The LMCCC presented a map showing the status of many projects
The year 2008 proved to be Lower Manhattan’s most productive construction period since September 11, 2001. Even as an economic downturn has delayed several large-scale projects around New York, the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC) asserts that infrastructure, private towers, residential conversions, and the World Trade Center (WTC) all are on track to make 2009 a peak rebuilding year south of Canal Street.
Speaking to Community Board 1’s (CB1) WTC Redevelopment Committee on December 8th, LMCCC Executive Director Robert Harvey said that his agency has helped save the state and city $257 million in logistics and utility work since its 2004 inception -- including everything from permit procurement, contractor coordination, and easing trucking and delivery delays.
Harvey presented to the board two new 2009 outlook maps, one that charts downtown street-reconstruction projects, and one noting which projects will begin, continue, or end in the new year. He explained that with many projects’ revising their timelines this year, most notably the Port Authority in its WTC rebuilding “Road Map,” peak trucking, concrete, and labor demands are now expected for winter 2009/2010 -- about a year later than first anticipated.
To help manage more than 60 public and private projects now active, the LMCCC continues to run multiple programs that mitigate issues caused by major construction and assist the downtown community.
As part of the traffic management plan, Director of City Operations Josh Rosenbloom leads daily Permit Enforcement Taskforce meetings among several city agencies, including the Police Department and the Departments of Transportation, Environmental Protection, Sanitation, Buildings, and others. Community stakeholders like the Downtown Alliance and CB1 also participate in the meetings, which designate traffic agents and coordinate traffic and building permits.
The taskforce is installing its multi-faceted Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) to help keep vehicles moving. The program is fully funded and now has in place traffic sensors, cameras, radio stations, and Variable Messaging Sign (VMS) boards in downtown’s high-traffic areas. The final component, a real-time traffic-monitoring system, is now in beta testing before its final build out.
Tom Kunkel, the director of Environmental Compliance and Coordination, said, “I’m happy to report that I have nothing but good news.” Compared to data gathered since the program launched three years ago, 2008 recorded the lowest concentrations of airborne particulate matter. Air monitors stationed at four downtown locations continue to record data posted here, while Kunkel’s inspectors increasingly conduct mobile air, noise, and vibration monitoring at several dozen construction sites.
High compliance with the LMCCC’s environmental performance commitments have helped reduce construction noise, control dust, and boost pedestrian circulation at worksites from river to river. Kunkel also attributes the widespread use of ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel in construction equipment and trucks to making a marked difference in downtown air quality.
Deputy Executive Director Dan McCormack shared updates on the Opportunity Downtown program, which continues to connect minority- and women-owned businesses with contracting and subcontracting prospects. The programs hosts seminars, sponsors networking and recruitment events, and has partnered with the Borough of Manhattan Community College for technical-training courses.
As part of its communications program, the LMCCC posts on LowerManhattan.info the latest construction data and traffic changes, as well as an extensive archive of rebuilding maps, news stories, photo slide shows, and community presentations.
Local quality of life issues are handled directly by Robin Forst, the director of community and government relations. Along with serving as a liaison between agencies and the general public, she attends monthly CB1 meetings to address issues directly, from managing vendors around the WTC site, to assuring less-noisy construction work during school-testing periods.
In addition to programs that help improve living and working downtown, there is of course the day-to-day coordination that the LMCCC handles every day. Working with federal, state, and city agencies on a regular basis helps with planning, while direct daily contact with construction managers means that delays and other issues can be addressed as soon as they arise.