downtownexpress.com

Volume 20, Number 40 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Feb. 15 - 21 , 2008

Cortlandt station may reopen soon, M.T.A. says

Subway riders headed for the World Trade Center haven’t been able to get off at the Cortlandt St. stop of the R/W train since 2005, when the station closed indefinitely for construction.

Now, at the urging of community members, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is looking at ways to reopen the station, or at least half of it.

Bill Wheeler, director of planning for the M.T.A., told Community Board 1 that construction is almost complete on the entrance to northbound R/W trains, on the east side of Church St. An entrance to southbound trains, which would be on the west side of Church St., will not be possible for years because of the construction at the World Trade Center.

Meanwhile, the M.T.A. is building an underpass that would allow riders to enter the station at the northbound entrance but then cross beneath the tracks to take southbound trains.

“We’re trying to get it open as quickly as possible,” Wheeler said, but he did not give a timeline.

“You would be heroes,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of the C.B. 1 W.T.C. Redevelopment Committee.

Barry Skolnick, a board member, suggested opening the northbound platform as soon as the entrance is complete, even if the underpass to the southbound side is not yet ready. Wheeler said he would look into doing that.

Skolnick also continued to advocate for an elevator at the E train’s W.T.C. stop. The station’s handicapped riders have been using the Port Authority’s elevator to the connecting PATH station, but when the temporary PATH entrance moves to Vesey St. within the next few weeks, the elevator will go with it, no longer serving the E train. “What about the frail, the handicapped, the people with luggage and strollers?” Skolnick asked.

Wheeler replied that the M.T.A. never intended to have an elevator serving the E train — the elevator was always part of the World Trade Center, and it will return when the final PATH station is complete in 2012. “We don’t have a solution,” Wheeler said.

Skolnick asked if Wheeler would consider putting in a ramp, if elevators are too expensive, but Wheeler said there isn’t room. However, he told Skolnick not to give up. “Continue to urge us,” Wheeler said.

— Julie Shapiro





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