Return Home

Extracts from the Port Authority's Environmental Impact Statement of the Temporary and Permanent Downtown Stations http://www.panynj.gov/path/Draft_Scope.PDF .
Prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the PATH system consisted of four inter-urban rapid transit lines connecting the north New Jersey cities of Newark, Hoboken, and Jersey City with the business, residential, shopping, and cultural districts of Manhattan (see Figure 2).

A daily ridership of 67,000 commuters passed through the WTC PATH Terminal alone. PATH also served as an interchange link for commuters using New Jersey Transit (NJT) rail and bus lines to continue their trips from termini on the west side of the Hudson River into New York City.

HISTORY The Hudson & Manhattan (H&M) Railroad began operation of the Hudson Tubes to Lower Manhattan in 1909. The Hudson Tubes provided electric-powered, heavy rail train service between Hudson and Essex Counties in New Jersey and the Hudson Terminal in Lower Manhattan. The Hudson Tubes served both as a commuter service as well as a connection to Manhattan for short and long-distance rail customers arriving at Newark Pennsylvania Station, Hoboken Terminal, and Exchange Place.

The Hudson Terminal was located between Greenwich, Cortlandt, Church and Fulton Streets parallel to the City’s Greenwich and Church Street subway lines. Above street level, the H&M constructed what was then the world’s largest office building, which consisted of two towers. Underneath was the station itself, which occupied two city blocks. The station contained three levels consisting of a pedestrian concourse with stores, restaurants, and services; a train level with five tracks; and a powerhouse.

The H&M terminal formed a loop with the tubes to and from New Jersey. Eastbound trains would enter the station from the south river tube and would exit westbound through the north river tube. When the H&M Railroad began to experience major financial difficulties, the States of New York and New Jersey looked to the PANYNJ to assume control of the system. In 1962, the States enacted legislation which authorized PANYNJ to undertake a port development project consisting of

  • 1.) a World Trade Center;
  • 2.) the Hudson Tubes, the interurban rail system between New York and New Jersey operated by the H&M Railroad; and
  • 3.) certain extensions of the Hudson Tubes.

The Port Authority was authorized to cooperate with other government agencies in the rehabilitation and redevelopment of the World Trade Center and Hudson Tubes for the purpose of the renewal and improvement of these areas as part of the port development project. The legislation of 1962 provided for the PANYNJ to acquire, rehabilitate, and operate the rail transit property associated with the Hudson Tubes either directly or through a wholly-owned subsidiary corporation. Accordingly, PANYNJ established the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) Corporation, which acquired, by condemnation, the railroad and equipment owned by the H&M Railroad Company, including the Hudson Terminal Building in Lower Manhattan.

In connection with the construction of the WTC, PANYNJ razed the Hudson Terminal buildings. The H&M railroad terminal was replaced with a new PATH terminal in 1971, which was located beneath the office towers of the WTC. The WTC and its PATH terminal were destroyed during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The loss of the PATH connection between Exchange Place in Jersey City and the World Trade Center was, and remains, a devastating loss for Lower Manhattan transportation infrastructure. Since September 11, 2001, tens of thousands of commuters accessing Lower Manhattan from west of the Hudson River have been forced to use other more time-consuming and more expensive modes or patterns of travel each day.

This has caused congestion at other transportation facilities and has resulted in longer and more difficult commutes for many. Prior to September 11, 2001, Lower Manhattan had approximately 108 million square feet of office space, ranking as the nation’s third largest Central Business District. More than 388,000 employees worked in Lower Manhattan. Approximately 15 percent of downtown’s office workers commuted from New Jersey and other points west of the Hudson River, and PATH served as their primary mode of travel.

Construction of a temporary WTC PATH station began in July 2002. Scheduled to open in November 2003, the temporary station is be located in the WTC "bathtub" and has substantially the same configuration as the terminal that existed on the WTC site before September 11, 2001.

It will provide five tracks and three 8-car platforms, as compared to the three, 10-car platforms that existed before September 11, 2001. The station will provide street-level pedestrian access through a single entry/exit at the intersection of Fulton and Church Streets and will have direct connections to stations on NYCT’s E, N, and R routes. The temporary WTC PATH station is expected to be in operation until a permanent WTC PATH Terminal is constructed.

The temporary WTC PATH station has been designed and constructed with the primary objective of restoring PATH service to Lower Manhattan as quickly as possible following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The operating capacity and functionality as well as equipment systems in the temporary station are, therefore, limited. If a Permanent WTC PATH Terminal is not constructed, that is the No Build Alternative described below, it is expected that the temporary station would be retired from service or would require ongoing replacement as portions of the structural systems and/or equipment reaches the end of their useful life, or when redevelopment at the WTC site precludes further operations.

The primary mode of travel for West of Hudson Commuters was transit, representing 65 percent of the AM peak hour trips to Lower Manhattan. The largest percentage, of which, traveled by PATH. The WTC PATH station served over 67,000 daily passengers and was operating at capacity during peak hours. In 2000, AM peak hour ridership was 26,000. Approximately 85 percent were inbound to Lower Manhattan. The remaining 15 percent traveled from downtown New York to New Jersey, making PATH an important mode for "reverse" commuters.

Surveys conducted by PANYNJ in 1996 showed that the principal destination of PATH’s customers exiting the station in the AM peak hour were off-site developments as shown in Table 2.

Approximately 13.2 percent exited to the World Financial Center; 15.1 percent traveled south or north of the WTC complex; and, 36.0 percent crossed Church Street to the east. Approximately 20.8 percent remained on-site, and the remaining 14.9 percent connected to NYCT subways.

For outbound customers in the AM peak period, NYCT subways were the principal mode of entry to the PATH system. Approximately 65.9 percent used NYCT subways to access PATH. Another 31.6 percent entered from off-site developments, and 2.6 percent connected from the WTC itself. The combined volume of inbound and outbound passengers to the PATH system would rely upon its connections to the WTC site, off-site development, and NYCT subways. During the AM peak hour on an average weekday, approximately 4,700 passengers would stay within the WTC complex using all-weather connections within its retail concourse. Slightly more than 5,900 passengers would transfer to or from NYCT subways.

Nearly 3,000 passengers traveled across Route 9A between the WFC and the WTC station and nearly 8,900 passengers would travel across Church Street. These volumes indicate the need for pedestrian connections between PATH, NYCT, and off-site developments.

An important component of the PATH system is its inter-modal connections to other transit services in New Jersey. PATH directly serves communities in Jersey City, Newark, and Hoboken but also provided connections for other West of Hudson residents.

At Newark-Penn Station, PATH customers can access AMTRAK, New Jersey Transit’s (NJT) Northeast Corridor, Raritan Valley, and North Jersey Coast commuter rail lines; the Newark City Subway; and bus/rail service to Newark Liberty International Airport.

In Hoboken, PATH connects with NJT’s Boonton, Morris & Essex, Main/Bergen County, Pascack Valley, and North Jersey Coast commuter rail lines; numerous NJT bus routes; and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail System. These connections to and from PATH’s WTC routes allowed many customers to reach Lower Manhattan without first traveling to Midtown Manhattan.

Future Growth The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 resulted in the loss of approximately 12 million square feet of office space on and around the WTC site. It is anticipated that approximately 10 million square feet of office space will be reconstructed by 2015. Proposals for other sites in Lower Manhattan would result in development in excess of that which was lost on September 11, 2001. These projects could result in an additional 3.2 million square feet of offices and 9,000 residential units in the area south of Canal Street. It is expected that a portion of the new trips to these sites will access Lower Manhattan via PATH.

Long-Term Limitations of Temporary WTC PATH Station Although the temporary WTC PATH station will allow restoration of service, it will not fully restore the pedestrian connections or the capacity that existed before September 11, 2001. The temporary station will consist of five levels—platform, mezzanine, 1/9 underpass, concourse, and street-level. The station will have five tracks and three platforms, located in the WTC "bathtub", in substantially the same configuration as before September 11, 2001. Passengers will use a series of stairs, escalators, and/or elevators to travel between the platform and the street-level and concourse-level entrances near the eastern boundary of the WTC site.

The temporary station will have 8-car platforms as compared to 10-car platforms that existed before September 11, 2001, and it will have 20 percent less capacity than its pre-September 11, 2001 configuration. Vertical elements within the station have a limited service life, and the station’s design will not allow for new construction above, as planned for the WTC redevelopment, nor will it easily support connections to future buildings on the WTC site.

Because construction of the WTC site is anticipated to continue after the opening of the temporary station, pedestrian access is limited. All patrons will enter and exit the station at street-level near the intersection of Church and Fulton Streets at the eastern boundary of the WTC site. Thus, patrons traveling to the World Financial Center will need to double-back along Vesey Street.

The temporary station will have a connection to NYCT’s N, R, and E routes, but access to the 1/9 trains cannot be provided. To expedite service restoration, the temporary station’s tracks and platforms will be located outdoors in the WTC "bathtub". Rain protection is provided, but the station will not be climatecontrolled. Local radiant heating will be provided in waiting areas, but many portions of the station complex will not be heated during winter months or cooled during summer months.

 The station will include security and fire protection equipment, but advanced passenger amenities will not be provided. The station will be accessible to people with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but the station’s configuration will require four separate elevator rides to reach street-level.

Emergency exists will be provided, but they will lead passengers to the WTC bathtub area with access to the street via the temporary access ramp and one temporary stairway to West Street.

10 Development of Alternatives PANYNJ conducted a preliminary review of alternatives for the restoration of Permanent PATH service to Lower Manhattan. As described above, the primary goal of the project is to effectively restore long-term transit service between New Jersey and Lower Manhattan. Because a large portion of the PATH infrastructure remains in tact, including the Hudson Tubes and the connections to stations in New Jersey, the most effective means of restoring transit service is the reuse of existing facilities, where possible.

Since PATH continues to operate within New Jersey and Midtown Manhattan, it would not be cost or time effective to replace the system with an alternative mode. Thus any transit service to Lower Manhattan through the Hudson Tubes must be heavy-rail of the same specifications as the existing PATH system. Given these conditions, the only logical alternatives for a future Permanent PATH Terminal in Lower Manhattan would be alternate station locations, as compared to the pre-September 11, 2001 WTC Terminal.

PANYNJ studied four locations on and off the WTC site that would accommodate the existing PATH infrastructure. These sites are described below:

  • · WTC "bathtub": A loop-track facility would be constructed in the same location as the temporary station within the WTC bathtub.
  • · Church Street Terminal: A loop-track facility would be constructed within the WTC site with the platform and tracks oriented adjacent to and along Church Street.
  • · Broadway/Nassau Street Stub-end: A stub-end terminal would be constructed east of the WTC site with an east/west orientation beneath the proposed Fulton Street Transit Center.
  • · Vesey Street Terminal: A loop-track facility would be constructed within the WTC site with the platform and tracks oriented adjacent to and along Vesey Street.

Preliminary analysis showed that both the Vesey and Broadway-Nassau Street options would not provide for significant improvements in service as compared to the pre-September 11, 2001 condition and would result in suspension of temporary PATH service during construction. While the Church Street option would provide for similar service and local transit connections as the "bathtub" option, it would be more costly, would result in a more difficult connection to the World Financial Center, and would limit the development potential for the WTC site. Therefore, these alternatives have been eliminated from further consideration.

Description of the Proposed Action Alternative

The Permanent WTC PATH Terminal would consist of five levels—platform level; mezzanine level; lower concourse level; upper concourse level; and street level terminal building (see Figure 3).

The platform and mezzanine levels would have a north-south orientation and would be located immediately west of NYCT’s 1/9 train tubes and the proposed Greenwich Street extension. The four newly constructed platforms would be long enough to accommodate 10-car trains in accordance with PATH’s long-range goal to increase the operational capacity of the system, and five tracks will allow for increased queuing capacity during peak periods.

Fare equipment would be located on the mezzanine level. The platforms and mezzanine will be fully enclosed with heating, air conditioning, and advanced communication and security systems. The lower concourse, upper concourse, and street-level concourse as well as the terminal building would be located on the eastern portion of the WTC site extending from Greenwich to Church Streets.

The mezzanine and lower concourse levels would connect via a passage under the NYCT’s 1/9 train tubes and over to the western side of the site. The lower concourse would have pedestrian passageways in the north, south, and west directions. The south passageway would extend across Church and Liberty Streets, terminating within Liberty Plaza. The west passageway would cross beneath Route 9A to the World Financial Center.

These passageways will also provide access to the proposed towers on the WTC site at intermediate points along their routes. The upper concourse level would provide access to NYCT’s Cortlandt Street Station on the 1/9 routes; the Cortlandt Street Station on the N/R routes; the World Trade Center Station on the E route; and the existing corridor to One Liberty Plaza; and street-level at the intersections of Fulton and Greenwich Streets and Vesey and Church Streets. The passageway to the N/R station would also connect with the proposed pedestrian connection to the Fulton Street Transit Center.

A terminal building would provide street-level access to the WTC site and Greenwich and Church Streets. It would also provide natural light to the concourses below. The Proposed Action would also include certain ancillary facilities and systems, including mechanicals, ventilation, communications, and security. Accessory retail would be located within the Permanent WTC PATH Terminal.

Assuming the timely completion of the environmental review process, construction of the Permanent WTC PATH Terminal is expected to begin in late 2004 or early 2005. Components of the station, including the platforms, mezzanine, and certain pedestrian connections would be completed by the end of 2006. The remaining portions of the Terminal, including pedestrian connections and the terminal building would be completed in phases between 2007 and 2009. September 26, 2003

Additional Design Alternatives The transportation analysis for the EIS will provide an assessment of potential operational and construction-period impacts to traffic; parking; transit; and pedestrian facilities in the vicinity of the WTC site. It will also describe the proposed operational changes to PATH service that could result from construction and operation of the Permanent WTC Terminal. It will also qualitatively describe the long-term impacts to Lower Manhattan if PATH service were not restored.

The pre-September 11, 2001 WTC PATH terminal generated a minimal volume of auto and taxi trips. (Approximately 1 percent of connecting trips to or from the pre-September 11, 2001 WTC PATH Terminal were made by auto, and less than a half-percent were made by taxi.)

The longterm traffic conditions will be considered in the EIS. Furthermore, impacts during the construction-period will be assessed, identifying the volume of construction traffic generated, potential street and/or lane closures, and routes expected to be used by trucks to and from the site. The EIS will identify and evaluate traffic capacity improvements or other measures to mitigate significant impacts if such impacts are identified.

 PATH ridership is expected to increase through 2025. Much of this increase will be attributed to the construction of new office towers on the WTC site, but additional growth, which was anticipated prior to September 11, 2001, is expected.. The EIS will identify the linkages of PATH riders to other transit services (primarily nearby subway lines) and to the street network. It is possible that different access/egress points to the street network above could alter pedestrian crossing locations and require pedestrian analyses at selected intersections in the immediate area.

These conditions and the potential for significant impacts will be addressed in the EIS. The project’s website, www.panynj.gov/pathrestoration , contains project information, published documents, public meeting notices, and a forum for the electronic submission of questions or comments.

Return Home