Volume 20, Number 33 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Dec. 28, 2007 - Jan. 3, 2008

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PATH hub date pushed back a year

The PATH transportation hub at the World Trade Center will not open until 2011, the Port Authority said last week.

In a September press briefing, Port Authority leaders said the PATH station was on schedule to open in 2009. But an end-of-year report shows that the station will not take shape until 2010 and will not be finished until 2011. The station, designed by Santiago Calatrava, will cost at least $2 billion to build.

Meanwhile, the next phase of World Trade Center work will narrow Church St., displacing pedestrians and shifting the temporary entrance to the PATH station several blocks.

Once the Port Authority turns the eastern bathtub of the World Trade Center site over to Silverstein Properties, the developer will start building the foundations of Towers 3 and 4. That construction will spill over onto the west side of Church St., the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center told the Community Board 1 Quality of Life Committee last week.

Within the next few months, the entrance to the PATH station will move from Church St. to the corner of Greenwich and Vesey Sts., said Josh Rosenbloom, director of city operations for the L.M.C.C.C. This will be the third and last temporary entrance for the station and will be in use for “several years,” Rosenbloom said, adding that the dates are not final.

“Construction of this magnitude is very complicated — things could change,” Rosenbloom said.

The Port has already started dismantling the temporary station and will begin demolishing it in earnest toward the end of the first quarter of 2008, he said.

When the PATH entrance moves, the station will no longer have an underground connection to the A, C, E or 2, 3 trains. Construction will also demolish the elevator on Church St. that currently serves both PATH trains and the subway. Port Authority will build a new elevator on Vesey St., but it will only go to the PATH station, said Steve Coleman, a Port spokesperson.

The Silverstein work will also restrict Church St. to two lanes of traffic and will move all pedestrians onto the east side of the street, from Liberty St. to Vesey St., Rosenbloom said. The restrictions will be phased in over the next six months.

Board members were concerned that the sidewalk on the east side of Church St. is already congested because of Metropolitan Transportation Authority work.

“It’s hard to walk,” board member Barry Skolnick said. “It’s going to be totally pedestrian-unfriendly.”

The M.T.A. is working at Church and Dey Sts. to build a corridor between the World Trade Center and Fulton St. transportation hubs, said spokesperson Jeremy Soffin. The work is scheduled to be complete by April.

The plan is for the Port Authority to phase in the sidewalk closure and street narrowing as M.T.A. finishes and phases out its work, Rosenbloom said.

“It’s a delicate balance,” he added. Rosenbloom would not commit to waiting for M.T.A. to finish before starting the Port Authority work.

“We’re trying to live down here,” Skolnick replied. “M.T.A. is famous for being behind schedule. I’m very concerned, and I don’t think it’s acceptable.”

— Julie Shapiro

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