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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The newly built World Trade Center Transportation Hub, designed to resemble a dove but tasked with the job of a phoenix, opens this week, nearly 15 years after the Sept. Oculus, the birdlike structure that is the hub's focal point, welcomes the public on Thursday, months ahead of the expected opening of connections to 11 New York City subway lines and the underground PATH trains that link New York to New Jersey. Resembling Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava's vision of a dove released into the air from a child's hands, Oculus has a practical purpose: To rebuild the PATH terminal that was destroyed when the Twin Towers collapsed in the Sept.
The white steel and marble structure is dramatic to behold, with two metal-ribbed wings springing out from an elliptical shaped transit hall that is roughly the size of a soccer field. Its soaring glass roof is meant to bring natural light to the 250,000 commuters expected to travel through the hub each day, even those on the PATH train platform 60 feet (18 meters) below the street. Cafes and stores are expected to fill its 75,000 square feet (6,967 square meters) of retail space, and draw many of the estimated 17 million tourists forecast to visit Lower Manhattan in 2019.
The project, destined to appear in iconic photos depicting the sights of New York City, has taken years longer than expected to complete, making it one of the most expensive and delayed train stations ever built. Why spend your precious vacation time waiting in long shuttle or taxi lines at New York's busy airports? After a long flight home, the last thing you want to do is find a cab and pay an exorbitant fee. NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Thousands of people wait to board city buses into Manhattan at the newly opened Barclay's Center in Brooklyn as the city continues to recover from superstorm Sandy on November 1, 2012, in New York, United States. On Thursday, officials of the New Jersey Transit warned commuters that under its contingency plans for a rail strike, bus service would be able to transport less than 40 percent of its regular riders in New York City. According to NJ News, if commuters have to drive, officials suggested they arrange car pools with co-workers as soon as possible. A shutdown could force an additional 10,000 vehicles per hour during peak hours, which then creates tail backs over 20 miles into New Jersey as riders squeeze through limited crossing points into Manhattan, says Reuters. Rail unions and New Jersey Transit planned to meet with federal officials in Washington on Friday to discuss and reach a deal over workers' benefits and wages. In a deadening blow to a breathe-easy future for New York, the State Assembly has just shot down Mayor Bloomberg’s implementation plan for congestion mitigation.

Last Monday it appeared as though Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s green dream was going to be a reality.
The proposal for a congestion pricing system was first outlined by Mayor Bloomberg in April 2007, and has seen a year of heated division and debate. Debate had provided the bill with a flexible framework of provisions that sought to please nay-sayers while tightening its focus and directing all revenue into the city’s over-stressed mass transit system. Please note that gratuitous links to your site are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. Welcome to Inhabitat, your online guide to the best green design ideas, innovations and inspiration to build a cleaner, brighter, and better future.
The transportation hub has connections to 11 New York City subway lines and the underground PATH trains that connect New York and New Jersey.
The hub was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish architect who has worked on buildings throughout Spain, Switzerland, and Canada.
The original design meant for the wings of the hub to open and close — much like the Milwaukee Art Museum, which Calatrava also built — but troubles with the budget forced the Port Authority to keep the wings from moving.
The glass roof is meant to bring in natural light to the expected 100,000 commuters that will travel through it. Although there are no stores in the hub at the moment, there are plans to open up many popular retail spaces in August.
Limited public transit has returned to New York and most major bridges have reopened but will require three occupants in the vehicle to pass. The transportation network says the strike will happen on March 13 if unions walk off the job in 10 days over a long-running contract dispute. Unions are requesting for a 2.5 percent annual pay rises in return for increases in workers' employee healthcare contributions, and that it is their final offer. The proposal would have mobilized $354 million in federal grants to simultaneously tackle two dire transportation problems, alleviating inner-city traffic while providing a steady source of income for the funds-starved Metropolitan Transportation Authority. March 31st’s City Council victory showed an encouraging round of support, with 20 votes pouring in from outside of Manhattan, where resistance to the plan has been strongest.

The plan would have created an $8 fare for most motorists who enter Manhattan south of 60th Street, reducing inner-city traffic congestion and other related health and safety issues within the city of New York.
Tax breaks were suggested for working drivers with low incomes, and an express bus system was proposed to service the outer boroughs. No Congestion Pricing Legislation, No "Millionaires Tax", cut in transit aid all over the state. The exterior is unique, with a wing-like rib structure that is meant to resemble a bird taking flight.
However, commuters between the states should be prepared for major disruptions in case a shutdown will occur. Meanwhile, Port Authority officials said they are preparing for extra traffic at the agency's Staten Island Crossings and Hudson River. Chris Christie of New Jersey is hopeful that an agreement could be reached, although he would not 'give away the store' in negotiations with labor unions.
Early last week New York’s City Council had approved of the plan with a 30-20 vote, but it was snuffed by a secretive vote conducted by State Assembly higher ups. This would in turn have produced an estimated $4.5 billion over five years, providing a steady source of funding for much-needed MTA improvements.
The first pieces of the ribs were installed in 2008, a year before the original projected opening. Highway maintenance work would then be suspended during peak hours and tow trucks would be on duty to clear any disable vehicle.

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