Oculus vital link for growing NYC workforce

Commuters and visitors to Lower Manhattan have recently begun to experience the many  benefits offered by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s new World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

The Oculus, designed by renowned neofuturistic architect Santiago Calatrava, officially opened last week, marks the end of a series of projects to revitalize the World Trade Center area.

Expected to be used by up to 200,000 people per day once fully operational, the Oculus is approximately 800,000 square feet, making it the third largest transportation center in the city and the largest network of underground pedestrian connections in New York City. It will allow travelers to connect to 11 subway lines and the PATH train. It will also connect to the World Trade Center Memorial site and the Battery Park Ferry Terminal, and will feature a stunning 365-foot long main hall and a climate-controlled station.

The temporary PATH train station now serves a mere 44,000 passengers daily, and the transportation opportunities it presents in the World Trade Center area will have a tremendous impact on millions of commuters, visitors, and tourists in New York City every year. Coming soon, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub will also feature 75,000 square feet of retail space, making it not only a destination for travelers, but for everyday shoppers as well.

The Oculus is the result of years of hard work by the Port Authority, planners, and contractors. The completion of this project is more than just a victory for the World Trade Center area and today’s New Yorkers; it is an investment in our City’s future, and a necessary step in New York City’s growth and prosperity in the decades ahead.

The Oculus also performs another important function. For years, elected officials and members of several organizations and industries in the metropolitan area have been stressing the importance of trans-Hudson transportation. Separate and apart from providing housing and transit options for the city’s incoming population, we must also improve the access to the city for suburban commuters. Almost a third of the city’s workforce is comprised of suburban workers, with a growing share coming from New Jersey.

The new transportation hub will continue to serve as a vital link to the cities and towns west of the Hudson, which is projected to be the largest source of New York City’s growing workforce.  The Oculus will be an important element in the region’s infrastructure improvements and a critical complement to a planned new Port Authority Bus Terminal as well as two new trans-Hudson tunnels to serve Amtrak and New Jersey Transit.

Among the next challenges the city has to face is one-seat ride service from Manhattan to Newark Airport.  The Oculus will be the gateway to this important service for Lower Manhattan. Our transportation network must grow to continue to meet the needs of our citizens, and projects such as the Oculus represent a clear acknowledgement and ability of the City to meet those needs. I congratulate the Port Authority for completing this project, and if you haven’t yet had a chance to check out the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub, it’s a reason to celebrate.

This project’s completion is an important step in our continuing recovery from the attacks of September 11, 2001 and more evidence that New York City is the greatest city in the world.