The New York Times (and other publications) reports New York State Department of Transportation is recommending against the $1 Billion Big Dig West Street Tunnel by Ground Zero.
The Tunnel which was intended to provide tranquility to the memorial has met with fierce opposition from virtually all sources including neighbor tenants Verizon and Goldman Sachs which just last week said it was abandoning its proposed headquarters tower on West Street near Ground Zero because of fears about traffic snarls from the tunnel and the still unacted on fate of Ground Zero.
The Department of Transportation is proposing instead a $225 Million landscaped boulevard with a number of pedestrian bridges.
Timothy J. Gilchrist, the agency’s director for downstate transportation strategy, said design for the boulevard could begin this summer and take 18 months and that construction would take another two years (e.g., the project would be finished in 2008). The decision clears hurdles that would allow construction of other buildings around Ground Zero including the Freedom Tower.
It is unclear whether the decision will cause Goldman to reconsider its stance on its West Side headquarters. Goldman recently opened 30 Hudson Street a 42-story, 780 foot (238 metre) tower that at this writing is the country’s 45th tallest tower (pictured above). Located in Jersey City, it is also New Jersey’s tallest tower. It is within three blocks of two World Trade Center memorials near the Exchange Place PATH stop (see our gallery on the Jersey City memorials).
We of course think this a great idea. The proposed $1 Billion tunnel would have cost more than the memorial and snarled construction of anything downtown for years.
The need for the tunnel championed by Gov. Pataki is a result of the poor land planning for the Memorial itself. The 16 acre World Trade Center site has been carved up to be used mostly for other buildings (e.g., the Freedom Tower, Downtown Transportation Hub, Performing Arts Center, and Freedom Museum) so that only 3 acres was left for the memorial and most of those 3 acres were taken out of the equation because they are going to be obliterated by the fall filled hole footprints of Arad’s Reflecting Absence. LMDC has bent over backwards bringing in a bevy of landscappers to make the most of this limited remaining space and the result has been a land grab to the west and south for non-WTC property to create a better park atmosphere.
Our position is that the 3 acres of land bordered by Fulton Street, Greenwich Street, Liberty Street and West Street make an obvious park setting and should not have any above ground structures other than significant remants of the WTC. This is simple and would solve all planning problems at Ground Zero and create a stirring historical park for generations to come. Here is our submitted proposal. We always thought some flavor of this submitted by somebody would have won. This was the obvious choice for Ground Zero.
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