Port Authority reveals plan to raze and replace Midtown bus terminal

January 22, 2021

Nearly ten years and 30 proposals later, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Thursday unveiled a plan to replace the dilapidated Midtown bus terminal. The agency on Thursday presented its final scoping report for the project, which involves demolishing the existing bus station to make way for a larger, state-of-the-art terminal. According to the Port Authority, the new plan would increase the capacity for commuter and intercity buses at the world’s busiest bus terminal by nearly 40 percent.

Rendering of proposed new bus terminal, courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

“Today marks an extraordinary milestone for the Port Authority and a bold step toward realizing the promise made to deliver commuters and travelers the vibrant, 21st-century bus terminal in Midtown Manhattan they deserve,” Kevin O’Toole, Port Authority Chair, said in a press release. “This achievement would not be possible without the hard work and input from dedicated leaders on both sides of the river.”

The project would construct a new four-story facility one block south of the current terminal that would serve as a temporary bus terminal while the current building on 8th Avenue is demolished and rebuilt. The agency proposes a new five-story main terminal that will feature 21st-century amenities, 160 bus gates, and a connection to city subway and bus lines. The two buildings would eventually be connected via a 9th Avenue underpass to create one expanded complex.

“You can simply tear the old building down — no one will miss it, by the way — and you can build a normal building from the bottom up,” Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority, said, as NY1 reported.

Courtesy of the Port Authority of NY and NJ

The bus storage and staging building between 9th and 10th Avenues will also be able to handle up to 350 intercity buses that load and unload passengers on city streets, which will reduce congestion in the neighborhood. The plan also includes decking over parts of the Dyer Avenue entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, which will later become public green space after the construction is complete, and the construction of new ramps between 10th and 11th Avenues for direct bus access to the tunnel.

Plans to replace the terminal, which was constructed in 1950 and last expanded in 1981, were sought by the agency beginning in 2013 to accommodate projected ridership growth. During this period, about 30 separate proposals were produced, including one plan that would move the terminal to the lower levels of the Javits Center, which was eventually nixed for being too far from mass transit options.

Prior to the pandemic, the terminal served about 260,000 passengers every weekday. The agency expects passenger demand to increase 30 percent by 2040.

The agency has estimated past replacement projects to cost between $7 and $10 billion, but the scoping document expects this proposal to be “substantially more expensive.” Officials say it could fund the project with $3 billion from the PANYNJ’s 2017-2026 capital plan, the sale of development rights from up to four nearby high rise towers, and federal funding.

The release of the final scoping report follows a public review process and next heads to a federal environmental review by the Federal Transit Administration.

The project’s announcement comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a $51 billion plan to transform Midtown West, which includes the newly opened Moynihan Train Hall, an extended High Line, and the new Port Authority bus terminal.

“This important step is a turning point in the transformation of the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Manhattan Midtown West into a world-class transportation hub worthy of New York,” Cuomo said in a statement. “By completely redeveloping the terminal, adding space for commercial development, improving the commuting experience and removing bus traffic and pollution from the surrounding community, we will show New Yorkers and the world that New York is back, and the future is once again bright.”


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