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NEW YORK CITY-Looking towards the future convenience for Downtown employees, 25 major Lower Manhattan corporations sited the proposed transit hub at the World Trade Center site as a major incentive for remaining in the area, according to two recent studies conducted by the Alliance for Downtown New York. The addition of rail access to Long Island and NYC airports was also a driving factor.

“These two transit hubs, which essentially form one major complex because of their underground pedestrian connections, are priorities for businesses whose decision to remain downtown will be heavily based on the convenience and ease with which the current workforce can get there,” said Carl Weisbrod, president of the Downtown Alliance.

The two studies–an Executive survey and Transportation Users Group survey–included responses from 25 of the 30 most important Lower Manhattan businesses employing more than 85,000 workers in the area. Among the respondents were: the American Stock Exchange, Century 21 Department Store, Deloitte & Touche, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., American Express and Merrill Lynch & Co.

“The research was conducted to identify the transportation priorities of Downtown’s major employers and to provide recommendations for transportation improvements that will ensure the continued viability of the area as a center of corporate activity,” says Shirley Jaffe, VP of economic development for the Downtown Alliance.

The surveys are now being taken into account during the Lower Manhattan revitalization process. “Considering that more than 50% of senior executives at major downtown companies live outside of the city the travel convenience of these decision makers must also be an important consideration.”

Also among these employers’ top transportation endorsements was expanded ferry service, a reconstructed West Street, and development of a pedestrian-only Fulton St. But regardless of future convenience, executives also expressed fears that Lower Manhattan would become a permanent construction site; the surveys showed most respondents preferring projects that met basic requirements within a shorter timeframe.

All of these projects will be addressed later today by Governor Pataki during a conference that’s being held Downtown. Check back with for first-hand details of the event.

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