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PATH stations closed since 9/11 to open soon

Monday, February 17, 2003 By Ron Marisco


PATH stations at Exchange Place in Jersey City and at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan will reopen in June and December, respectively, according to officials from Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The facilities, closed since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, are being refurbished under a roughly $2 billion project that eventually will tie in with a $5 billion plan to build a new transit hub in Lower Manhattan. That facility would link the PATH, myriad subway lines and ferry service for the first time downtown as a way to spur economic growth and accommodate tourists.

"This would become in spirit the Grand Central of Lower Manhattan," said Robert Davidson, the Port Authority's chief architect, updating the status of the transit projects for the New York at its meeting Friday.

A downtown hub is one of the few rebuilding issues on which the multitude of interest groups agree.

The PATH station below the destroyed World Trade Center, which handled some 66,000 riders every work day, also was wrecked in the attack. The devastation caused flooding in the two PATH tunnels connecting Lower Manhattan and Jersey City, ruining electrical equipment and track.

Closure of the tunnels forced the shuttering of the Exchange Place station, which has been undergoing previously needed renovations. Among the improvements will be a lengthening of platforms to accommodate 10-car trains.

Davidson said the rebuilt PATH station at Ground Zero "is minimalist in design in terms of public space" because officials wanted to get it open as quickly as possible.

The refurbished station eventually would become part of the transit hub, which is to be located at or near the Broadway/Fulton Street intersection and slated for completion by 2009.

Plans for the hub call for an airy design, providing natural light to the concourses and offering numerous entrances and exits so the facility does not cut people off from shops, restaurants and parks at street level, said Davidson. The PATH concourse would be three levels below the street.

Among the subway lines linked to PATH would be the 1&9 and the N, R, A, C and E. The hub also is designed to accommodate bus traffic and would serve commuters as well as visitors to the planned memorial at Ground Zero.

"Seventy-five percent of people will access the memorial by foot or public transportation," said Davidson.

Federal officials last year committed $4.55 billion to the transit hub from the $21.5 billion slated for Lower Manhattan's rebuilding. In December, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed that billions more be spent on direct rail links between downtown Manhattan and Newark Liberty International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens.



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