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[1] Tuesday, January 08, 2002

Big Transit Ideas Downtown  PATH, subway links, store concourse eyed

Daily News Staff Writers

The state-city agency charged with rebuilding lower Manhattan will explore creating a downtown transit hub along the lines of Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, the board chairman said yesterday. John Whitehead, head of the Lower Manhattan
Redevelopment Corp., said rebuilding and improving mass transit links around the World Trade Center site is a priority for the panel.

Transit repair would be addressed in two broad phases. Short-term emergency needs — the resumption of PATH train and subway service — would be completed as quickly as possible, Whitehead said at the agency's second meeting. At the same time, the agency would explore constructing a "central terminal ... akin to the
major terminals that are uptown," Whitehead said. The Long Island Rail Road could be connected to the terminal, but nothing has been decided.

An East-West Passage

Several preliminary concepts are being worked on. The most detailed, coming from the Port Authority, envisions an underground mega-hub with connections to the PATH and 14 subway lines, and retail space similar to what was in the destroyed World Trade Center concourse. Stretching 3,000 feet, the passageway would
originate at the World Financial Center along West St. — near expanded commuter ferry slips on the Hudson River — and extend to William St. on the east side. Customers could whisk through the hub on airport-style people movers to reach shops, a new PATH station below Ground Zero or subway stops — the 1 and 9 lines on the west side, the N and R trains at Church St. and the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, E, J, M and Z lines at the Broadway-Nassau/Fulton St. station.

That station, a dingy depot that connects a tangle of subway lines initially constructed to be separate, also would receive a facelift and be expanded to include more retail space. "The idea is to replicate what we did at the World Trade Center over at Fulton," said Chris Ward, the PA's chief of strategic planning. "If
we are going to build a great PATH station, there also should be something similar on the east side."

About 70,000 subway riders a day pass through turnstiles into the Broadway-Nassau / Fulton St.  station. Tens of thousands more transfer there. Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Tom Kelly said the agency is
working with the PA to develop a subway-PATH plan but added that the concepts were in "preliminary stages."  "The MTA will go along with whatever the ultimate decision is by the redevelopment agency," he said.

Bringing Downtown Back

The PA has estimated that building a PATH station would cost about $1.5 billion and take four to five years. In the meantime, it will construct a temporary station with an entrance on Church St. that could be open in 18 months to two years. The possibility of better rail connections and a renovated Broadway-Nassau/Fulton St. station was praised by Gene Russianoff, staff attorney with the Straphangers Campaign.  "It seems to me there is a consensus that transportation is key to bringing downtown back," he said. "If you want to attract people, you have to make it better than it was, and better means better connections."

[2]  January 7, 2002
Transit Hub Considered For Downtown Rebuilding Project

A transit hub similar to Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal could be included in plans to rebuild Downtown Manhattan.  At its second meeting Monday, the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation said it is exploring the possibility of creating a station that connects the PATH train and sup to six subway lines.

"If a new terminal is built at that location around Church Street where there was an old terminal years ago, then we would have better interconnecting between people who are commuting from the PATH and extending their travel onto New York City transit," said Charles Gargano of the commission.

The terminal would come complete with moving  walkways and a new mall similar to the one that was under the World Trade Center.  John Whitehead, the chairman of the commission, said the first priority is to restore subway and PATH service in the area with stopgap measures.  The Port Authority plans to begin construction on a temporary PATH station with an entrance on church street. Officials hopes to open the station in 18 months.

The PATH tubes underneath the World Trade Center and some nearby subway tunnels were crushed in the collapse of the twin towers September 11. The only
PATH service now available is on the line along Sixth Avenue to Midtown.

Another ambitious measure under consideration is extending the Long Island Railroad from Brooklyn into the new terminal.  Gargano said that an existing C subway line could be used to accommodate the Long Island Railroad coming in from Brooklyn. To complete the connection, he said, the city would have to build a section of tunnel to Lower Manhattan.

A feasibility study conducted by the MTA last summer concluded that the multi-billion dollar price tag for extending the commuter rail line would be too high.
The report said that the money would be better spent on a full length Second Avenue subway line.  "You have so many competing needs that are really
expensive," said Beverly Dolinsky of the Transit Riders Council. "We need to look at this in terms of cost-benefit. There are a number of people who would benefit. There are other things that take priority."

While the MTA declined to comment on camera, officials at the agency echoed the same concerns, saying that a Long Island Railroad connection to Downtown would be too expensive, especially considering the limited number of people who would

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