As part of the plans for rebuilding and redeveloping Lower Manhattan, the MTA has invested nearly $900 million in their plans to build a transportation hub at Fulton Street. With plans for 12 subway lines to be connected through the hub, the new Fulton Street will become the largest connecting station in the system, beating out the 10 trains that run through Times Square and the Atlantic Ave.-Pacific Street stop.

But as with any capital improvement campaign, the Fulton Street construction efforts have not gone smoothly, The New York Times noted today. With real estate costs exceeding expectations by nearly $100 million, some of the more ostentatious aspects of the Fulton Street hub may be scaled back. In particular, the showy dome that is supposed to cover the grand entrance may not be as showy as the original plans called for it to be:

The dome, intended to maximize the natural light entering the complex, would sit atop a 50-foot-high glass-enclosed building designed by the British architectural firm Grimshaw. The dome, which is called an oculus, was initially designed to be 50 feet high, taking the total height to about 100 feet, Mr. Nagaraja said, but it has already been scaled back to about 20 feet.

While it would seem obvious to cut back the size of the dome, which serves no function beyond aesthetics, some at the MTA wanted to scrap the planned underground connection to the R and W at Cortlandt Street and the E at the World Trade Center. But the MTA board would have none of that:

Yesterday, the authority’s board members landed firmly on the side of function over form, saying they would gladly sacrifice architectural beauty if it meant that subway riders could transfer between trains more easily.

“I won’t support a project like this that is going to discombobulate tens of thousands of passengers a day because you want to have a fancy roof,” said Barry L. Feinstein, a board member.

So as the Fulton Street hub stumbles toward its late-2009 completion, it does seem as though form of some sort will win out over the style. The Daily News notes that some connector tunnels may not be built because cash is tight, but somehow, I think the New York pols will find a way to dig up some more money for this project. We already have to wait two years beyond the original target date for completion. What’s a few more million dollars as well?

Categories : Fulton Street
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New York on subways

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Welcome to Second Ave. Sagas, a blog about the New York City subway.

I’m a native New Yorker and a huge subway buff. I like riding the trains; I like reading about the trains; I like being on the trains that run for hundreds of miles underneath (and sometimes above) the streets of New York. And now I’m going to try my hand at writing about trains. With a bunch of experience blogging on the Yankees, I want to branch out.

With the Election results in for the 2006 mid-term elections, the future is looking grand for transportation in New York. Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Jerry Nadler, two of the Democrats’ prominent leaders, in positions of power, the pork should be flowing our way soon. As the Gotham Gazette wrote shortly after the election:

The election of a new governor and the Democrat’s takeover of both the House and Senate bode well for funding of transportation projects in New York City. The bottom line is that New Yorkers can seriously talk about not only the two megaprojects that are furthest along in obtaining critical federal funding — the Second Avenue subway and linking the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal — but also a second set of projects whose prospects have been less luminous.

Schumer, as the leader of the DSCC, will call in some favors to get these and other projects off the ground and running. On the House side, Nadler stands to inherit the reins of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. If Schumer, Nadler and Governor-elect Elliot Spitzer can work together, we’ll see a lot of transportation developments over the next few years, and I’ll be here to write about it. Stick around for the ride. And stand clear of the closing doors please.

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