Governor George E. Pataki today outlined a bold new plan for the revitalization of Lower Manhattan -- announcing a set of priority projects to restore Lower Manhattan's transportation infrastructure and lay the foundation for the area's future growth. The Governor also announced new efforts to boost tourism and help small businesses in the downtown area, as well as $50 million in short-term capital projects that will improve accessibility and enhance the quality-of-life in and around Lower Manhattan. "Today I am announcing a plan for a 21st century transportation network that befits the nation's third largest central business district and the financial capital of the world," Governor Pataki said. "This will be an aggressive schedule that will serve as a catalyst for the economic rebirth of Lower Manhattan. Working with Mayor Bloomberg and our New York City partners, we will move quickly and decisively to create a transportation system that will be the envy of the world." The transportation blueprint, called Lower Manhattan Transportation Strategies, consists of four fundamental pillars:
The transportation system will need to accommodate the changes in transportation brought about by September 11, 2001, such as the creation of a memorial that will attract at least 5 million visitors a year, the transformation of the World Trade Center site, and the broader revitalization of Lower Manhattan into a community bustling with new cultural institutions and public spaces. The Governor noted that substantial upgrades to the area's rail, ferry and street systems will be instrumental to retaining and growing Lower Manhattan's commercial base, improving visitor experiences, and raising the quality of life for residents and workers. Highlights of the transportation initiative include: Direct Rail Access from Long Island/JFK and Newark Liberty Airports Regional and airport access is crucial to Lower Manhattan's continued viability as the financial capital of the world and as the country's third largest central business district. The infrastructure investments that provide JFK airport access can at the same time serve the fast-growing counties of Long Island, and enhance the quality of travel experience for commuters. The Governor announced that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), working with the City and the transportation agencies, will analyze various options for Long Island and JFK access and select the best plan within one year. Once a plan is chosen, the process will lead into formal environmental review. By the end of this review, fund sources will be identified and construction will proceed. During this same period, the Port Authority will proceed with its study and preliminary design work to extend the PATH train 2.5 miles to Newark Liberty Airport. The project is expected to be completed in 7-8 years. Lower Manhattan Transit Complex The complex will consist of a new grand PATH terminal on the World Trade Center site and a new Fulton Street Transit Center at Broadway and Fulton, connected by an underground concourse. The path terminal will welcome 150,000 people a day in the downtown area. Located on Church Street and Fulton and Dey, the terminal will open onto a large public square envisioned by Daniel Libeskind where cultural facilities, a new hotel and conference center and a major new office building will converge. The terminal, which will become a new architectural icon for Lower Manhattan recognized around the world, will also provide an important civic space for exhibitions and events. It will be equipped with longer platforms that can accommodate 10 PATH cars instead of the previous 8 -- thereby increasing capacity by 25 percent and enhancing the commuter experience on the line. The estimated cost of the permanent PATH terminal is $1.7 billion to $2 billion and it will be completed in phases over 3 to 6 years. The PATH Terminal and the Fulton Street Transit Center are expected to open in 2006. South Ferry Subway Station The MTA will proceed with a plan for a completely redesigned station that will accommodate the full length of a typical 10-car subway train, rather than the 5-car platform that exists today. New connections to the Staten Island Ferry and the N, R station at Whitehall Street will also be made possible. The upgraded South Ferry station will improve the commuter experience for passengers traveling to Lower Manhattan from Penn Station, as well as for Staten Island residents headed for destinations in Manhattan. The Governor also announced that the MTA has developed a new plan for reconstructing South Ferry that does not jeopardize our valuable park land. West, Fulton and Greenwich Street Renewal The transportation plan will also transform West Street, a wide expanse of concrete and pavement that today isolates Battery Park City from the rest of downtown. Under the plan, this highway will be remade into a magnificent tree-lined promenade. West Street will become downtown's signature boulevard "a distinguished stretch rather than a barren divide. Adjacent to the World Trade Center site, a new short tunnel from Vesey Street to Liberty Street will divert loud, fast-moving highway traffic underground to protect the dignity of the memorial, while also providing an elegant welcome at the front door of the World Financial Center. The plan will also restore Fulton and Greenwich Streets through the World Trade Center site, infusing life across the full length of these streets. Dozens of new shops, cafes, and restaurants will be created that will extend the workday vitality of Lower Manhattan into the evenings and weekends. Coupled with the Downtown Alliance's beautiful streetscape improvements and the ongoing work of the state and city departments of transportation, these new investments will link together the many neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan “from Tribeca to the Financial District, from Chinatown to Battery Park City. Ferry Service In addition to the JFK Direct Rail Access project, the Port Authority will facilitate a ferry service between Lower Manhattan and JFK by 2005. This will serve as an interim measure to create more direct airport access to Lower Manhattan. To enhance LaGuardia Airport connections, a fast ferry will also run between Lower Manhattan's ferry terminals and a new LaGuardia ferry terminal, where shuttle buses will deliver passengers directly to the airline terminals. Enhancing and expanding ferry service to Lower Manhattan is a key means of linking Lower Manhattan to the region. Already, the private ferry fleet operating in New York Harbor is the largest in the United States, with Lower Manhattan being the prime destination. Identifying precisely how to expand ferry service to Lower Manhattan from throughout the region will require a focused, formal study. An interagency study involving the Port Authority, City of New York, and LMDC will be undertaken to identify lines for continued investments as well as viable new routes throughout the region. The Governor also announced today that the Port Authority will move up the completion date for its temporary PATH train, making it available to the 65,000 commuters from New Jersey who lost this direct rail access to Lower Manhattan. With the completion of this project, every transportation connection disrupted on September 11, 2001 will have been restored. The blueprint for a state-of-the-art, world-class integrated transportation system was prepared by a team that includes the LMDC, the Office of the Mayor, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (the Port Authority), the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA), the State Department of Transportation and other partner state and city agencies. SHORT-TERM QUALITY OF LIFE INITIATIVES FOR DOWNTOWN The Governor also called on the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to implement approximately $50 million in short-term capital projects that will improve accessibility and enhance the quality-of-life in and around Lower Manhattan. Most of the short-term projects, which were identified with the help of the Mayor's office and business and community leaders will be completed within 6 months, and all within one year. At the Governor's direction, the Empire State Development Corporation will also fund a new, three-point-plan targeted directly to helping tourism and small businesses in Lower Manhattan. "I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and the many business and community leaders who played vital roles in identifying which projects should be pursued most aggressively to ensure Lower Manhattan continues on the track to revitalization," Governor Pataki said. "We must make navigating Lower Manhattan easier, and improve the aesthetics in the area as we continue to normalize conditions for workers, residents and visitors." Improving Access The completion of the following projects will make it easier to navigate the World Trade Center site as Lower Manhattan is rebuilt:
Quality-of-Life Enhancements The Governor has called on the LMDC to undertake a number of initiatives to make the Lower Manhattan community a better place to live, work and visit. Mayor Bloomberg shares that vision. Some projects include:
Governor Pataki also announced that Verizon will complete its scaffolding work this summer. The building will be enclosed and work will begin to convert 90 West, one of Lower Manhattan's architectural treasures, into a residential building with 410 units. These are only a fraction of the improvements that will occur in Lower Manhattan over the next several months. Taken together, they will help convince businesses and residents to remain downtown while New Yorkers work hard to realize the long-term vision of rebuilding and revitalizing Lower Manhattan. Promoting Tourism and Business Growth Empire State Development Corporation is also funding a new, three-point-plan targeted directly to helping tourism and small businesses in Lower Manhattan.