During the press gaggle prior to the tour of the new South Ferry station, the transit reporters gathered around Michael Horodniceanu, the president of MTA Capital Construction, to pepper him with questions. Talk, of course, turned to the ever-delayed Fulton St. transit hub.
When we lasted checked in with the Fulton St. hub, it was October, and the MTA had no plans for the hub. It was stuck in MTA Purgatory. Two weeks ago, Horodniceanu sort of ducked the questions surrounding the above-ground parts of this structure. “We have not yet made a decision on it,” he said. He did claim that the final structure would be “similar to what we’ve seen.” What we’ve seen is an oculus erased from the plans nearly a year ago.
At the MTA Board meeting this past week, the agency’s CEO and Executive Director Lee Sander had an update on the Fulton St. Hub, and Julie Shapiro and Josh Rogers of the Downtown Express reported on the update. While work continues apace below ground, things are moving slowly above ground. Perhaps passengers will just exit via a ladder leading down into the transit complex.
Anyway, the two downtown reporters write:
Nearly one year after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it had run out of money to build the aboveground portion of the Fulton Transit Center, the agency still has made no decisions about the future.
“We have a couple of different options for what’s above ground,” Lee Sander, M.T.A. executive director, said this week. “The issue is really figuring out how we pay for it.”
He did not disclose any information on the alternatives under consideration. He said he was “highly confident” something will be built above street level, but he has made similar comments throughout the year and the M.T.A. had said they would have a new plan for the site by last February…
Sander would only say Thursday that the M.T.A. is not interested in topping the station with a commercial structure to raise revenue. “At this point that’s not in our plans, and given the fact that we’re in the environmental planning process, I think I will leave my comments there,” he said.
So the MTA, as Shapiro and Rogers noted, “displaced 140 businesses in 2006 to make way for a domed Fulton station that was to become a new Downtown landmark,” and since then, nothing has happened. The intersection of Fulton St. and Broadway remains an empty lot surrounding by a blue construction fence, and the MTA heads can tell us only what is not going to fill that spot.
At some point, something will rise above the Fulton St. transit hub, and in the end, as long as the below-ground connections work out, it doesn’t really matter what happens above ground. But for now, we know we’ll be waiting a long time for the MTA to build something. They have to figure out what will go in the empty spot, conduct the appropriate environmental reviews, find the money for construction and then build it. Yikes. We might be in a for a few years of nothing at Fulton St.