March 8, 2004
RAYNOFF, PRESS SECRETARY (212) 720-3471, fax: (212)
City Planning Commission
Reviews World Trade Center Plans;
Recommends Guidelines to Ensure Reintegration of
Site into Lower Manhattan,
And Create Vibrant, Pedestrian-Friendly and Inviting
March 8, 2004 – The City Planning Commission
today made recommendations for the redevelopment of
the World Trade Center site in order to better connect
the complex to Lower Manhattan streets, ensure a pedestrian-friendly
environment and help create a vibrant destination with
a mix of accessible retail and generous open space
as well as a respectful environment for the memorial.
The recommendations were guided by the Mayor’s
vision for Lower Manhattan as a "vibrant global
hub of culture and commerce, a live-and-work-and-visit
community for the world". The recommendations
were issued in a letter approved at a Review Session
of the City Planning Commission (CPC), and sent to
the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC).
"The Commission believes that adoption of the
LMDC’s World Trade Center Plan will be an important
milestone in the redevelopment of the site and congratulates
both the LMDC and the Port Authority for their outstanding
work in creating an open, participatory, and inclusive
planning process," said City Planning Director
Amanda M. Burden, " We share the same goals with
the LMDC and the Port Authority with respect to the
site and have proposed a limited number of changes
which we believe are important to fulfill our shared
objectives. To ensure that this important complex becomes
a world-class destination, it is essential that there
be vibrant streetlife, generous public spaces, adequate
light and air, as well as clear and strong connections
to the rest of Lower Manhattan and surrounding neighborhoods."
Recognizing that restoration of streets is the key to
reintegrating the World Trade Center site into the fabric
of Lower Manhattan, the Commission recommended modification
of the LMDC plan to restore Dey and Cortlandt streets,
between Church and Greenwich, in addition to the restored
Greenwich and Fulton Streets already set forth in the
The CPC called for incorporation of urban design controls
to preserve light and air throughout the complex and
its surroundings, make it easier for pedestrians to
traverse the site and ensure the quality of the public
realm. In addition, CPC advocated skylobbies in each
of the office towers, freeing the ground floors for
active retail establishments and restaurants that open
to the street and promote a revitalized 24/7 community.
To ensure an active street life , CPC recommended that
at least half the retail in the complex be built at
or above street level, with guidelines for retail continuity
as well as requirements for transparency to create
a livelier pedestrian environment.
CPC urged special standards to ensure that retail
signage on Greenwich Street is quiet in tone and respectful
of the adjacent memorial. CPC also strongly recommended
relocation of a planned truck access ramp on Liberty
Street that conflicts with pedestrian access to the
southern edge of the memorial as well as to Battery
Park City. CPC also underscored the need to develop
design standards to minimize the intrusiveness of security
devices on public streets and sidewalks.
Other matters urged by the CPC:
The CPC responded to the World Trade Center plan pursuant
to provisions of the New York State Urban Development
Corporation Act that require LMDC to refer to the City
Planning Commission any General Project Plan (GPP) to
be implemented through the override of local regulation.
Under the statute, the Commission may recommend approval,
disapproval or modifications to the GPP. In the event
the Commission recommends disapproval or modification
of the GPP, the LMDC Board of Directors may "override" the
CPC recommendations only by a two-thirds vote. The CPC
followed a presentation by Department of City Planning
staff on March 1. The GPP together with the modifications
proposed by the CPC will be considered at an upcoming
LMDC board meeting.
- Maintain open space in front of the Performing
Arts Center as envisioned in the original plan for
- Require minimum streetwalls and building setbacks for
the Commercial towers to preserve light and air
to the street.
- Require minimum sidewalk widths throughout the site.
- Specify a minimum percentage for retail uses in commercial
building frontages on major streets, in order
to ensure a lively pedestrian environment.
- Ensure inclusion of a hotel and conference center,
as originally planned, in order to signal the
importance of the site as a world-wide destination.
- Adopt maximum slope, elevation and grade controls to
facilitate pedestrian movement, avoid blocking
view corridors and avoid the need for undesirable blank
- Explore making tenant parking accessible to patrons
of the Performing Arts Center in the evenings
or to shoppers on weekends.
- Avoid use of "sky-bridges" or elevated
platforms over streets between buildings.
A similar CPC review in June, 2002 facilitated the
opening of Greenwich Street when the Commission approved
the narrowing of Vesey Street to accommodate narrower
footprint of 7 World Trade Center.
An illustrated description of the recommendations
by the Department of City Planning that guided the
CPC response is available.
letter to the LMDC was released
About City Planning:
The Department of City Planning is responsible for the
City's physical and socioeconomic planning, including
land use and environmental review; preparation of plans
and policies; and provision of technical assistance and
planning information to government agencies, public officials,
and community boards.
to the Press Release Archive