In facilitating construction, the LMCCC oversees and coordinates multiple projects
On Thursday, September 28th, the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC) hosted the first in a series of town hall meetings designed to introduce the LMCCC to Lower Manhattan residents and give those residents the opportunity to ask questions of key LMCCC officials. The event took place at the Saval Auditorium at St. Johns University, two blocks north of the World Trade Center site.
"This is an opportunity for the Command Center to give the community direct information on our program over the next three to five years," said LMCCC Executive Director Charles Maikish at the meeting's start. "We like to call it Lower Manhattan 2010," he continued.
Maikish launched the meeting with a description of the massive downtown construction effort, noting that it is the largest and densest construction venture ever undertaken in the U.S. and represents a more than $22 billion investment. "The governor and the mayor in their wisdom saw the need for a central coordinating body to oversee the massive revitalization of Lower Manhattan, which produced the Command Center," he said.
The LMCCC was established, Maikish continued, "to facilitate construction, mitigate its impact, and communicate with residents." Included in the scope of work falling under the LMCCC's mandate are major housing developments creating a 24/7 community, massive office construction including the World Trade Center site, necessary deconstruction efforts at 130 Liberty and Fiterman Hall, significant transportation investment producing new rail hubs and ferry terminals, and an unprecedented infrastructure renewal of roads, power lines, sewers, and telecommunications.
As part of facilitating construction, the LMCCC is charged with overseeing and coordinating multiple simultaneous projects. To give a sense of just what this means, Bob Harvey, LMCCC director of capital planning and construction, walked the audience through a peak month of construction. According to Harvey, in September 2009, there will be approximately 3,500 truckloads of concrete, 2,000 truckloads of steel, and 5,000 construction workers headed to various sites throughout the downtown area.
Coordination of this massive construction effort leads naturally into the LMCCC's second mandate, to mitigate its impact on the community. Key to this goal is traffic management. Josh Rosenbloom, director of city operations for the LMCCC, addressed the audience next, describing the LMCCC's plans for balancing traffic flow in the midst of major construction projects.
To keep traffic moving smoothly throughout the construction effort, Rosenbloom said, the city operations team will monitor how many cars, trucks, and buses need access to downtown streets, set up optimal traffic routes, and enlist traffic and transit enforcement officers to help clear intersections and make way for pedestrians. A full traffic management implementation plan will be in place by next year, he continued.
Tom Kunkel, LMCCC director of environmental compliance and coordination, followed Rosenbloom's presentation, outlining the LMCCC's manifold environmental responsibilities. To ensure a safe and healthy environment for Lower Manhattan residents, workers, and visitors, Kunkel explained, the LMCCC is charged with maintaining environmental performance commitments (EPCs), overseeing a team of inspectors who perform regular reporting and record keeping, monitoring multiple air quality stations around downtown, and disseminating air quality reports to the community.
Maikish closed the official program with a screening of the Lower Manhattan 2010 visualization, designed to provide a glimpse of downtown's future landscape. "It is my belief that the best and greatest response to an act of terror is to respond triumphantly," Maikish said as the visualization concluded. "That is what we are working towards at the LMCCC."
A lively question and answer session followed, with Lower Manhattan residents asking a range of questions of the LMCCC staff, including queries related to construction mitigation, noise control, environmental concerns, and the deconstruction of the building at 130 Liberty Street. Emotional at points, the question and answer session provided an important opportunity for the LMCCC staff and the Lower Manhattan community to communicate directly.
"This meeting has been a good experience for the LMCCC, and I look forward to future town halls," Maikish said in conclusion. "We will continue to build bridges within the community to gain insight and recommendations from the people who are most directly affected over the next few years."