New York City elected officials are cool to the idea and object to the huge expense. The officials, local residents, environmentalists, good government groups and civic groups (including T.A.) believe that the money would be far better spent on improving transit access to and far from downtown. Instead of the tunnel, T.A. and other opponents of the tunnel support an urban boulevard with a promenade, which would cost $175 million and take only two years to build.
The rationale for the tunnel is to create more green space near the trade center site and 9/11 memorial. But the tunnel actually creates only very little more space than the boulevard option: 12 foot wide sidewalk versus 10 foot and 64 feet of green space adjacent to the sidewalk versus 54 feet. However, even this minor difference (12 feet total) could easily be evened up if the State DOT puts two turn lanes at Liberty and Vesey Streets.
Hopefully, the fact that groups as disparate as AAA and Transportation Alternatives oppose the tunnel will encourage Governor Pataki to rethink his support for the tunnel.
For more information on this issue, see the Web site of the Coalition to Save West Street, www.saveweststreet.com.
Opposing the West Street Tunnel
U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler