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    Little fanfare for opening of new PATH entrance

The glass-enclosed PATH entrance on Luis Muoz Marin Boulevard and Christopher Columbus Drive opened amid little fanfare yesterday, as a handful of workers and Port Authority police officers looked on.

Joseph A. Riopel, manager of operations and support for the Port Authority, unlocked the metal gates at 12:30 p.m. - a half-hour later than expected. The opening was delayed because workers did not have the proper keys to activate the turnstiles Construction on the $12.5 million project began in late 2003. The old entrance at Grove Street and Newark Avenue will still be used, but the additional entrance is designed to alleviate the rush-hour crunch at the station, which serves 10,000 passengers each week day.

The new entrance may be bustling today, but riders looking to try out the new digs were few and far between yesterday. Emit Susurla, 30, a software engineer who lives near the station, said he only just learned that the modern-looking structure is in fact an entrance to the PATH train. "It looks better than the other," said Susurla, who was the first person to "officially" exit the turnstiles yesterday. "The other one's dingy. This looks cleaner and brighter." Susurla was not the only person who seemed surprised to find out about the project.

Bill Conklin, 42, who lives near the Grove Street PATH station, said he kept wondering what was being built at the site. "They did a nice job of it," said Conklin, as he strolled through the passageway that connects with the eastern end of PATH's Grove Street platform. "It gets so crowded down here."

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