From the plate glass windows at the top of the Winter Garden staircase, the underground passageway that will connect the World Trade Center and the World Financial Center is clearly visible. Numerous workmen in day-glow vests bustle about their jobs — each forklift of dirt, each beam, bringing the tunnel inexorably closer. It is scheduled for completion early in 2013 and will convey thousands of office workers, tourists and residents a day into and out of Battery Park City.
“All of the commutation flow is going to come into the backside of the Winter Garden stairs,” said David T. Cheikin, vice president of leasing for Brookfield Properties, which owns the World Financial Center. “This is a place that was originally designed as emergency egress and ancillary retail and is not physically capable of handling 50,000 people in the morning and 50,000 people in the afternoon going in and out.”
Brookfield commissioned Booz Allen Hamilton, management and technology consultants, to study the traffic flow problem. Booz Allen’s recommendation was to demolish the staircase. Brookfield drew up plans accordingly along with plans for a new retail annex on the southern flank of 2 World Financial Center.
Read more in the Downtown Express B.P.C. Beat.