MTA continues to demolish buildings even though transit center design changes



From the Tribeca Trib: MTA Changes Transit Center Designs
By Etta Sanders

In coming months every building on the east side of Broadway between Fulton and John Streets will come down and only the slender Corbin building on the corner will remain. The block-long demolition will clear the way for Downtown’s largest transportation project, the Fulton Street Transit Center.

Last month, Community Board 1’s World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee got a view of recent changes to the transit center’s design, as well as an updated schedule for the $888 million project. Completion is expected in fall, 2009.

Deconstruction of 189 Broadway, former home to World of Golf at Dey Street and Broadway, was completed last month after the removal of contaminants. A new glass-enclosed subway entrance will be built on that spot.

On the east side of Broadway, the former commercial and retail spaces that recently housed Sleepy’s and Modell’s among other shops, are also undergoing asbestos abatement. Demolition began last month at 200-202 Broadway and by July the final two buildings—198 and 194-95 Broadway—will also be gone.

Dey Street has been closed to vehicles for months for construction of an underground tunnel that will allow pedestrians to walk from the east side of Broadway to the E Train at the World Trade Center site. But there will not be a free connection between train lines.

“We wanted the people who work in the neighborhood and live in the neighborhood to use this, not just to move back and forth between the stations but actually move back and forth underneath one of the most congested pair of streets in the city,” Bill Wheeler, MTA project director, told the committee.

The new transit center is designed to improve the ease of movement in what has long been a dingy and confusing underground labyrinth of ramps and stairways.

The main concourse of the center, one level below the street, will be ringed by a balcony of retail stores, with access to the Lexington Avenue platforms. The A and C platforms and the Dey Street concourse will be on the level below.

An angled, cone-shaped dome will allow natural light to reach even the lowest levels.

The design for the Fulton Street Transit Center has been modified for reasons of security dictated by the New York Police Department. The building will now be “more structure than glass,” Wheeler said.

A direct connection between the Cortlandt Street R and W station and the E train is also in the works by expanding an existing corridor that was part of the World Trade Center concourse. No date is set for the reopening of the Cortlandt Street station. It is closed while the Port Authority builds a “bathtub” at the southeast edge of the Trade Center site.

The MTA’s Fulton Street project will also include the restoration of the brick and terra cotta Corbin building. The tall, slender edifice will be integrated into the transit center with escalators leading up from the main concourse through restored archways and onto the street.

Posted Under: Demolition, Lingering Pain, Lower Manhattan, Transportation

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