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 PATH Triumphantly Returns to Lower Manhattan

 November 24, 2003

In a modest morning ceremony, the World Trade Center PATH station was ushered back into service Sunday after just 16 months of construction. To an estimated 50,000 commuters a day, its reopening means convenience and savings. To countless more, it is a living testament to the resiliency and determination of New York City.

 The station, run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is designed to serve as a temporary space. As a result, riders will notice that it features simple design -- bare concrete walls, exposed beams -- and no heating, air conditioning, or restrooms. They may also notice that the station's layout is nearly identical to the original in terms of track placement and escalator location.

Government and Port Authority officials arrived at the station yesterday on board what was the last train to leave the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. They were accompanied by family members of September 11 victims and by some of that day's heroes from the Port Authority and city police department. New York Gov. George Pataki was home with the flu and missed the ceremony, which was closed to the public. The same PATH train choices as before 9-11 At the podium, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg emphasized the incredible accomplishment of the Port Authority in completing the station ahead of schedule and in such a short timeframe. "I don't think there is anything better we could do to remember 2,800 lost lives other than to do what they would do and go on," he added.

Constructing the station cost $323 million and was the last of three phases of restoration. The first two phases, which totaled $496 million, involved renovating the Exchange Place station in Jersey City and restoring both tunnels under the Hudson River, which were flooded upon the collapse of the twin towers.

The new station offers direct links to the N, R, and E trains PATH riders can enter the temporary station at the corner of Church and Vesey Streets, where they will descend a wide bank of stairs to the mezzanine level (elevators are also available). From there, they can choose between Newark, Journal Square, or Hoboken-bound trains, or access the subway's E train or N and R Cortlandt Street station.

Those exiting the station and heading west to Battery Park City can use the Vesey Street walkway and pedestrian bridge over West Street. Or they can turn south on Church and west on Liberty Street to enter the World Financial Center directly by footbridge.

A glimpse of Ground Zero from the station The restored station is the first in the PATH system to accept Metropolitan Transit Authority pay-per-ride MetroCards -- all other PATH stations will begin accepting the cards in late 2004. This inter-agency alliance heralds what's to come at the permanent World Trade Center transportation hub, which the Port Authority plans to link to the city's proposed Fulton Street Transit Center.

Port Authority Executive Director Joseph Seymour explained that the permanent transportation hub "will include a permanent PATH terminal, pedestrian connections to ferry and subway service across Lower Manhattan, and a grand point of arrival that will be worthy of this site." World-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava has been charged with designing the future hub and is expected to submit preliminary drawings for the space in spring 2004. The proposed cost of the station is $2 billion, and its opening has been scheduled for 2006.

Banners, murals, and plaques commemorate the station's reopening As for the temporary station, 280 PATH trains are set to travel there each weekday - bringing with them immediate benefits for the downtown economy. "One-third of all the people who work in Lower Manhattan commute from New Jersey," said Charles Gargano, Port Authority vice chairman. "[The station's] opening will significantly aid our efforts to retain jobs in Lower Manhattan, and to create new jobs in the nation's third-largest business district." "This is one of the most important events to occur downtown since September 11," said Mike O'Connor, senior vice president of operations for the Alliance for Downtown New York. "Look at it this way: It's taken commuters twice as long and cost them twice as much to get down here since the attacks.

Most of these people took PATH -- and finally they can again." At yesterday's ceremony, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey stood proudly beneath the "Welcome to PATH" sign at the station's mezzanine entrance, and noted that perhaps the station's greatest triumph is its resumption of normalcy. "I'd like to thank the people who will use this station tomorrow morning -- they are our new heroes," he said. "They are the people who will keep this region going." For in-depth stories about the restoration of World Trade Center PATH service, read The PATH to a Stronger Lower Manhattan, WTC PATH Work Progressing Steadily, Sensitively, and Path to Recovery: Restoring the WTC PATH Station. Click here to access PATH train schedules.

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