Governor George E. Pataki and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today opened the West Street Promenade South, a tree-lined pedestrian walkway extending along both sides of Route 9A (West Street) from West Thames Street to Battery Place in Lower Manhattan. Roadway and sidewalk improvements provide increased pedestrian space by adding recreational areas and lush greenery to the heavily trafficked roadway and complete a substantial portion of the Hudson River Park.
“With today’s opening of the Promenade South, our bold vision for transportation in Lower Manhattan is continuing to be realized,” Governor Pataki said. “This magnificent landscaped walkway with enhanced open and green space and new piazza is a place where New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world can enjoy walking, biking and relaxing within steps of the World Trade Center site and Battery Park City. It also greatly improves the conditions for pedestrians and for motorists traveling on and across West Street, better connecting Lower Manhattan’s neighborhoods.”
“Mayor Bloomberg said, “I’m delighted to be here today to open the southern portion of the West Street Promenade. Back in early 2002, when West Street was still closed to traffic, nobody could have the imagined the Lower Manhattan that surrounds us today. But working together with our partners at the State and the community, we’re well on our way to realizing our bold vision for Lower Manhattan – one that involves not only rebuilding, but transforming this area into a mixed-use community for the future.”
“The opening of the “Promenade South” project marks the completion of the first phase of the Route 9A promenade. The Promenade South spans the stretch of Route 9A/West Street between West Thames Street and Battery Place. The project has transformed a utilitarian roadway into a beautiful, landscaped thoroughfare with a broad, tree-lined, granite-paved walkway lined with stone walls and World’s Fair benches. A separate bikeway lies between the roadway and the pedestrian promenade. The once-narrow eastern sidewalk has been widened and paved with granite to ease pedestrian passage and provide a setting for commercial activity to flourish.
“State Department of Transportation Commissioner Thomas J. Madison, Jr. said, “Route 9A is a key transportation corridor and gateway to the west side of Lower Manhattan, providing access to the World Trade Center Memorial site, Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, FDR Drive, and Battery Park City. This project is an amazing example of cooperation at all levels, and the visionary leadership of Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg is taking Lower Manhattan even beyond its former grandeur.”
“New York City DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall said, “For the last three years the City and the State have worked together on the design and construction of Route 9A to ensure the roadway and the newly created pedestrian promenade were completed quickly and the needs of the surrounding communities were taken into consideration. Today’s opening of Promenade South is another exciting step towards the successful rebuilding of Lower Manhattan.”
“Charles “Trip” Dorkey, III, Chairman of the Board, Hudson River Park Trust said, “The completion of Promenade South has brought us yet one step closer to the completion of Segment 2 of Hudson River Park and contributed tremendously to the revitalization effort taking place in Lower Manhattan. The Promenade not only makes it safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike, it provides a picturesque and important connection between the Hudson River Park, Battery Park and the future memorial planned for the World Trade Center site.”
“The project incorporates a host of safety improvements, including easily identifiable pedestrian crossings and new traffic and pedestrian signals at Battery Place. A new public piazza has been created at the corner of Route 9A and Battery Place, providing an open setting for strolling and sidewalk cafes. The roof of the Battery Park Underpass has been extended northward about 65 feet, providing a new u-turn for vehicular traffic between the southbound and northbound roadways, alleviating congestion and improving safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Pavement, curbs and lighting along the underpass have also been replaced. The Promenade South Project also includes repairs to the interior of the Battery Park Underpass, which links Route 9A with the FDR Drive.
“Promenade South is the first phase of a two-phase State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) project designed to repair damage sustained during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and provide an appropriately dignified and aesthetically graceful setting for the World Trade Center Memorial planned nearby. The project was paid for by a Federal Transit Administration grant of $59 million. Additional funding was provided by the Federal Highway Administration and the City of New York. These funds represent a portion of the overall federal commitment of $4.55 billion to rebuilding Lower Manhattan’s transportation infrastructure in the wake of September 11, 2001.
“When both phases are complete, the full promenade project will improve pedestrian and vehicular circulation at Route 9A between Chambers Street and Battery Place in Lower Manhattan. The project will strengthen the connection among the future World Trade Center Memorial on the east side of Route 9A, the World Financial Center and Battery Park City on the west side of the roadway, and historic Battery Park, embarkation point for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island at the southern tip of Manhattan island.
“Both a thoroughfare and destination, the promenade will increase green space, improve pedestrian circulation and access, and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors to Lower Manhattan, creating a seamless transition between park spaces, urban open spaces and important points of national interest and significance.
“In keeping with NYSDOT’s commitment to environmental protection, the agency utilized environmentally sensitive construction practices aimed at minimizing both construction impacts and duration. Special fuel and engine exhaust devices were used to curb emissions, and equipment idling times were kept below three minutes where possible. Noise-intensive activities were performed during daytime hours, and vibration monitoring was performed throughout the project at buildings abutting the roadway.
“The Promenade South Project took 18 months to construct and included the addition of 200 trees and more than 7,000 shrubs to the landscape of Lower Manhattan. It also provides additional public open space, including a half-acre expansion of Historic Battery Park – the gateway to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
“Before and during the 18-month-long construction project, public meetings were held to inform the community about the project, provide updates on its progress, and address any issues and concerns. A community telephone hotline was maintained throughout the project, and construction activities were coordinated with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City Department of Transportation. The New York State Historic Preservation Office was consulted to ensure protection of cultural and historic resources in the surrounding area.
“The next phase of the project, Promenade North, calls for a construction start in spring 2007 and completion in 2009. The completed project, running along Route 9A from West Thames Street to Chambers Street, will encompass all outstanding work on Route 9A in Lower Manhattan and complete Segment 2 of Hudson River Park within which both promenades are contained. The project will include rebuilding and paving the roadway adjacent to the World Trade Center site between West Thames Street and Chambers Street, creating a landscaped promenade, widening sidewalks on the east side of the street, installing pedestrian crossings across Route 9A, and rebuilding the playgrounds between West Thames and Albany Street.
“In 1995, the NYSDOT began reconstruction of the five mile stretch of Route 9A from Battery Place to 59th Street as a heavily landscaped boulevard. The project was scheduled to be completed in October of 2001, but the roadway was seriously damaged in the vicinity of the World Trade Center site on September 11, 2001. NYSDOT constructed a temporary, six-lane Route 9A roadway between Vesey and Liberty Streets during a six-week period in the spring of 2002 to restore this vital route in Lower Manhattan.