Spring 2003, p.12

Rebuilding the City
Gov. Pushing Hard for $860 Million Tunnel for W. Side Highway at Ground Zero

Governor Pataki wants to spend $860 million to put the ten-block section of 9A near Ground Zero pictured here in a tunnel. The Mayor, civic groups and Battery Park City residents favor a $320 million urban boulevard.

In May, the state Department of Transportation presented a detailed plan to put the ten-block stretch of West Street (Route 9A) near Ground Zero in a tunnel. Previously, the Mayor, civic groups (including T.A.) and Battery Park City residents separately proposed creating a grand, tree-lined, urban boulevard like the Champs Elysee in Paris.

The groups support a boulevard south of Chambers Street because it will cost much less than the tunnel ($320 million versus $980 million), be less complicated and take less time. Additionally, the tunnel proposal requires very long access ramps, which would block some intersections and prevent ground level pedestrian crossings. One urban planner deemed the Governor's proposal "Ramp Way," alluding to the infamous 1980s "West Way" plan to place all of 9A in a tunnel. Transit advocates fear that
the additional $660 million required for the tunnel would be taken from Federal restoration funds now slated for rebuilding the South Ferry station of the #1 train and improving the tangled Fulton/Nassau subway interchange.

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