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    A New Twist at the PATH Station

By David W. Dunlap
PATH Trains Hudson Tubes WTCThe new “temporary” entrance to the PATH station at the World Trade Center, facing Vesey Street, will serve commuters until 2011. This picture was taken on Monday evening, hours before its scheduled opening.

The 50,000 PATH commuters heading into Lower Manhattan on Tuesday morning will find a new direction — north — to leave the World Trade Center terminal.

This is the third temporary PATH terminal entrance and exit to have been constructed since 9/11. The modest structure stands on Vesey Street, at the confluence of Greenwich Street and West Broadway, opposite the 7 World Trade Center plaza. Like the current station and the one that was destroyed, it has an imposing bank of escalators running between the mezzanine and concourse levels. It will be in use until 2011, when the final version of the terminal, designed by Santiago Calatrava, will be completed.

The current entrance on Church Street is to stay open about two more weeks. Once it is shut down, the entire west side of Church Street, between Vesey and Liberty Streets, will be closed to pedestrians. (That means Philip Belpasso, the street flutist who ceaselessly plays “Amazing Grace” at ground zero, will have to find a new perch.) “This will be the last ‘temporary’ entrance,” said Steven Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “The next time we announce an entrance, it will be the permanent entrance to the Calatrava station.”

PATH Train Hudson Tubes viewing WTCBesides the convenience of the Church Street entrance, PATH travelers will also lose one of the best public viewing spots around the trade center site: a fence running along the edge of the concourse level, offering views directly into the construction area, where people often stepped out of the commuting tide to reflect quietly.

There is really no such thing as quiet any longer on those 16 acres.

On the mezzanine level of the existing station, the route to the new Vesey Street escalators is already clear. What will be lost in the transition is the viewing area on the concourse of the Church Street entrance. Commuters could glimpse through this fence at the construction activity at ground zero. It was one of the best public vantages available anywhere around the site.

Comments (7)

1. April 1st, 2008 10:01 am It never ceases to amaze me how the richest most powerful city in the world can have such amateurish transportation solutions. This new temporary station is simply embarrassing. 9/11 was almost 7 years ago! Will we walking in puddles (at times frozen), dust, and mud for another 3 years? — Posted by Felipe

2. April 1st, 2008 10:39 am Felipe, It’s really very simple- the city is not in control of its transportation infrastructure. Both the PATH and NYC Transit are controlled from outside of the city. Our money goes to Albany, Washington, and the various “Authorities”, and the little that comes back is what goes to fund our transportation. That’s why I doubt congestion pricing will be of any benefit to the city- it’s just another $500 million for Albany. — Posted by Boris

pATH Trains Hudson Tubes Hudson & Manhattan RR WTC3. April 1st, 2008 11:13 am I’d like to know how come the Port Authority always gets the job done, efficiently, safely, quietly, within budget and on time - every time. I remember well the old H&M Tubes. When the PA took over, lots of folks were afraid the already fragile service would suffer. They have gone from strength to strength. Their equipment is lovely; a joy to look at and a pleasure to ride. The employees are chipper and courteous. When they change something, it’s no big secret until the last minute — they keep folks informed every step of the way. I have no connection with the PA or the PATH except as an occasional [before I retired I used to be regular] user. There ought to be some kind of award they could be given for all they do, every day, to make Manhattan and Jersey City more liveable and pleasant. — Posted by old Hudson Tube rider

4. April 1st, 2008 11:32 am Hey post number 3… On time? On budget? It’s obvious you haven’t used the system in 30 years… — Posted by scott

5. April 1st, 2008 12:13 pm Looks good - the PA deserves a medal for the quality of their “temporary” structures. Although they have a certain looks-like-a-Staples sparse minimalism to them, they exceed the quality of many MTA permanent stations. The new route north should cut out a lot of time for WFC workers and BPC residents - this was always a pain even with the old WTC. Will the permanent station allow passengers to exit from the station mezzanine directly west? This is in some ways far more important than the minor time savings of underground connections to MTA subways to the east. — Posted by uSkyscraper

6. April 1st, 2008 1:30 pm The new permanent station will be connected to an underground walkway that runs west to WFC/BPC, and east to the Fulton Street subway complex. You will be able to walk almost comletely across lower manhattan underground when it is all finished — Posted by Usher

7. April 2nd, 2008 10:42 am This temporary entrance adds a few blocks more for those walking to lower broadway. Really an overhead walkway should have been constructed so pedestians can avoid the traffic. Now added to the mess are the crossing construction vehicles and narrowing of the sidewalks to get to your destinations. Wait until the tourists catch on to the new views and cause more conjestion. Will it take a pedestrian/auto accident to close off the streets? The streets such as church street should be closed until the new station is completed. — Posted by MIKE

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