It has been almost 15 years and despite the many delays and cost overruns, New Yorkers have finally gotten their first look inside of the partially open Transportation Hub. The World Trade Center Transportation Hub is finally open to the public, as of yesterday; standing as a monument and a reminder of all those who were lost on 9/11. Located next to the One World Trade Center, the hub will connect Port Authority trans-Hudson trains to New Jersey with 11 New York City subway lines and ferry service.
Designed by famous architect Santiago Calatrava, the design of the steel structure is meant to symbolize a dove released from the hands of a child. The grand hall, known as the Oculus, is a soaring space with a skylight where the bird’s spine would be. One World Trade Center is visible through the skylight, the glass roof is meant to provide the crowds of commuters with natural light as they travel through. The 330-foot retractable skylight will be open on days accompanied by nice weather, and annually on 9/11.
While still only partially open, the transportation hub will provide the area, that has now transformed into a residential sector, more transit options. Most people marveled at the grandeur of the Oculus but are unsatisfied at the price tag that came with it; almost $4 billion in cost (the original budget was $2.2 billion) and the construction delays didn’t help, it was supposed to open in 2009.
The biggest question is how much does this actually benefit the people? It has been 12 years since the beginning of the project. While people had embraced the idea of this design in the beginning in the midst of depression, 12 years later people are now back on their feet and more skeptical than ever. Julie Iovine from the Wall Street Journal said this about the Transportation Hub:
For starters, it’s barely a transit hub. The PATH station part of it serves only about 50,000 commuters every day. The MTA is supposed to build additional stops for the 1, E and R lines, but who knows when, or even if, that will happen? (Think Second Avenue Line.) The real action is at the Fulton Center, a block east. It serves nine subway stops and 300,000 people a day, and is connected to the Hub by underground corridors.
With a major station down the block, the Transportation Hub can only hope to live up to the people’s expectations. Most commuters address the issue that while it is beautiful and definitely eye-catching, it does not address any of the real issues with the city’s transportation infrastructure. At this rate, the Hub may become only a monument of remembrance that doubles as a subway station on the side.