Volume 19 • Issue 5 | June 16 - 22, 2006

Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel

More trucks are expected to drive into Battery Park City later this summer.

Project will drive trucks into B.P.C.

By Janet Kwon

More trucks will be driving into Battery Park City starting this summer as the Port Authority plans to reroute delivery traffic to build a passageway under West St.

Members of Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee were angered and disturbed to learn of the plans, which would require delivery trucks going to and from the World Financial Center to circle the buildings.

The rerouting, as well as other changes to the surrounding area, is necessary in order for the Port Authority to carry out plans for the underground pedestrian walkway that will connect the World Trade PATH station to an area in front of the Winter Garden. The “East-West Concourse” will be about 35 feet wide. Also, plans for commercial development in the concourse are underway, with plans for retail stores to line the length of the walkway.

The Port’s Peter Rinaldi, who gave the presentation, said the construction will begin for the concourse this August or September and will reach completion around early 2009, which angered the community board.

“Fifteen trucks an hour and going into Albany St. and down South End Ave — do you know what that’s going to do to Gateway Plaza? It’s totally ridiculous,” said Linda Belfer, chairperson of the B.P.C. Committee. The trucks would go right past Gateway, home to a few thousand people.

Arrows show the route World Financial Center delivery trucks will take starting this August or September, while the Port Authority builds an underground passageway.

In order to build the concourse, there are a few things that need to be relocated and rerouted. The first stages of construction will involve relocating the current bikeway and walkway in front of One World Financial Center, as well as modifying the garage access in front of Two World Financial Center. Due to the relocated driveway access, delivery trucks headed to and from Two W.F.C. will be rerouted. Trucks headed southbound on 9A will have to take a right onto Albany St., go down South End Ave., turn right onto Liberty St. then turn left on to the relocated driveway, where they will be held at the holding queue then checked at the security point. Rinaldi said that the truck flow averages about 10 — 15 vehicles per hour, with 15 being a high average during peak hours of 6 to 7 a.m.

Others from the community board asked Rinaldi if the Port Authority had considered any other options besides this specific route.

“We couldn’t find any other way of routing for it to work out with the plans we had for 9A work that was coming, as well as working with the [state] D.O.T.,” Rinaldi responded.

Richard Schmalz, the state Department of Transportation’s project director on the Route 9A renovation project, who was also at the meeting, added that there will be signs and traffic controlling agents on the route. He ensured the board that the D.O.T. will “make sure we have adequate provisions there.”

Concerns were voiced from several board members about the amount of traffic congestion that already exists around the rerouted area. More specifically, going from Liberty St. and taking a left onto South End Ave. toward the entrance into Gateway Plaza, near the site of the large parking garage. This point was followed by whispers of, “It’s terrible, it’s just terrible… it’s just gridlock,” floating through the room.

Regarding the community’s concern of the increased traffic volume to an already congested area, Steve Coleman, Port Authority spokesman, said later, “Ten trucks per hour will not cause any major truck congestion in that area. We don’t expect there will be a problem.”

To iron out the details of the East-West Concourse, Schmalz said that D.O.T. would be back at the next committee meeting in July after making further developments to the current plan.

“I think it’s very important that we continue to discuss this issue,” Belfer said.


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