Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer pulled together a stellar panel of World Trade movers and shakers to update the community Wednesday night, but the crowd wasn’t impressed. Chris Ward, executive director of the the Port Authority, was joined at the podium by LMDC Chair Avi Schick, DOT Lower Manhattan Commissioner Louis Sanchez, Downtown Alliance President Elizabeth Berger, president and CEO of the memorial Joe Daniels, State Senator Dan Squadron and Congressman Jerry Nadler. Silverstein Properties’ Malcolm Williams breezed through a PowerPoint update detailing progress of the four towers at the site. Ward’s presentation showed the robust ribs of the Calatrava structure from underneath the plaza. But Sanchez’s presentation outlining plans for the accommodating tour buses took on the most scrutiny.
Sanchez’s presentation differed little from the one he presented last week before CB1’s World Trade Redevelopment Committee. The difference here was the crowd: restless and peeved. This year alone the site saw 1.3 million visitors and the memorial is not even open yet. Once opened, at least 4 million are expected. Many in the crowd said the that the DOT lacked specifics for the curbside drop off locations intended to accommodate an onslaught of tourists that will arrive in less than 200 days. Sanchez argued that visitor limitations to the memorial would cap tourist buses at about six to eight an hour. The crowd was not convinced. When pressed, he said the DOT would provide exact locations soon, but Stringer wrestled an agreement to meet with the community in six weeks time.
In other news, One World Trade is half way up, at 58 stories. Tower Four has reached the 17th floor. Tower Three is now at street level and Tower Two’s foundation is complete. But Towers Two and Three will have to wait for market thresholds to be reached before continuing skyward. Elswhere, LMDC has allocated $1 million to pedestrian safety at West Street. Also, the LMDC has received a plethora of requests totaling $200 million for the $17 million they have allocated toward arts organizations.