The LMCCC helps coordinate WTC work with other downtown projects
There is more than 55 million square feet of real estate being built, rehabilitated, or converted in Lower Manhattan -- and one agency in the middle of it all. The Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC) has for five years helped maintain quality of life downtown even while facilitating billions of dollars’ worth of major rebuilding projects.
Executive Director Robert Harvey presented the latest scope of construction for the area to Community Board 1 on June 7th. In a special World Trade Center (WTC) Committee meeting at the LMCCC office at 1 Liberty Plaza, Harvey shared details about logistics, street coordination, and the new LowerManhattan.info “4D” interactive construction map.
Through its various departments, LMCCC has offered help in city operations, ensuring workplace diversity, and preventing fraud. The agency also monitors for air quality and noise levels, and recently launched an Intelligent Transportation System to maintain traffic flow, complete with real-time camera and sensors that tie into the city Department of Transportation (DOT) network.
One of its key contributions for construction mitigation is the bi-annual logistics report. The report gathers details for every project south of Canal Street, which are added to a general database. That information forms specific timelines that have become vital to major construction operations’ coordination. For example, planners can view when peak labor, trucking, or concrete demand is expected, and work out details for their own projects to run more smoothly.
Harvey explained that the next logistics report will be revised with recently announced details for the WTC east-side towers. Downtown’s peak construction timing has shifted over the past two years, as WTC redevelopment plans have evolved. But now, with Towers 2 and 3 construction kicking off this summer, the LMCCC expects mid-to-late 2011 to bring the heaviest construction traffic.
Outside of the WTC site, the LMCCC also helps coordinate each of the city’s infrastructure projects. They include the soon-to-start Chambers Street Reconstruction, Fulton Street, Peck Slip, and the major water tunnel project at Hudson Street -- which will affect several adjacent Tribeca Streets.
Each of those projects involves extensive coordination between agencies like the DOT (both state and city), city Department of Design and Construction, various utility companies, and others. The LMCCC holds daily, weekly, and monthly meetings to help maintain work schedules and bring the various parties together to work out factors related to field conditions.
Part of the LMCCC’s work also includes communication, with LowerManhattan.info serving as a clearinghouse of project information. The website’s new map, which launched this spring, is a unique tool for identifying work sites, viewing related street impacts, and seeing how each project will change over time.
The “4D” of the map refers to the fourth dimension of time. It uses an innovative time-slider, which, for example, allows users to see a building go from a vacant site to a completed tower -- all according to the schedule issued by the developer and contractor.
In addition to serving as a handy visualization tool, the map and the database that feeds it are an important part of the LMCCC’s everyday coordination.
“We’re working very closely with the city DOT to help with the traffic model for Lower Manhattan,” said Harvey, noting that the LMCCC is also helping the DOT convert its existing database to a new software that, among other things, better accounts for pedestrian movement. “[The map and database] gives us a decision-making tool that can help us decide which streets should be worked on at what time, to have minimal impact.”
The LMCCC continues to work closely with local elected officials, firms, and community groups to field questions and concerns, and generally mitigate construction effects.
The original 2005 Executive Orders from the New York governor and mayor planned for the LMCCC to “sunset” on December 31, 2010. But with the extension of several major projects beyond 2010, CB1 and other downtown leaders support is continued existence. CB1 unanimously passed a second resolution to this effect at the meeting.
“Just on a small basis…a lot of the neighborhood issues are cleared up through the LMCCC,” said CB1 member Tom Goodkind, citing the agency’s noise-reduction efforts during schools’ testing weeks. “Little things like this really make a difference in our neighborhoods, and we really want to keep these guys around.”