Subway improvements will roll out through 2014
Last month’s announcement that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will build the Fulton Street Transit Center as originally planned was great news for the downtown community. In addition to improvements on the subterranean maze that the new Transit Center will replace -- such as improved wayfinding, less train congestion, more retail, and a generally superior commuter experience -- the station-construction plan also lays out a series of “progressive roll-outs” to benefit subway riders.
View the MTA’s May 28, 2009 Fulton Street Transit Center presentation here.
View a slide show of the Fulton Street Transit Center
According to the new schedule, June 2014 is the estimated completion date for the Transit Center’s main building, located at Broadway and Fulton Street. Home to 26,000 square feet of retail across four stories, the building will link to the historic, renovated Corbin Building and the new Dey Street Pedestrian Concourse. Once complete, the expansive station will be the underground hub of 12 subway lines and the World Trade Center (WTC) PATH station.
But before the Transit Center complex fully opens to the public, MTA capital planners have established a phased schedule for the various projects that comprise the $1.4 billion plan. Each component is distinguished by distinct contracts, each with its own estimated timeline:
- Feb 2009 – Dec 2009: Northbound R/W Cortlandt platform
- Aug 2009 – May 2011: New entrance at William Street
- Aug 2009 – Mar 2013: A/C mezzanine and J/M/Z elevators
- Sep 2009 – July 2012: 4/5 Fulton station rehabilitation and Dey Street Headhouse
- Mar 2010 – Dec 2012: Corbin Building restoration
- Sep 2010 – Nov 2012: Dey Street Concourse completion; 4/5 and R/W underpass finishes (work follows foundation completion for main building)
- Jan 2011 – Jun 2014: Transit Center building construction
Two additional projects are planned, though dates will not be confirmed until construction plans are finalized with the Port Authority’s WTC east-side work. They are, tentatively:
- Mar 2010 – Sep 2011: Southbound R/W Cortlandt platform
- Ending appx. June 2014: R/W to E connector
The MTA already has rolled out several Transit Center elements, including opening new 4/5 platform entrances in 2007, and rehabilitating the 2/3 station in 2006. In 2008, the agency completed structural work on the Dey Street concourse box, with interior finishing work and entrance construction remaining.
At the June 8th Community Board 1 meeting, MTA Capital Construction President Michael Horodniceanu and station planners noted that the Transit Center is expected to earn LEED certification for “green” building. The main building will have four entrances, each with escalators, with all subway stops in the new station renamed “Fulton Street.”
The original Transit Center and main-building design, which were scaled back and then nearly abandoned due to budget constraints, returned intact thanks to $424 million in federal stimulus funding. It includes all of the planned efficiencies and grand architecture unveiled in 2004. The design centers on innovative use of daylight to help illuminate the dark, narrow corridors of the existing Fulton Street station using an oculus -- a 52-foot-tall, asymmetric steel cylinder, with reflective material within and topped by a transparent skylight. With the oculus, the Transit Center building will stand 104 feet above the street.
The oculus will rise out of the four-story, square pavilion on Broadway, funneling natural light down into the station, mezzanine, and eventually the train platforms. Grimshaw Architects and Arup Engineers designed the oculus with the help of architect James Carpenter, a specialist in the use of light as a key design component. (Read more about Carpenter’s work here.)
Ultimately, the Transit Center will link five separate subway stations that, nearly a century ago, were built by competing transit companies that never planned for them to interconnect. The station’s underground complex will tie into the WTC Transportation Hub, linking it to Battery Park City -- and eventually creating an ADA-compliant passage from the Hudson River to the South Street Seaport.
Currently, at the Broadway and Fulton site, crews are installing secant piles 95 feet deep to form the retaining wall that allows for mass excavation followed by foundation construction. Contracts for several station components will be awarded late this summer, and all contracts out by January 2011.
“I will ensure that that the [Transit Center] is completed,” said Horodniceanu. “We’re moving along swiftly. We plan to have a very aggressive schedule and to stick to it -- and beat it if we can.”