Nov. 12 — Demonstrating the speed with which planning at the
World Trade Center site is taking place, Port Authority
officials showed early designs for a permanent transportation
hub at the site today, incorporating many elements of the
temporary PATH station that is already being built.
The preliminary designs include a soaring
glass atrium that would allow subway and rail passengers to see
skyscrapers towering overhead from several floors below ground
level, enabling them to orient themselves to where they are in
the downtown landscape almost as soon as they step off the
The designs were unveiled by Robert I.
Davidson, the chief architect of the Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey, owner of the site, even as seven teams of
designers work to complete their conceptual master plans for the
site. He made his presentation at a panel discussion on the
rebuilding of Lower Manhattan that was part of the annual Build
Boston architecture conference.
The tracks, platforms and mezzanine areas
of the temporary station, as well as banks of escalators joining
the lower and middle levels of the terminal, are being rebuilt
in the pit, on the foundation and column footings of the station
that was destroyed in the collapse of the twin towers, according
to Mr. Davidson and other Port Authority officials.
That makes it ever more likely that the
new PATH terminal will stand almost exactly on the footprints of
the former station and that what has so far been referred to as
a temporary station is also to be a permanent structure, the
officials say. This means the transportation system can be
rebuilt more quickly than if a totally new system were created
"The notion is that the permanent
facilities will come right behind the temporary
facilities," Mr. Davidson said. "We've heard from some
very large companies that they are very concerned that the
permanent transportation is so far away that it might affect
their ability to remain in Lower Manhattan."
Mr. Davidson stressed that the designs for
the permanent hub were not final and could be changed depending
on the plans being put together by the seven design teams, whose
master-plan efforts will be made public next month.
Joseph J. Seymour, the executive director
of the Port Authority, said during a recent interview and tour
of ground zero that decisions about the location of the
temporary and permanent PATH terminal were made after it became
clear that much of the infrastructure of the original PATH
station remained in place or could be easily replaced.
Those include a tunnel that was part of
the former PATH station's mezzanine, extending eastward beneath
the 1 and 9 subway lines. On the west side of the 1 and 9 lines,
where escalators once carried passengers to PATH Square on the
former concourse level, portions of the structure remain; those
escalators will be rebuilt at the same location.
In the temporary PATH station, passengers
will then proceed up stairs or escalators to Church Street, the
temporary station's only entrance and exit at ground level.
The aesthetics of the temporary PATH
station, which is budgeted at $544 million, will be rough, Mr.
Seymour said, with exposed steel and concrete slabs visible.
Also, because the tracks and platforms will be open to the
elements at both ends, the platforms will not be climate
Port Authority contractors have been
working 12-hour shifts six days a week on the temporary PATH
station since the summer.