Volume 17 • Issue 18 | SEPTEMBER 24 - 30, 2004

C.B. 1 gives lukewarm support to ramp location

By Ronda Kaysen

Underwhelmed by three problematic options for a location for the World Trade Center entrance ramp, Community Board 1 at its September meeting settled on plan B — which is convenient for traffic and unwieldy for pedestrians — with strong suggestions for city planners.

Plan B places the entrance and exit ramp along the south side of Liberty St., opposite the memorial and beneath the proposed 35,000 square foot Liberty Park. The park would have to be elevated significantly to accommodate the ramp, which will funnel delivery trucks, tour buses and cars in and out of the underground World Trade Center parking garage. In the selected plan, pedestrian foot traffic along the south side of Liberty St. will be somewhat unwieldy.

In its resolution, the board requested the city incorporate pedestrian safety measures into the plan, including traffic signals and signage. Madelyn Wils, the board’s chairperson, insisted that Liberty St. — which will remain a two-way street between Greenwich and West Sts. in the favored plan – be two-way along its entire length. “If you are going to go with B,” she said “Liberty St. has to be two-way through and through.” She also expressed disappointment that the secondary entrance on Vesey St. at the north end of the site was removed from the proposal altogether.

The best plan for pedestrians — option C — places the ramp off of West St., north of Cedar St. and also calls for an elevated park. The board shied from option C because of the burden on vehicular traffic. U-turns along West St. will increase traffic congestion and backup. According to the L.M.D.C., Option C is the best plan for Liberty Park.
Option A, which would have allowed the park to remain at-grade because of its location on the north side of Liberty St., requires converting Liberty St., between Greenwich and West Sts., into a one-way street, an alternative the board did not support.

“None of the city agencies presented an option [to the W.T.C. committee] that they preferred,” said board member Jennifer Hensley at the board’s Sept. 21 public meeting.

Some board members remain unsatisfied with all options. “It’s going to be the world’s busiest garage,” said board member Barry Skolnick. “It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Board member Pat Moore was not convinced that the favored plan would mitigate traffic concerns, as the city suggested. “I felt that option B was going to throw all of the traffic onto Church St. and Broadway,” she said. Moore voted against the proposal.

Skolnick also expressed concern about the aesthetic problems of placing a major entrance ramp directly in the memorial’s line of view. “Aesthetically, what people are looking at when they’re looking at the memorial is the world’s busiest garage.” He suggested rejecting all three options and send the city back to the drawing board.

The board also requested that the L.M.D.C., Port Authority and other involved agencies keep them abreast of developments in the design plans and safety measures.


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