March 31st - April 4th, 2008
The City Council Approves Congestion Pricing Plan
April 1- The City Council approved Mayor Bloomberg’s Congestion Pricing Plan by an unusually slim margin 30-20 with no abstentions and one absence. The Plan will charge most drivers $8 to enter Manhattan below 60th street. Now the fate of the proposal rests in Albany where it’s uncertain whether it will be approved. The Legislature has until April 7th to approve the plan or risk losing approximately $350 million in federal money to help offset the costs of implementing the plan.
Freedom Tower Glass Panels Undergo Tests
April 1 – The glass panels that will one day become the outer skin of The Freedom Tower are being put through a battery of tests. According to The New York Post, a 40 foot tall section of glass is being pelted with rain, hit with winds of 74 mph, exposed to extreme heat and cold and shaken by intense vibrations. The testing is taking place in a lab in California and will take approximately two weeks. 1 million square feet of glass will cover the Freedom Tower when it’s completed in 2011.
The Performing Arts Center Maybe Moved
April 2 – The Performing Arts Center, slated to be located on the WTC site east of the Freedom Tower, might be moved to the top of the Fulton Street Transit Center, replacing the Frank Gehry designed oculus. That opens the possibility for another tower on the WTC site. The story in The New York Observer says if the Performing Arts Center is moved, development on the current proposed site could provide funding to build the Center. City and State officials are reportedly studying the move, but Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “The MTA promised this community a long time ago that there would be a Fulton Street Transit Hub with a showpiece terminal. That’s what should get done.”
Waterfall Installation Begins
April 3- Work is continuing at Pier 35 near the Manhattan Bridge, where scaffolding is being erected for the New York City Waterfalls temporary public art installation. Four waterfalls are being created by artist Olafur Eliasson of Iceland. The falls will open in mid-July and run for about 3 months. They range from 90 to 120 feet high.
Port Authority Reimbursements Delayed
April 4- The Battery Park Broadsheet is reporting that three months after the Port Authority agreed to reimburse residents who face the WTC for soundproof glass, no checks have been issued. Three buildings fit the criteria for the WTC site noise mitigation plan: they are 90 West Street, 110 Liberty Street and 125 Cedar Street. The WTC Redevelopment Committee of Community Board 1 meets on April 14 and Port Authority representatives will attend.
Placards Congesting City Parking
April 4- 43 percent of the legal parking spots in Lower Manhattan are being used by vehicles with government placards, according to statistics released by the City Department of Transportation. A report in The Downtown Express says the numbers confirm what residents have been complaining about for a long time – that government cars are displacing residents, shoppers and delivery trucks.