Donald Burns

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was on the 82nd floor of One World Trade Center for a meeting. It took about 45 minutes to escape and see both buildings on fire and people jumping from where I had just been.

I wanted to participate in the reconstruction of lower Manhattan in some way. I joined the Federal Transit Administration’s Lower Manhattan Recovery Office, created to manage federal transportation funding for the development of the permanent World Trade Center PATH Station, Fulton Street Transit Center and South Ferry Station projects.

I have returned to the FTA Region II Office and life in lower Manhattan has returned to a new normal. Pedestrians clog the sidewalks again, automobile traffic has returned to Broadway with security checks. Security in our building, which houses a bankruptcy court, is high. In addition to fire drills, employees must be trained for shelter in place, security and emergencies.

Burns works for the Transportation Department’s Federal Transit Administration Region II in New York.