in the middle of West St. that would lead to an underground service entrance and bus garage at an as-yet undetermined site.
Since Dellaportas’ group came out against the tunnel last year, the number of people skeptical of the tunnel for cost reasons has grown. Carl Weisbrod, president of the Downtown Alliance, has not moved into the skeptical camp, but his enthusiasm for the tunnel has diminished. The Alliance did not submit testimony at last week’s hearing. Weisbrod said he still thinks the tunnel is the safest option, but he is waiting to see the more detailed cost estimates before he supports it.
“We won’t know until we see the studies,” he said. “I go in with the idea that the bypass is the best option.”

Josh@DowntownExpress.com

Kris
April 17th, 2004, 06:03 AM
April 17, 2004

Schumer Opposes Plan to Build a Tunnel in Lower Manhattan

By DAVID W. DUNLAP

The loudest shot to date against the idea of building a short tunnel through Lower Manhattan was fired yesterday by Senator Charles E. Schumer, who said that he opposed the plan if it would divert money from other transportation projects.

Mr. Schumer took issue with a plan to turn several blocks of West Street-Route 9A into a covered roadway between the World Trade Center site and Battery Park City. That plan is backed by Gov. George E. Pataki, but nearby residents have opposed it because of the potential disruptions. It is undergoing environmental review, with two others.

The Democratic senator questioned the favored plan of the Republican governor on economic grounds, saying in a speech to the Regional Plan Association that it might divert $900 million from regionally oriented projects like a rail link between downtown and Kennedy Airport.

"If we use that $900 million to sink West Street," Mr. Schumer told listeners at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, "it's very unlikely we'll also have enough money to build a full transportation link. It's a choice. If someone can tell me it's not a choice, let's do both."

He added, "But I have to believe that we can create an appropriate setting for a 9/11 memorial and re-knit Battery Park City and the World Financial Center for less than $225 million per block."

Mr. Schumer identified the westward extension of the No. 7 subway line as the project most in need of championing, and said he would reserve judgment on the New York Sports and Convention Center proposed for the Jets on the West Side.

The senator startled some in the audience by saying that state officials had earmarked the remainder of a federal Community Development Block Grant for the downtown-Kennedy rail link. State officials maintain that no final decisions have been reached on how to spend the money, though the rail link would almost certainly get some of it.

"We have $1.2 billion in unspent C.D.B.G. funds available to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and they've set that aside for the J.F.K. link," Mr. Schumer said.

In response, the governor's office and the corporation said that Mr. Pataki and his fellow Republican, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, had put a process in place to study four possible routes linking downtown to Kennedy Airport and points east along the Long Island Rail Road.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

BPC
April 17th, 2004, 04:04 PM
FROM NY DAILY NEWS:

Chuck: Cool to stadium, but don't punt No. 7

Sen. Chuck Schumer is jumping on the No. 7 subway extension bandwagon - but not to the controversial far West Side stadium.
Schumer endorsed lengthening the No. 7 line from Times Square to 11th Ave., calling it "the key to opening up the area to successful residential and commercial benefit."

"It is my No. 1 goal for the development of the far West Side and, to me, the most important part of the mayor's entire proposal," Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the Regional Plan Association.

"Yet, I fear, it is the part of the proposal least likely to get done - all the focus on the other stuff, and we've forgotten the No. 7 line."

But the senator would not take a position on the proposal by Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Pataki to build a $1.4 billion stadium for the Jets.

"If the No. 7 is going to happen, then I'll devote my attention and look at the stadium," Schumer said.

Schumer also spoke against Gov. Pataki's plan to spend $900 million in federal funds to bury four blocks of West St. in lower Manhattan. He said the money would be better spent linking downtown to Kennedy Airport.

A Pataki aide said the governor has made no decision about how to fund the project.


Michael Saul

Edward
June 2nd, 2004, 12:22 PM
Initially posted by BPC...

http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/22150.htm
WATCHDOG: TUNNEL PLAN AN $860M WEST ST. WASTE
By CLEMENTE LISI
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 2, 2004 -- The $860 million plan to build a tunnel under a four-block stretch of West Street has been deemed one of the most wasteful highway projects in the country, a new report says.
Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog that tracks government spending, said the tunnel plan is one of 27 projects across the nation that "should be eliminated immediately" because they are too costly.

"At a time of ballooning deficits, it is shocking that lawmakers would attempt to shove more billion-dollar white elephants onto taxpayers," said Erich Zimmermann, research analyst for the watchdog group.

The Gov. Pataki-backed "Short Bypass Alternative" would restore the roadway back to eight lanes — four of which would run in a tunnel between Albany and Murray streets.

The other option, dubbed the "at-grade alternative," would also restore the roadway back to eight lanes, at a cost of just $175 million.

A part of West Street, also known as Route 9A, was destroyed on 9/11 and blocked off because of the subsequent recovery and cleanup efforts at the World Trade Center.

Kris
December 4th, 2004, 01:17 PM
December 2, 2004

BLOCKS

Long Tunnel, Short Tunnel, No Tunnel? State on Spot

By DAVID W. DUNLAP

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2004/12/02/nyregion/02blocks_lg.jpg
Artist's rendering of the Liberty Street portal that would lead into the proposed West Street tunnel at the south end of the underpass.

TO understand why the fate of the West Street-Route 9A tunnel in Lower Manhattan remains unsettled 20 months after Gov. George E. Pataki publicly embraced it, you should stand on Park Avenue at either 33rd Street or 40th Street.

What you will see are the mouths of the Park Avenue tunnel, which sluices two lanes of traffic to and from the viaduct around Grand Central Terminal. The ramps at both ends create ceaseless, impassable incisions in the streetscape. "A pedestrian was killed crossing here," says a traffic sign at the north end. "Be alert. Cross with care."

Standing at these intersections, it is not hard to figure out why Goldman, Sachs & Company would not want anything resembling such a portal - actually, a portal three times wider - outside the main entrance of the headquarters it is planning at West and Vesey Streets in Battery Park City. Goldman's unhappiness has prompted state officials to rethink the north end of the tunnel plan.

The basic idea is to depress West Street, which is also a leg of Route 9A, and create an underpass for through traffic, with two lanes and a shoulder in either direction. On the deck above the underpass would be a four-lane roadway for local traffic, divided by a landscaped median. This is meant to bridge the 260-foot-wide right of way that divides the World Financial Center at Battery Park City from the rest of downtown.

West Street will become "a distinguished stretch rather than a barren divide," Governor Pataki promised in April 2003. "Adjacent to the World Trade Center site, a new short tunnel from Vesey Street to Liberty Street will divert loud, fast-moving highway traffic underground to protect the dignity of the memorial, while also providing an elegant welcome at the front door of the World Financial Center."

Plenty of people, many of them residents of Battery Park City, disagreed with this assessment. Opponents envision years of disruption on top of what they have already endured. They say that the tunnel ramps would create almost as long an obstruction as the deck would cure. And they question the need to spend $860 million on such a project when there are so many other transportation needs.

THE portals are of particular concern because of the potential noise, fumes and mixing bowl of traffic. With a tunnel mouth at Vesey Street, northbound through traffic on its way to Battery Park City would have to drive through a residential neighborhood, since the first left-hand turnoff would be at Warren Street.

A draft environmental impact statement on the Route 9A reconstruction looked at three possibilities: a $175 million, eight-lane surface roadway; a tunnel from Liberty to Vesey Street; and a slightly longer tunnel with a southern portal at Cedar Street.

Now, in the wake of Goldman's objections and other responses to the draft impact statement, state transportation officials are studying the possibility of moving the north portal two blocks uptown, to Murray Street, or one block uptown, to Barclay Street, with a landscaped roof deck over the portal mouth.

Asked whether the alternatives now being explored would affect the environmental review, Tim Gilchrist, the director of policy and strategy at the New York State Transportation Department, said, "We are continuing to work within the framework of the current environmental impact statement."

Decisions must be made soon, since Goldman Sachs appears all but ready to begin construction of its building, which has been designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners to have an expansive presence along West Street, including the main entrance.

While open to finding "creative solutions" to the problems posed by the tunnel design, the governor remains committed to "ensuring that the sanctity of the memorial is preserved," said a spokeswoman, Lynn Rasic. In other words, he still favors a tunnel.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation also sees the tunnel - officially known as the short bypass - as a way of sparing the memorial from being next to an eight-lane surface highway, said its president, Kevin M. Rampe.

Would a tunnel with a Vesey Street portal be a deal breaker for Goldman? Would a Murray Street portal solve many of the company's problems? Besides saying that the governor "has been extremely responsive to our concerns," a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, Peter Rose, said he had no further comment.

At the northeast corner of West and Vesey Streets, Verizon has a switching center, 140 West Street, with several hundred conduits and cable and fiber optic lines that would have to be relocated for a tunnel, the impact statement said. A spokesman for Verizon, Daniel Diaz Zapata, would not say how the company feels about the tunnel but said it "will work with the construction command center to address all concerns."

At the southwest corner, American Express has its headquarters in 3 World Financial Center. The center is largely owned by Brookfield Properties. At the southeast corner, Silverstein Properties is planning to build the Freedom Tower. None of these companies would offer a comment on the tunnel or the portals.

It is a fairly reliable rule of thumb that when executives have nothing to say publicly about a project in which they have a large stake, big things may be happening behind the scenes. If that rule applies at West and Vesey Streets, something is up.

Perhaps as far up as Murray Street.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2004/12/02/nyregion/20041202_blocks.gif
The West Street tunnel is seen as a buffer for the memorial site.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

krulltime
December 29th, 2004, 12:43 PM
TUNNEL VISION ON WEST ST.


By STEVE CUOZZO

December 28, 2004 -- TEMPERATURES are rising Downtown over Gov. Pataki's proposal to build an $840 million West Street tunnel that would sink the six-lane highway under a landscaped median.

Local residents who didn't want a tunnel to begin with are livid over a new scheme to make it longer by extending it north to Murray Street, two blocks beyond its original planned entrance/exit portal at Vesey Street.

And the extension proposal has also become a hot potato for commercial and residential developers nearby who strongly favor or oppose it, but can't comment publicly out of political sensitivity.

Pataki wants the tunnel to protect the "sanctity" of the memorial planned for the World Trade Center site's southwest quadrant adjacent to West Street.

But tunnel portals, wherever they fall, will generate pedestrian-impassable incisions across West Street similar to the ones on First Avenue near the United Nations — precisely the sort of rupture to the urban fabric that Downtown planners have pledged to avoid.

As originally conceived, the West Street tunnel would run the length of Ground Zero's western edge from Liberty Street to Vesey Street.

But as the Times first reported on Dec. 2, Goldman Sachs, which plans to build a new headquarters in Battery Park City between Vesey and Murray streets, put up a stink over having 260-feet wide tunnel ramps on its doorstep.

The firm's objection led to the idea to extend the tunnel two blocks north, the Times reported.

In fact, sources told The Post, a tunnel mouth at Vesey Street would "be a dealbreaker" for Goldman Sachs, which wants convenient 24/7 auto access — which it now lacks at its Broad Street offices hemmed in by security barriers.

The Wall Street firm's campaign to move the tunnel entrance is said to enjoy the support of Brookfield Properties, which owns the World Financial Center next to Goldman's site. Brookfield and some of its tenants, such as Merrill Lynch, "really want to see Goldman's tower go up" to affirm the area's commercial future.

"They're afraid they could end up surrounded by apartment buildings," a source said.

But keeping Goldman Sachs happy would not be without consequences. A tunnel portal at Murray Street would cleave West Street at two now-barren sites where the city is promoting big-league residential projects. West Street, because it is part of Route 9A, falls under state control.

Both sites abut schools. They're also across from ballfields in Battery Park City, and some fear the tunnel portal will make the West Street crossing even more hazardous for youngsters trying to get from one side to the other.

After three years of haggling, the city's Economic Development Corp. is close to a deal to sell developer Edward Minskoff a lot on the east side of West Street between Murray and Warren. The project would include hundreds of new apartments and a retail base of up to 100,000 square feet.

Through an aide, Minskoff declined to comment. But it is reasonable to assume that after years of tough talks with the city — during which he agreed to drop his original plan for an office building — he can't be thrilled by the sudden idea to extend the tunnel to his front yard.

The tunnel depressions might also impact the block just north of Minskoff's, where Jack Resnick & Sons just paid the city $40.5 million for a lot bounded by West, Chambers and Warren streets.

Resnick's complex will include around 400 apartments — many of them in a 300-foot tall wing along West Street — as well as a kindergarten annex to P.S. 234 next door. Groundbreaking is scheduled in a few months.

Company president Scott Resnick could not be reached. A call to Brookfield CEO Ric Clark was not returned.

Goldman Sachs spokeperson Andrea Raphael declined comment.

State Transportation Dept. spokesman Peter Graves said, "We're continuing with the environmental review process that's looking at all the issues currently affecting the corridor. No decisions have been reached as yet."

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

BPC
January 29th, 2005, 01:08 AM
NY POST:

CHOKING DOWNTOWN
By STEVE CUOZZO

GOV. Pataki has again lost his footing on Downtown: Rather than pushing for the progress needed at Ground Zero, he seems intent on digging up West Street to build a worse-than-pointless auto tunnel.

Pataki's best moment on rebuilding came in April 2003, when he set out a firm timetable for Ground Zero and took steps to improve Downtown's abominable street and sidewalk conditions at once.

However belated, Pataki's decisiveness rescued the area — at least for a time — from the anti-commercial, post-9/11 clamor for a dubious paradise of "24/7" uses, "moderate-income" housing and a 16-acre shrine to America's sins. But now, nearly two years later, all the progress shows signs of unraveling.

The speeches, slide-shows and endless televised press conferences should fool no one. Despite last summer's cornerstone-laying, significant issues of infrastructure, financing and engineering must be resolved before the Freedom Tower can rise. The New York Times reported yesterday that the tower's broadcast-antenna spire — an integral part of the design unveiled a year ago — might not work as positioned at the building's corner.

In fact, sources tell The Post, it will likely need to be centered if it is not to tear the tower's roof off. (The currently-planned-but-untenable off-center antenna is a vestige of Daniel Libeskind's original design — a holdover included by Freedom Tower architect David Childs at Pataki's insistence.)

Until the problem is solved, Larry Silverstein can't build, no matter how much insurance money he has. Nor is there a hint of when work might start on the memorial. But until both projects are under way, no one will believe Ground Zero is going anywhere.

Consider, too, Pataki's failure to break the logjam over Fiterman Hall. With no agreement on a cleanup plan, the college building will remain a blackened hulk near Ground Zero on the fourth anniversary of 9/11.

Fixing or rebuilding Fiterman Hall will cost under $200 million — peanuts for Downtown. Yet, while Pataki dawdles on it, he is putting his clout behind a billion-dollar scheme that has nothing to do with 9/11: the West Street tunnel, a dream come true for the forces still hoping to sabotage Downtown's recovery.

Supposedly meant to ensure the "sanctity" of the Ground Zero memorial, the project might well do what terrorists couldn't: Chase business out of Downtown for good.

It guarantees years of traffic and transit paralysis — plus a carnival of cost overruns. (For a taste of what's in store, ask any Bostonian about the "Big Dig," a highway project that ruptured their city, ran five years late and cost $10 billion more than its $2.6 billion estimate.)

Nor will the tunnel even deliver the promised insulation from vehicular traffic: Cars will still buzz by the memorial on three sides — on Liberty Street and on newly extended Greenwich and Fulton Streets.

Pataki's push for the project is doubly galling because, if the memorial is too close to West Street, he has only himself to blame. He chose the Libeskind master site plan, which shunted the memorial to Ground Zero's southwest quadrant.

In any event, if Pataki still insists on a buffer, one already exists: the wide, unused, two-lane service road just outside Ground Zero's western boundary. It provides plenty of elbow room to insulate the memorial from traffic.

(Also up in the air: where to place the tunnel's northern portal — and the ensuing traffic havoc. At Vesey Street, plunking impassable incisions on the doorstep of Goldman Sachs' new headquarters? A few blocks north, placing them in front of planned new apartment towers? )

The MTA's new Fulton Street Transit Center — the "Grand Central of Downtown" — promises subway riders years of inconvenience far worse than any posed by the existing station's shortcomings. Yet that disruption may seem pleasant compared with the job (perhaps a decade long) of depressing six-lane West Street under a landscaped median.

It's hard to imagine how a tunnel could be built without closing West Street during construction or, at best, reducing traffic to a trickle. That means rerouting cars and trucks east onto Church Street and Broadway. Both, of course, are already likely to be snarled for years — Church Street by construction of the new PATH terminal and Broadway by work on the Transit Center.

And has everyone forgotten that tunneling must also be done beneath Broadway and Church Street to link the PATH and transit centers underground, with unpredictable effects at street level?

We're told the tunnel will link Battery Park City with Ground Zero and the rest of Downtown. Where's the demand for that? Battery Park City's apartments are full, and the World Financial Center's commercial space, half-vacated after 9/11, is fast being re-absorbed.

So why is the tunnel scheme on the table? One interpretation is that certain powerful interests see windfall profits — a boondoggle that will batten on labor payoffs, concrete-cost overruns and pork-barrel procurement.

Beware public-private influence-peddling of the sort epitomized by Alfonse D'Amato's infamous $500,000 phone call to expedite an MTA contract.

We may yet be spared. The state is also considering an option simply to retain and spruce up the West Street surface road for a mere $175 million. It isn't too late for Pataki to do the right thing and save us from a tunnel with no light at either end.

E-mail: scuozzo@nypost.com


http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/38917.htm

NewYorkYankee
January 29th, 2005, 12:38 PM
The tunnel is not needed. Period.

Douglas Willinger
February 16th, 2005, 04:40 PM
A so-called long West Street tunnel that directly connects with the BBT and the BPU is needed to deal with the future traffic to and from Brooklyn's Gowanus Expressway which will be rebuilt with improved interchanges and hi-speed easy pass.

All of the current plans including the short tunnel and the NYPIRG preferred all traffic on the surface with traffic lights option, all maintain the existing deficent BBT Manhattan transition, with its pollution generating 9-10% grade ascent. Only a long tunnel can mitigate this.

There should be a lawsuit as to the dropping of the long tunnel from consideration (with reasoning that would sooner drop the other options).

A WST should be planned as part of an integrated highway network, rather then simply for real estate enhancement.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com (http://www.highwaysandcommunities.com/)

Kris
February 23rd, 2005, 11:07 PM
February 24, 2005

West Street Decision Won't Be Easy, but It's Needed Soon

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/o.gifN the stretch of West Street-Route 9A that runs along the World Trade Center site, the rubber is about to meet the road. Whether the road will be on the surface or in a tunnel, however, is a question only Gov. George E. Pataki can ultimately answer.

What faces the governor is a choice. There is a cheaper, easier and politically palatable option: rebuilding Route 9A as an eight-lane surface road. And there is an unpopular, complex and far more expensive alternative - tunneling four lanes of express traffic through an underground bypass - that he has already endorsed in principle and that may, in the long run, be a better planning approach.

This is not an easy choice. Understandably, he seems to be in no hurry to make it.

At the moment, said a spokeswoman for Mr. Pataki, the governor is waiting for the State Transportation Department to complete a detailed environmental analysis of roadway alternatives.

"The decision for Route 9A will be based on pedestrian safety and traffic needs that are expected when the area is fully developed," said the spokeswoman, Lynn Rasic.

But Mr. Pataki is almost compelled to say something definitive soon.

He wants a spending plan on his desk next month for the unallocated $772 million in federal Housing and Urban Development Department grants that are controlled by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Some of that money may be earmarked for public portions of the trade center infrastructure, like roadways.

Should the state pursue the less expensive "at-grade" approach to the Route 9A reconstruction, which is to be financed by the Federal Transit Administration's $4.55 billion Lower Manhattan program, it is possible that some of the savings, at least $500 million, could be applied to transportation-related improvements at the trade center site.

"If there are savings from a project, the money will remain in the program account for eligible Lower Manhattan recovery projects," said Paul Griffo, a spokesman for the federal agency. "Once the local decisions on 9A are made, the governor will be in a position to assess the priorities for using any funds that may still be available."

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver already has his priority: a seamless rail link from Lower Manhattan through an East River tunnel to the Long Island Rail Road. He said Tuesday that the plan for a Route 9A bypass should be scrapped.

"Based on resources- based on just about everything - you should not have the underpass," said Mr. Silver, a Democrat whose district includes much of Lower Manhattan. As for the surface alternative, he said: "What's compelling about it is not that it's an at-grade solution. What's compelling about it is the resources."

Money, or the lack of it, seems to be the theme of 2005 in the saga of Lower Manhattan's recovery. This is the year budgetary realities are colliding with planners' dreams.

Yet there are still strong planning arguments that can be made for a tunnel.

A TUNNEL would keep some trucks - and, potentially, truck-borne bombs - at a greater distance from the West and Vesey Street crossroads, which will eventually be the site of the Freedom Tower and the headquarters of Goldman Sachs, Verizon and American Express.

By diverting express lanes underground, a tunnel would preserve the dignity of the memorial, which would otherwise be exposed to eight lanes of traffic along much of its western flank. With express traffic hidden from view, there would be a greater sense of connection between Battery Park City and the rest of downtown.

"It is so correct that it's unthinkable that it not happen," said Alexander Cooper of Cooper, Robertson & Partners, consulting architects to Brookfield Properties, the principal owners of the World Financial Center in Battery Park City.

However, Goldman, Sachs & Company is strongly opposed to a tunnel entrance at Vesey Street, in front of the headquarters it is planning.

And Verizon has expressed unhappiness with having to relocate conduits under Route 9A that were installed at a cost of millions of dollars, should the tunnel be chosen. The company plans to move its headquarters into its landmark switching center at 140 West Street.

State transportation officials have been exploring a compromise under which the tunnel entrance would be moved north, around Murray Street. This would put it closer to schools, ball fields and apartment towers.

And that has "generated even more consternation" in a neighborhood already opposed to the tunnel, said Madelyn Wils, the chairwoman of Community Board 1, in a Jan. 14 letter to Governor Pataki.

"If the argument is that it is not safe for Goldman Sachs employees to cross the highway near the bypass," she added, "then you certainly cannot expect schoolchildren, their parents and residents to accept a decision to move the mouth of the bypass into their front yard."

Asked in a survey in April to rate the priority of transportation projects, 46 percent of 800 residents of Community Board 1 polled by Blum & Weprin Associates said the Route 9A tunnel was "not very important."

Paul Goldstein, the district manager of the community board, said: "I suppose if we had unlimited sources of funds, there might be more support for a project like this. But at this point we have to make decisions."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

Douglas Willinger
February 24th, 2005, 04:03 PM
Gov. Pataki could apply to make a 9A Tunnel that is continious with the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel as part of a extended Gowanus Expressway project. He could furthermore extend it north of Chambers Street, with at least the northbound lanes continuing north of Canal Street, hence mitigatiing the left hand southbound 9A movement to Canal.

It should go all the way to about 29th Street, but should at least extend the northbound tunnel to the meat packing areas. Splitting the location of the nb and sb northern portals would allow the project to be staged for financial considerations

Unlike the old Westway project this would use existing land fill. Ironicaly, the money taken from Westway ($1.5 billion) would be just 1/20th of the some $30 billion that groups such as NYPIRG's "Straphangers' Campaign" achieved for extra transit funding since.

With pollution filtation systems, along with the gentler ascent grades that are geometrically possible ONLY with the continious with the BBT "long" tunnel, this would offer clean air benifits for Manhattan's West Side that are denied by the status quo.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

Schadenfrau
February 24th, 2005, 04:43 PM
Governor Pataki might take your suggestion a bit more seriously if you spelled his name and the name of your website correctly.

I assume you meant to direct us to this?

http://www.highwaysandcommunities.com/

Douglas Willinger
February 24th, 2005, 05:32 PM
I doubt it, as my letter to him last year about the 9A-Gowanus planning disparity did not have that error, yet I got no reply. Nor have I heard sylable one from NYSDOT or USDOT on this. Or for that matter, any of the "transportation advocacy" groups.

Given his response instead to extending the tunnel north to placate Goldman, Sachs & Company, the formal planning for the 9A tunnel places a far greater priority to real estate enhancement, rather then planning this tunnel as being part of a continious transportation network.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http:www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

mkeit
March 1st, 2005, 11:38 AM
This tunnel idea is nonesense and a HUGE waste of money.

Douglas Willinger
March 9th, 2005, 01:46 AM
Do you feel that way about the proposed Gowanus tunnelization?

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http:www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com (http://www.highwaysandcommunities.com/)

ZippyTheChimp
March 9th, 2005, 08:17 AM
The only similarity is the word tunnel.

I have always supported a West St tunnel as a concept, but there are two realities that must be considered:

1. The present tunnel plan is too short. It should connect directly to the BBT and the FDR underpass to move thru-traffic through the area. This could have been done after Westway was scrapped. Having witnessed the rebuild of Rt 9A and the expense of mining the streets for hidden utilities, a tunnel could have been constructed at relatively equal cost. But after Westway, the word tunnel was taboo, so we got a blvd.

2. There is no money for the tunnel. NYC has several projects that are in planning that have not been guaranteed full funding. It would be nice if we could do them all, but the reality is that choices have to be made. The city and state cannot print money. This is not the time of the Big Dig and federal budget surpluses. With a federal deficit approaching $450 billion and $1 billion pouring into Iraq every week, we can't expect any help from Washington.

Your example of the Gowanus Tunnel is similar to my example of a tunnel after the defeat of Westway. The Gowanus Expressway is deteriorating and must be replaced. Temporary repairs have been going on for years costing hundreds of millions. There is no way to detour traffic and tear down the roadway and rebuild, so it must be done in stages, lane by lane - a process that multiplies the cost. This high cost of replacement makes a Gowanus Tunnel a financially competiive option, and that is why it is being considered.

Removal of the elevated highway would transform Sunset Park and Red Hook. The tunnel has broadbased support, including Transportation Alternatives - not exactly a highway advocacy group.

BPC
March 15th, 2005, 03:01 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5445086/

• March 11, 2005 | 9:40 p.m. ET

Freedom Tower politics (David Shuster)

The blogs we've been posting on the Freedom Tower continue to generate a huge number of e-mails. Every day, I've been receiving articles and stories detailing a host of new engineering problems associated with the current plan for lower manhattan. [Blog: Freedom Tower Vs. Twin Towers; Blog: Rebuild the Twin Towers]

The latest issue concerns a plan by Governor Pataki to sink an eight lane street beneath the proposed Freedom Tower park.There are two problems: First, Verizon says it would need to relocate a massive amount of underground telecom gear in order to clear a path for the tunnel. (Verizon says this move could delay the entire project for two years.) Secondly, the proposed underground construction project would be akin to Boston's "big dig." Only this time, the chaos and mess would be in Lower Manhattan.

I could go on and on. It seems likely that this Freedom Tower project is going to keep a hole in the Manhattan skyline (and thrill Al-Qaeda) for at least a decade. Many of you have said that construction on "newer, stronger, and taller twin towers" should have already begun. To all of you who have been wondering, "Is it too late to scuttle the freedom tower and rebuild the twin towers?" the answer is clearly "No."

One of my contacts recently sent me a copy of the Environmental Impact Statement done a year ago in lower Manhattan. The 30-chapter volume refers to the Freedom Tower as the Proposed Action. But in Chapter 23, the EIS examines a "restoration alternative." This alternative is to "rebuild the Twin Towers." In other words, the environmental impact study for rebuilding the twin towers has already been conducted... a crucial first step. It's also worth noting that the public architectural blueprints and models for a new Twin Towers (architect Ken Gardner at makenynyagain.com) are more detailed than the public blueprints and models for the Freedom Tower put forward by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

Putting all of that aside though, there is a factor that I'm convinced will soon come into play... presidential politics. New York Governor George Pataki (who has always backed the LMDC and the Freedom Tower) has made no secret of his 2008 presidential ambitions. And on the face of it, Pataki could be a formidable candidate. But imagine what will happen if John McCain holds a news conference, discusses the ongoing problems with the Freedom Tower, speaks about the need for America to stand tall, not weak, and declares that nothing is acceptable other than stronger, taller, Twin Towers. "Under this scenario," a political strategist told me, "Pataki would be dead, absolutely dead." Now imagine if Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first to hold such a news conference. As everybody in the U.S. Senate knows, Mrs. Clinton is preparing for a possible 2008 run by moving to the center, bolstering her standing on red state values issues, and looking for ways to demonstrate leadership and "toughness" on foreign policy issues. On the issue of terrorism, what would be "tougher" than bashing George Pataki's Freedom Tower and demanding, in the name of true freedom from our enemies, that the Twin Towers be rebuilt.

So, where do the possible 2008 presidential contenders stand?

John McCain, I've been told, "is not considering this issue right now." But, I was drawn to the words "right now."

Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to her spokesman, "has not taken a stand on the Freedom project or on the twin towers. The Senator believes lower Manhattan should be rebuilt." Hmmm. That is not an endorsement of the Freedom Tower. And given that Mrs. Clinton is one of the senators from New York, her withholding of any Freedom Tower endorsement, and her absence from all Freedom Tower events, is revealing.

Will presidential politics be the issue that ignites this debate? How nervous should George Pataki be right now? Who would win this fight?

Comments/ Questions/ Questions for the next blog cast: DShuster@MSNBC.com

ZippyTheChimp
March 15th, 2005, 07:14 AM
So how long has David Shuster been covering politics...6 months?

John McCain, I've been told, "is not considering this issue right now." But, I was drawn to the words "right now."

Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to her spokesman, "has not taken a stand on the Freedom project or on the twin towers. The Senator believes lower Manhattan should be rebuilt." Hmmm.
These are typical remarks that politicians make on issues that they consider to have no political capital (either for or against). They will not commit and risk being on the wrong side if the issue becomes important down the road.

The FT is hardly a political issue in New York State. Nationally, it is not even on the radar. For Pataki, any presidential aspirations are going to depend on his centrist views on gay rights and abortion (look at what happened to Giuliani), not on a hole in the ground in Manhattan.

mkeit
March 15th, 2005, 01:24 PM
Fortunately for everyone, Pataki would't last five minutes in a national spotlight.

As for the Freedom Tower, foundation work was to begin last month. Demolition of the existing parking levels is still underway. It is moving very slowly.

The decision on the tunnel won't be made until the end of the year. How this will affect the Goldman Sachs building, which should be getting underway soon, is unclear; unless the decision has already been made but not released to the public.

MidtownGuy
March 15th, 2005, 05:27 PM
I just pray that we don't actually end up with that hideous "chicken coop on a stump" that they have foisted on us.
Every time I see the drawings I hate them more. What on earth are they thinking?? We need two gorgeous sleek towers styled for the 21st century to replace the old ones and restore our skyline. Nothing less will do.

Whatever replaces the WTC must be just as emblematic and awe inspiring as the originals, or the result will be a towering national disgrace and object of ridicule, with it's mad empty-birdcage top- a big tribute to fear.
Meanwhile, in other nations, towers are being built to dizzying new heights that stir the imagination.

People need to start making a fuss about this or it WILL be too late.

STT757
March 15th, 2005, 05:51 PM
"Secondly, the proposed underground construction project would be akin to Boston's "big dig." Only this time, the chaos and mess would be in Lower Manhattan."

You cannot even compare the two, the West Street tunnel would barely be a mile long (if that) and would be a cut and cover under the street (no tunneling).

The Big Dig in Boston was something like 40 miles worth of 10 lane highways bored out under the City and also included the Ted Williams Tunnel under Boston harbor to Logan Airport and the Bunker Hill Bridge.

There's nothing in common between the two projects.

mkeit
March 16th, 2005, 09:24 AM
The Gowanus tunnel might help revive the neighborhood. I don't think the Lower West Side need another megaproject like the tunnel-$ 800 million for a few blocks.

billyblancoNYC
March 16th, 2005, 03:37 PM
The Gowanus tunnel might help revive the neighborhood. I don't think the Lower West Side need another megaproject like the tunnel-$ 800 million for a few blocks.

I'm not sure either way. It would be very nice, but is it worth the money? Are there more important things to spend on? Of course, is this the only time to do something like this? Can other projects find money in the future? I think if it was one huge tunnel through much of the West Side Hway, with some development over it, then it would a no-brainer. The FDR and WSH should be park, residential, office, and not a highway.

ZippyTheChimp
March 29th, 2005, 12:41 PM
The tunnel is not a security issue for the Freedom Tower. If it was, the Vesey St should be tunnelled. It is about improvements to West St and shielding the memorial.

If it's too expensive to tunnel, why don't they deck over a portion, similar to the Foster site plan. The only objection I remember a few years ago was from Brookfield - that it would be too high. The WFC sits on a hill about 8-10 ft above West St. The street rebuild could be lowered a few ft, and at any rate, you're not talking about a big difference.

It would solve many objections to the tunnel:

It would be cheaper.

Built faster.

It wouldn't need to run from Vesey to Liberty. It could run from Fulton (about where the ped bridge was) to maybe 200 ft north of Liberty. This would solve the problem of portals at the intersections. The plaza created would be huge, since all traffic would run underneath.

It would shield most of the memorial.

BPC
March 30th, 2005, 12:39 AM
A deck would also feed most of the pedestrian traffic into and out of the WFC directly into their office lobbies, which are all on the second floor. It would keep the tourists and workers out of each others' hair. Unfortunately, there was an article in the Daily News a couple of years ago reporting that Brookfield told the PA they would sue to stop any such deck. Apparently, they feel they spent a lot of dough touching up their East side after 9/11, and don't want it covered up by a deck.

BPC
April 13th, 2005, 01:32 AM
DOWNTOWN EXPRESS

Volume 17, Number 46 | April 8 — 14, 2005

West St. tunnel would be a wrong turn Downtown

The 800-pound gorilla that wanted to build the 740-foot tower Downtown spoke this week: Goldman Sachs is backing away from its plan to build its headquarters across the street from the World Trade Center site in Battery Park City. What divides the headquarters site and the W.T.C., as well as Goldman and Gov. Pataki, is West St. The governor wants a tunnel there and Goldman doesn’t.

If the venerable investment bank – one of Lower Manhattan’s most crucial institutions – nixes its plan to build an office skyscraper here and scales back its Downtown operations, the economic and psychological blows would be incalculable.

We understand some of the governor’s desire for a tunnel – we want to make crossing the highway safer too – but more recently we have been saying the $860 million projected cost of the tunnel (and we all know these costs rise with time) does not justify the potential benefits given all of the more pressing needs for Lower Manhattan. Keeping Goldman’s development plans Downtown is the latest reason — but not the only one — not to build the tunnel.

More money is needed to build a Downtown rail link to J.F.K. Airport and the Long Island Rail Road, which, unlike the tunnel, would have substantial economic benefits for Downtown. The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. has $800 million of 9/11 money left to help rebuild, and there are worthy demands that far exceed that amount. By coming up with a less costly solution for West St. we could save about $650 million that could be shifted to the rail link and transportation-related projects such as waterfront improvements near highways.

Goldman doesn’t want tunnel entrance ramps right outside the entrance to its building. So Pataki and his aides have been looking to move the so-called “portals to the Route 9A by-pass” north. The problems of that “solution” are enormous – it would concentrate traffic and fumes near P.S./I.S. 89 and the neighborhood’s precious ballfields, it would balloon the project’s costs, and it would likely require a whole new environmental impact statement setting the rebuilding efforts back even further.

Even if Goldman is bluffing, what would be the point of calling? There is virtually no public support for the tunnel anyway at this stage of economic triage.

And although it is far from the most important reason not to build the tunnel, it should not go without notice that Goldman has pledged $4.5 million to Lower Manhattan residents to help pay for a library and community recreation center. It might seem like chump change in the scheme of billion-dollar decisions, but losing this community money will also be a blow.

It would be a blunder with heavy costs if Pataki let the Goldman deal slip away because he insists on a tunnel that has no constituency anymore. And even if he can find a way to have a tunnel and keep Goldman’s two-million sq. ft. tower and 9000 employees on Site 26, there are better ways to spend $860 million Downtown.

http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_100/editorial.html

mkeit
April 13th, 2005, 09:09 AM
The questions I have are-

1-Why is Goldman thinking about a new building when 7 WTC and the Freedom Tower are all empty?
2-A lot of workers don't want to work near the WTC for safety reasons-" It was attacked twice..." so why build more space that will be empty.


Goldman has troble gettiing workers in their new building in Jersey City. They realize they made a big error in moving there. Is the prestiege of having your name on a building that important to its' stockholders or only to feed the executives egos?

mkeit
April 15th, 2005, 10:18 AM
It is officially dead now.


Hopefully, they will design something that will allow pedestrians to cross on a single light. Pedestrian bridges are inconvienient.

NewYorkYankee
April 15th, 2005, 12:50 PM
It's dead now? Where did you get that information?

ryan
April 15th, 2005, 12:54 PM
State backs off tunnel near WTC

DOT to widen West Street, negating need for $860M tunnel while still preserving sanctity of memorial

BY PRADNYA JOSHI
STAFF WRITER

April 15, 2005

The state has abandoned plans to build a tunnel to route vehicle traffic next to the World Trade Center memorial and Freedom Tower sites in lower Manhattan, and Gov. George Pataki said the money saved could be used to help pay for a rail link from downtown to Kennedy Airport.

The state Department of Transportation will instead spend $225 million to widen West Street from six lanes to eight lanes of traffic, restoring it to its pre-Sept. 11th volume. It will be at least 18 months before construction can begin, DOT spokeswoman Jennifer Post said.

The Port Authority is also planning to build an underground pedestrian concourse to allow people to walk from the World Trade Center complex to Battery Park City without having to negotiate traffic.

Community groups had complained that an $860 million price tag to shield essentially two blocks of roadway didn't make sense. Utilities such as Verizon Communications would have had to significantly alter their underground network at a cost of many millions of dollars.

"A tunnel would've meant that we would've had to dig up and replace all the work that we've done for the last three years or more," said Verizon spokesman John Bonomo. "This is definitely good news for us."

At the end of this year, Verizon plans to move its headquarters from midtown to its historic 1926 building at 140 West St. That site, next door to the rebuilt 7 World Trade Center, will house 1,500 employees.

Goldman Sachs Group last week also had said it was putting on hold plans to build a $1.8-billion, 40-story headquarters in Battery Park City partially because the entrance to the tunnel would have been right outside the building. Spokesman Peter Rose yesterday declined to comment on the tunnel news, but Pataki said he hoped Goldman would continue with its plans.

Pataki had previously supported plans to build a tunnel, which was intended to help preserve the sanctity of the memorial as well as shield the Freedom Tower from trucks or buses that could potentially be armed with explosives.

But yesterday, Pataki said he supported the new plan to keep West Street, also known as Route 9A, as a surface street. He also said the memorial architect Michael Arad told him the traffic will not take away from the sanctity of the memorial.

"I'm confident that the DOT has come up with the decision that they think works best for all of lower Manhattan," Pataki said at a groundbreaking for a new condominium development next to the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park City. "It also reflected community input, which is an important part of the process as we go forward."

Pataki said some of the savings could go toward a $6-billion project to provide train service from lower Manhattan to Kennedy Airport. Under that plan, a tunnel from lower Manhattan would connect to Long Island Rail Road tracks through Jamaica and the AirTrain.

"With the savings by not constructing the tunnel, I think we should take a good look at whether it's appropriate to use some of those funds [for the JFK link]," Pataki said in comments to the media. "It's certainly a priority of mine, once we deal with the infrastructure and reconstruction needs at Ground Zero."

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.

Douglas Willinger
June 1st, 2005, 06:22 PM
Question:

The 9A tunnel was initially proposed amongst other reasons as a security feature to protect the WTC site from truck bombs. (After all is the approach to the I-478 Brooklyn Battery Tunnel which is a truck route.) Simply because the I-478 designation vanishes into thin air does not mean that is so with the vehicular traffic nor their exhaust emissions, (despite the popularity of raiding this extension's funds for transit projects elsewhere in NYC.)

The NYTimes May 16, 2005 piece Metro Matters; Ground Zero Moves Forth, In Secret alludes to security matters in cancelling the tunnel outright, insofar that the tunnel would solve certain security issues while perhaps creating others that on balance were greater. Does anyone have anything more specific on this? Was there some other security reason that has not been well-publicized? Or did Pataki simply panic in order to (unsuccessfully) placate Goodman Sachs (which had earlier asked that the tunnel be extended north)? Or do officials plan to ban trucks from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and route the traffic instead through less politically affluent areas such as Statan Island and the Bronx? Or do they plan on leaving the WTC site as a permanent "Ground Zero" pit? I have contacted NYSDOT about this, but have yet to see/hear an explaination.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

mkeit
June 3rd, 2005, 08:38 AM
The estimated $ 800 million to $ 1 Billion cost for the tunnel may also have something to do with it.

Douglas Willinger
June 3rd, 2005, 01:00 PM
A whole 5% of the $20 billion Federal 911 aid for Lower Manhattan!

Or 10-15% of that $20 billion for a 9A tunnel worth building that connects to the BBT and the BPU and at least as north as Chambers.

Or what percentage of the $100s spent in the war in Iraq, or the $50 billion spent annually on the war on some drugs.

Marcy Benstock's ways of looking at things definitely was an excellent way to get people to ignore the real wastes of money; just look at the relative amount of protest energy over the years.

The tunnel's construction costs were already known. The May 16 NYTimes piece alluded to the tunnel being cancelled for recent security considerations- but what recent security considerations? Is it that they reasoned that the potential pedestrian hazards of its southern portal outweighed the truck bomb issue??? Or...?

Without any further elaboration from the authorities on this, how can anyone deny that Pataki panicked.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

ZippyTheChimp
June 3rd, 2005, 03:30 PM
The technical arguments in favor of the tunnel would apply if it actually moved the thru-traffic from the BBT or FDR underpass to at least the Holland Tunnel.

As proposed, the short tunnel becomes a security issue (maybe) and an aesthetic issue. I agree that the tunnel would benefit the immediate area of the WTC site, but at $800 million or more, the cost does not justify the expense, especially since other projects are suffering budget shortfalls.

We can sit here all day griping about how the amount is a minuscule percentage of this or that, but the fact is - there is little money left.

The $20 billion is mostly gone. People seem to have forgotten that part of that money went to the massive cleanup in 2002.

The Fulton Transit Center, at least as important as the tunnel, has been scaled back due to budget constraints.

If you think the Feds are going to help, read this:


Bush 2006 Budget Would Reclaim $125 Million of 9/11 Aid

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/03/nyregion/03air.html?pagewanted=print

Douglas Willinger
June 3rd, 2005, 07:00 PM
The tunnel should have been between the BBT/BPU and the Holland Tunnel, or at least the northbound lanes continuing somewhat past Chambers to mitigate the 9A southbound left turn torwards the Holland Tunnel, with the design accomodating a future extension north to about 29th Street.

Also, the proposed tunnel segment to the north of the existing West Street underpass should have been shifted about 30 feet west to avoid most of the length of the underground sewer line (and to place it further away from the WTC site slurry wall). Was such an alignment closer to the WTC site by any chance a result of a desire to push it away from the WFC (perhaps to placate its owners which favored the tunnel?) by any chance?

Maybe if people began protesting the various war budgets (or even government inefficencies) at least as much as many protested the Westway project back in the 1970s and 1980s? $20 billion could buy 3 projects costing 6.5 billion apiece, say a longer 9A/I-478 tunnel to 29th Street, the JFK airport link and much or all of the 2nd Avenue subway. If the money is really that unavailable then build the WFC/WTC segement as part of a multi-layered undergound project (but without the approach transitions) and build the connecting segements later.

In any case, my original question relating to the May 16 NY Times article remains unanswered. Was there some legitimate security reason for cancelling the tunnel or the tunnel concept? (A 9A tunnel project from the BBT/BPU to the Holland Tunnel could be justified as part of an expanded Gowanus Expressway project- where were NY's representatives when the recent highway bill was crafted?) Was there even a cost-anylsis of the tunnel's cost and benifits, including cleaner air (esp. "long" tunnel), and greater real estate revenue from avoiding greater building setbacks from an all cars/trucks on surface plan? Indeed what about property values in general: a.k.a. the inverse realtionship with such north and south of where the commuter trains go underground and property values go up? Indeed is there some official report for any of this regarding a 9A tunnel? Was there something in the April 8, police security report that we should know about? (I have been unable to find it).

Or did Pataki simply panic?

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

Douglas Willinger
July 24th, 2005, 09:14 PM
At this date, we can see that Pataki's change in plans for the "Freedom Tower" to be more like the Statue of Liberty, insofar that it will have its own pedestal: a.k.a. its hardened, windowless 20 story base. I wonder how much rentable square footage (and thus perpetual income) does this sacrifice?

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

BPC
July 24th, 2005, 09:31 PM
Actually, the office space has been moved higher, making it more valuable, not less so, while the money-losing windmills that were to be on top are now scrapped. The new FT design is infintely superior both aesthetically and economically to the prior design. To the extent that the scrapped tunnel is the cause of that, hoorah.

ZippyTheChimp
July 25th, 2005, 07:18 AM
Douglas Willinger,

Are you looking for a contract?

Go east, young man (to Brooklyn).

Clarknt67
July 25th, 2005, 12:36 PM
Regarding traffic mitigation on West Street in the WTC area. Is there any reason elevating has not arisen as option? Granted, it's not as elegant a solution as tunneling, but it also won't be as expensive and I imagine the elevated part could be built without causing too much disruption of current traffic.

Douglas Willinger
July 25th, 2005, 02:43 PM
Actually, the office space has been moved higher, making it more valuable, not less so, while the money-losing windmills that were to be on top are now scrapped. The new FT design is infintely superior both aesthetically and economically to the prior design. To the extent that the scrapped tunnel is the cause of that, hoorah.

I have not done the revenue income comparision, but only ask if it was done at all for FT, or for that matter, other areas along Manhattan's West Side where the "West Side Highway" is on the surface with traffic lights rather then tunneled. Indeed, did anyone every do such a comparision between these two scenarios and the pre-1980s elevated WSH? (I would guess that Donald Trump has at least done this for the segment between 57th and 72nd Street). But what if they had dropped the money-losing windmills, while also retaining the lower floors? While the former increases perpetual revenue, the latter still reduces revenue- though the actual degrees to which I have not seen in any news accounts.

Or for another matter, the reduction in air pollution from a 9A/WSH tunnel with FILTRATION (done overseas, but not in the US where the idea instead is to force traffic on less direct routes around the more politically affluent urban centers and through the less politically afflluent areas on routes that are not tunneled/filtered)? A properly designed 9A/WSH tunnel directly connected with the BBT would furthermore significently reduce the ascent grade (which alas Pataki's cancelled "short" tunnel would have failed to do). Nothing in the 9A SIS that I have found even mentions this, even though it would be objetively measurable (e.g. reduced particulat matter from heavy trucks- this being a truck route).

As for the FT design being improved aesthetically, that would be a more subjective decision. My prefernce would be for new version of the original Twin Towers witht the tops shaped like that long suggested by the arches at the destroyed towers' base, and on the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge, symbolizing a continuity of design that is absent with the FT.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

Douglas Willinger
July 25th, 2005, 02:54 PM
Douglas Willinger,

Are you looking for a contract?

Go east, young man (to Brooklyn).

The Gowanus Expressway reconstruction project will happen, without or with my participation.

So will the extra traffic once the Gowanus project is completed given that it will improve the interchanges, the BBT toll plaza (with discussions of higer speed easy pass), and perhaps an extra lane per direction.

Funny how the officials do not confront the fact that the Gowanus Expressway and Manhattan 9A connect to different ends of the same Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.

Supposedly the extra traffic is to simply vanish somewhere between these two points?

NYSDOT dropped the ball by failing to adequately consider what is to happen at the BBT's Manhattan end, thereby invalidating the 9A SEIS/EIS.

Suer, I would like a contract to design the underground interchange; indeed, it would have been nice to at least have such an effort from NYSDOT, which is obviously making decisions based upon Manhattan political fundraising rather then engineering.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommmunities.com

Douglas Willinger
July 25th, 2005, 02:56 PM
Regarding traffic mitigation on West Street in the WTC area. Is there any reason elevating has not arisen as option? Granted, it's not as elegant a solution as tunneling, but it also won't be as expensive and I imagine the elevated part could be built without causing too much disruption of current traffic.

Aesthetics.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

BPC
July 25th, 2005, 06:28 PM
Regarding traffic mitigation on West Street in the WTC area. Is there any reason elevating has not arisen as option?

The same reason that we are not discussing elevating any other busy street in Manhattan. It would be expensive, unattractive and largely pointless. The solution to Manhattan's traffic problems is not to create additional car capacity either above or below ground. That really just worsens the traffic problem, because it encourages persons to take their cars into the City. The smart solution is to require such persons to pay the true costs associated with their decision to drive into Manhattan (what economists call externalities), through tolls of the East River bridges, sales of overnight parking permits, and the like. We are already seeing some of that sensible policy planning, in the form of new rush hour rates over the Hudson River crossings.

ryan
July 25th, 2005, 06:50 PM
Regarding traffic mitigation on West Street in the WTC area. Is there any reason elevating has not arisen as option? Granted, it's not as elegant a solution as tunneling, but it also won't be as expensive and I imagine the elevated part could be built without causing too much disruption of current traffic.

Isn't the point of tunneling to remove the barrier of West Street so that BPC feel more connected to the rest of Manhattan? Elevated roadways do just the opposite, and are the worst part of 50's car-oriented infrastructure that most cities are removing (look at the west side highway, pray for the FDR). The only time they make sense is in rural areas where they are used to minimize impact on the environment and allow for freer movement of wildlife.

billyblancoNYC
July 26th, 2005, 10:19 AM
The Gowanus Expressway reconstruction project will happen, without or with my participation.

So will the extra traffic once the Gowanus project is completed given that it will improve the interchanges, the BBT toll plaza (with discussions of higer speed easy pass), and perhaps an extra lane per direction.

Funny how the officials do not confront the fact that the Gowanus Expressway and Manhattan 9A connect to different ends of the same Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.

Supposedly the extra traffic is to simply vanish somewhere between these two points?

NYSDOT dropped the ball by failing to adequately consider what is to happen at the BBT's Manhattan end, thereby invalidating the 9A SEIS/EIS.

Suer, I would like a contract to design the underground interchange; indeed, it would have been nice to at least have such an effort from NYSDOT, which is obviously making decisions based upon Manhattan political fundraising rather then engineering.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommmunities.com


Reconstruction does not mean demolition, I assume.

Douglas Willinger
July 26th, 2005, 06:32 PM
Reconstruction can take a number of forms, including demolition of the existing elevated viaduct and its replacement with a tunnel.

For more information on the upcomming Gowanus Expressway Project, please see:

http://www.dot.state.ny.us/reg/r11/gowanus/

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

Douglas Willinger
July 26th, 2005, 06:45 PM
BPC wrote: " The same reason that we are not discussing elevating any other busy street in Manhattan. It would be expensive, unattractive and largely pointless. The solution to Manhattan's traffic problems is not to create additional car capacity either above or below ground. That really just worsens the traffic problem, because it encourages persons to take their cars into the City. The smart solution is to require such persons to pay the true costs associated with their decision to drive into Manhattan (what economists call externalities), through tolls of the East River bridges, sales of overnight parking permits, and the like. We are already seeing some of that sensible policy planning, in the form of new rush hour rates over the Hudson River crossings. "

I am surprised that you view this as a 2D paradigm of "not to create additional car capacity either above or below ground" and "The smart solution ... [e.g.] ...tolls".

While elevated highways would be largely environmentally undesirable (think of the adacent building floors), vehicular tunnels follow the historical trend started by the rail subways (and following precendent established outside the U.S.A. be filtrated. By drilling deep beneath the surface they largely avoid surface disruption, with any cut and cover segments being built via existing street right of ways (a recycing of an existing right of way rather then the cutting of a new swath as the case with Robert Moses style urban highway building). Hence, an LME and historic SoHo may co-exist with the LME largely as drilled tunnel.

Of course new highway tunnels for NYC would be reletively expensive per mile, which is why greater tolls would make a great deal of sense, both to fund them, as well as throttle their usage.

Not building new highway tunnels for NYC meanwhile places a greater traffic burden on generally less direct routes through Northern Manhattan, the Bronx, and the Statan Island Expressway- none of which are tunneled/filtered.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

lofter1
July 26th, 2005, 08:03 PM
I understand that the costs of a proposed rail tunnel link from Brooklyn to New Jersey has been estimated to cost in the "multi-billion" area ( 6.4B - 7.5B in 2002 $; see: http://www.tollroadsnews.com/cgi-bin/a.cgi/yqoqChcAEdmRW6r2jfFwDw ).

A car tunnel from Brooklyn to New Jersey would be beyond brilliant (and certainly ease up traffic in my neck of the woods downtown).

But is that feasible?

And DW: I'm sure you're aware that there used to be an elevated thru-way in Manhattan running downtown along the Hudson, the last bits of which were torn down in the 80s. And you're probably also aware that a below-grade thru-way along the Hudson was proposed but then died a slow death ("Westway"). So I don't see that either new below-grade or elevated roadways have any future in Manhattan south of 130th St.

ZippyTheChimp
July 26th, 2005, 08:16 PM
We have discussed this previously in the thread. Mr Willinger has still not provided the means to get funding for his visions, without curtailing other infrastructure projects that are more vital to the future of New York City.

I propose that after the SAS, #7 extension, East Side Access, and link to JFK are built, we build his underground highway from Brooklyn through Manhattan to New Jersey.

Douglas Willinger
July 26th, 2005, 09:12 PM
" I understand that the costs of a proposed rail tunnel link from Brooklyn to New Jersey has been estimated to cost in the "multi-billion" area ( 6.4B - 7.5B in 2002 $; see: http://www.tollroadsnews.com/cgi-bi...AEdmRW6r2jfFwDw (http://www.tollroadsnews.com/cgi-bin/a.cgi/yqoqChcAEdmRW6r2jfFwDw) ).

A car tunnel from Brooklyn to New Jersey would be beyond brilliant (and certainly ease up traffic in my neck of the woods downtown).

But is that feasible? "

Such a vehicular tunnel would run parallel with the proposed Brooklyn to New Jersey Rail Freight Tunnel, a project that is supported by Representative Nadler, but which is being opposed by Mayor Bloomberg because of concerns over its rail to truck transfer station.

Concentrating the rail to truck transfer at one location can be avoided by extending this project and in making it more multi-model, such as further improving the LIRR railway that it would use accross Brooklyn to allow spreading the transfer points, include a new rail subway line, together with a vehicular component consisting of a pair of 2 lane tubes per direction, with all of this accomodated through the LIRR right of way's narrow (80' wide) right of way via a linear park covered encased tunnel accomodating the increased capacity RR, 4 vehicular lanes per direction and new subway with several underround levels.

" And DW: I'm sure you're aware that there used to be an elevated thru-way in Manhattan running downtown along the Hudson, the last bits of which were torn down in the 80s. And you're probably also aware that a below-grade thru-way along the Hudson was proposed but then died a slow death ("Westway"). So I don't see that either new below-grade or elevated roadways have any future in Manhattan south of 130th St. "

I am aware of this. Please see http://www.nycroads.com/roads/west-side/

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

Douglas Willinger
July 26th, 2005, 09:22 PM
" We have discussed this previously in the thread. Mr Willinger has still not provided the means to get funding for his visions, without curtailing other infrastructure projects that are more vital to the future of New York City."

How about tolls, varied upon the time of day and even the number of pasengers to encourage car pooling? And let's not forget the issue of where our toll monies and rail fares are managed, given that such inefficencies not only undermine and delay construction of important highway projects, but also important rail projects such as a 2nd Avenue Subway and a Hi Line "subway".

" I propose that after the SAS, #7 extension, East Side Access, and link to JFK are built, we build his underground highway from Brooklyn through Manhattan to New Jersey. "

That could work, provided that *all* of these projects were adopted as a long term planning agenda, free of the all of vehicular traffic on the surface with traffic lights absolutism that has prevaled for Manhattan's West Side since September 1985.

Interesting the amount of protest over $1.7 billion back then extra cost for Westway compared to, the lack of protest over the MTA's book-keeping, let alone the $50 billion annually nation-wide on such things as a "war on drugs" that encourages harder and more dangerous drugs and forms of drugs.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

BPC
July 26th, 2005, 10:38 PM
I propose that after the SAS, #7 extension, East Side Access, and link to JFK are built, we build his underground highway from Brooklyn through Manhattan to New Jersey.

No bad. Here is how I would rank them:

1. 2nd Ave Subway
2. East Side Access
3. JFK / LIRR to Downtown Link
4. LaGuardia link to Airtrain
(not currently even under consideration)
5. Brooklyn Rail Tunnel
6. Gowanus Tunnel replacement
7. #7 Extension

In an ideal world, with unlimited resources, I would fund all of these, in that order. Any plan that would add vehicle capacity inside Manhattan, however, such as Mr. Willinger's proposed Lower Manhattan Underground Expressway, are projects I would pay to AVOID, as they would make life on this island worst, not better.

If we still have money after #s 1-7, I would propose a GC to PS shuttle. Right now, it takes two trains to get between these two stations, which makes absolutely zero sense.

Douglas Willinger
July 27th, 2005, 12:49 PM
" Any plan that would add vehicle capacity inside Manhattan, however, such as Mr. Willinger's proposed Lower Manhattan Underground Expressway, are projects I would pay to AVOID, as they would make life on this island worst, not better. "

Please elaborate.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com

Douglas Willinger
July 28th, 2005, 01:29 AM
Check this out:
---
Truck restrictions on Canal Street corridor- This change would result in a diversion of trucks from Canal Street and East River crossing to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and West Street. Benefits in localized air quality are likely along Canal Street and on East River crossings, especially the Manhattan Bridge. Adverse impacts to air quality may result in the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and on West Street leading to the Holland Tunnel. An environmental justice study may be required for neighborhoods along West Street and the Battery.
---
http://webservices.camsys.com/nymtcfreight/documents/nymtc_task6.pdf
page 120

Think about the 9% ascent grade at the Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the extra particulate matter from these extra trucks, given the tendency of emissions to spike with ascent grades above only 4% particularly for older and larger vehicles.

Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio
http://www.HighwaysAndCommunities.com