Volume 19 • Issue 9 | July 14- - 20, 2006

Community Board 1 members were happy with this new revised truck rerouting plan, which will not require delivery trucks going to the World Financial Center to turn onto Albany St. or to make a left onto the driveway from Liberty St.

D.O.T. changes truck plan to neighbors delight

By Janet Kwon

The State Department of Transportation has changed its previous truck-rerouting plan, easing fears of Battery Park City residents who were worried about traffic congestion.

State D.O.T., in conjunction with the Port Authority, had initially planned to have delivery trucks going to and from the World Financial Center to go around 1 W.F.C. and make a dicey left onto the delivery driveway. But residents voiced concerns about the potential dangers of this route as well as the increased traffic caused by the trucks. After hearing Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee’s concerns last month, D.O.T. and the authority went back to the drawing board and came up with a plan that satisfied everyone.

The changes are needed to build an underground connection to the World Trade Center train station and to repair Route 9A.

The original plan had Route 9A southbound trucks looping around Albany St., South End Ave., Liberty St., making a left into the driveway then exiting in the same fashion. Under the new and improved plan, trucks can enter Liberty St. and take a right turn into the driveway. On their way out, they can make an easy right turn onto Liberty St., then wrap around South End Ave., right onto Albany St., then onto the highway.

The new plan calmed the committee’s fears of the dangerous left turn into the driveway, and State D.O.T. and the authority kept part of the original plan to avoid an awkward blocking situation at the intersection of 9A and Liberty St.

“I personally thank you gentlemen,” Linda Belfer, chairperson of the C.B. 1 committee, told officials at the Tuesday night meeting. “I feel much better than the last meeting,” she said with a sigh of relief.

Tom Harknett, a consulting engineer from Vollmer Associates working for State D.O.T. who gave the presentation at the meeting, also gave the results of a March-April D.O.T. survey in which the number of cars and small and medium trucks going into the driveway was counted.

“That translates into about one medium truck every six minutes, during the morning peak period,” explained D.O.T.’s Adam Levine. Peak morning time is between 6 to 7 a.m.

As part of that survey, D.O.T. kept tabs on a number of trucks entering and exiting the driveway, to note which routes they took.

Also, Harknett presented a simulated animation of what the original and new plans would look like, using the survey data, in order to represent correct vehicle proportions.

The new route, however, can only last for about 12 months, due to the furthering of 9A construction that would prevent vehicles from making a right from southbound 9A onto Liberty St. safely.

The change in truck routes is expected to begin this November, when the Port is to begin work on the the underground East-West Concourse. [Downtown Express incorrectly reported the start date in the hard copy edition.] So, when the 12-month clock, starting in November, runs out, what next?

D.O.T. admitted that there might be a possibility of reverting back to the rejected route at that point, but also said that they would conduct further research to try and come up with an alternate plan.

“We might have to go back to [the original plan] because of the space issue and because there is a limit on how many cars can queue up on Liberty St…but we’ll look to see if there’s anything else to come up with so we could hopefully improve,” Levine said. He added that D.O.T. will take everything into account during that 12-month phase, including changing traffic patterns, and working with city D.O.T. to improve backups on South End Ave.

In light of the presentation, the B.P.C. committee members were thoroughly pleased with the outcome of the new route and decided to pass a resolution to accept it.


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