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PA Plans More Manhattan PATH Entrances

Mobilizing the Region  April 15, 2002
[1]  Since the destruction of the World Trade Center PATH station, the number of passengers using Greenwich Village PATH stations has more than doubled. Consequently, the Port Authority is seeking to build additional entrances at the Christopher and 9th Street Stations in order to improve safety and convenience. Their initial proposal places the new Christopher Street entrance on the north side of the block between Hudson and Bedford Streets, and the new 9th Street Station at Waverly Place. Both new entrances would use portions of the street and sidewalk. The initiative has run into neighborhood opposition, however.

Hopefully, a compromise can be worked out soon so that life in the PATH system can be improved. A Villager editorial recently characterized community organizations' negative reactions as a case of NIMBY. Residents say the entrances will encourage people to congregate late at night, increase graffiti and vandalism, and worsen other quality of life problems on their blocks.

Manhattan's Community Board 2, on the other hand, has focused on traffic and pedestrian flow problems in the area. The board does not oppose new station entrances, but wants them in less-traveled areas. It has made a number of suggestions, including a direct link between the West 4th Street subway station and the PATH 9th Street stop. The Port Authority has reportedly estimated that the board's options would be more costly to build. The 4th Street-9th Street link should be strongly considered in any case as a general improvement to the city's transit network.


[2] April 21, 2002   Will the PATH Train Stop Here? Concerned Nonriders Hope Not


It's nothing personal, New Jersey. It's just that residents of Greenwich Village are sensitive about preserving their hamlet.

To ease crowding at the city's southernmost PATH stations, the Port Authority plans to add second entrances to the stops at Christopher Street and Ninth Street. Ever since the PATH station at the World Trade Center was destroyed on Sept. 11, ridership at those two stops has doubled, and there is sometimes a 15-minute wait just to get to the turnstiles.

Under the plan, two new staircases would open onto Christopher Street: one at the southeast corner of Bedford Street, where P.S. 3 is situated, and the other at the southeast corner of Waverly Place for the Ninth Street stop. To accommodate the new entrances, the street would be narrowed by four feet.

But Village residents say the plan will tarnish landmark streetscapes, create a traffic bottleneck, and invite twice as many loiterers and petty criminals. "You couldn't pick a worse place," said Scott Schindler, a graphic designer who lives on Bedford Street. "You've got a school there, a very narrow street, and it's just thick with cars."

Preservationists are especially concerned about the Waverly entrance, which would fall inside the Stonewall Historic District, the only gay-related site in the nation named as a National Historic Landmark. "The stairs could have the impact of turning a historic side street into a major transit way," said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

Residents want the Port Authority to put the new entrances on two busier thoroughfares, Hudson Street and Avenue of the Americas. But authority officials say that their plan is more economical and less disruptive. "This is the simplest and most direct means of getting people in and out of the system," said William Fellini, manager of the PATH Capital Program.

He also said community opposition must be balanced against safety concerns. With only one entrance at each station, Mr. Fellini said, it now takes more than 18 minutes to evacuate riders in an emergency. With a second entrance, the time would be shaved to seven minutes.

No timetable for construction has been set, but for PATH riders, the new entrances could not come too soon. "The residents are being a little high-strung, and definitely selfish," said Ann Walsh, a bookkeeper from Jersey City, who was displaced from the World Trade Center station. "There's always this confrontation with people from Jersey."   

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