After multiple feuds, budget concerns and delays, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey may have finally reached an agreement on a timeline to replace or renovate the bus terminal. As the Associated Press reports, the plan to replace the Port Authority Bus Terminal has shifted attention back to the existing midtown Manhattan, instead of relocating it one block west. Board members of the bi-state agency said a study of the original site will be finished by the end of July to determine the cost and schedule of renovation. Following that study, an environmental review is expected later this year, which could take about two years. Construction cannot begin until the review is completed.
Port Authority Bus Terminal
The Port Authority Board of Commissioners yesterday approved a $32.2 billion, 10-year capital plan–the agency’s largest ever. The major allocations include: $3.5 billion to begin the planning and construction of a new Port Authority Bus Terminal; $10 billion towards improving trans-Hudson commuting, including a $1.5 billion Goethals Bridge replacement, completion of the $1.6 billion Bayonne Bridge rebuilding, and a $2 billion rehab of the George Washington Bridge; $11.6 billion in major airport upgrades, which factors in $4 billion for the new LaGuardia Terminal B, a plan to extend the PATH train from Newark Penn Station to the Newark Airport, and the beginning of Cuomo’s JFK overhaul; and $2.7 billion towards the Gateway rail tunnel project.
After stalling repeatedly over design disagreements, budget woes, and funding squabbles, NJ.com reports that The Port Authority said it hopes to have a new midtown Manhattan bus terminal built in New York by 2030, shovels in the ground by 2021 and be “well underway” by 2026. Though some lawmakers expressed doubt about the ambitious schedule, Steven P. Plate, Port Authority chief of major projects, said at a Legislative Oversight Committee joint hearing about the agency’s $32 billion revised capital plan, “We will have full environmental approval, permits in place and construction well underway” according to that timeline.
Just two months ago, West Side elected officials and the Port Authority agreed to move ahead on the 10-year, $10 billion capital project to replace the current Bus Terminal, releasing five design proposals for a new building. But officials at the bi-state agency “have reached an impasse” on the project due to budget concerns and disagreements on the design, reports Crain’s.
On Tuesday, an agreement was reached between West Side elected officials and the Port Authority that said the agency would expand the planning process for a new $10 billion bus terminal with more local input. And just today they’ve revealed the five proposals that were submitted to a design competition to replace the currently loathed site. Crain’s brings us videos of the ideas, which come from big-name firms Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Arcadis, AECOM in partnership with Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Perkins Eastman, and Archilier Architecture Consortium. Though this seems counter to the agreement, John Degnan, the Port Authority’s New Jersey-appointed chairman, said he doubts “any one of them will be the final design,” since they either further complicate existing planning issues or cost billions over budget.
A request to put the brakes on a $10 billion plan for a new West Side bus terminal and rethink the process with more input from local officials and the public was rebuffed by the Port Authority chairman, reports Crain’s. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer were joined by Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, state Sen. Brad Hoylman, Assembly members Richard Gottfried and Linda Rosenthal and Councilman Corey Johnson in backing the effort to slow the Port Authority’s call to move ahead with a design competition to get ideas for the West Side plan.
The controversy emerged after a board meeting on Thursday. “We’re not going to defer the design and deliverability study,” was the reply from John Degnan, the New Jersey-appointed chairman, amid concerns that the new terminal will necessitate the seizure of private property using eminent domain, threaten area homes, small businesses and other organizations and belch more carbon from a larger fleet of buses into the air in an area that already “runs afoul of federal air-quality standards.”
The chance to reimagine one of the most loathed buildings in Manhattan certainly must be appealing to designers, so it’s likely the Port Authority will receive a lot of submissions for their newly announced international competition to replace the current bus terminal. Crain’s reports that “The operator of the nation’s busiest bus terminal approved a plan Thursday to move ahead toward replacing the overcrowded, dilapidated 65-year-old facility, with a goal of deciding on a final design by [September 2016].” It’s expected that the project will cost between $7 and $10 billion and take several years to complete.
Port Authority in 1950, via MCNY
When Port Authority bus terminal opened in 1950 it was considered “among the miracles of transport and the milestones of the century.” Though we’re pretty sure this sentiment is entirely lost today, it’s still interesting to see how shiny and new Port Authority was regarded as 65 years ago.
This video was a promotional newsreel for the terminal, and it notes that Port Authority wasn’t just built to keep buses off the busy Manhattan streets, but because “the states of New York and New Jersey also wanted to make life pleasanter for the traveler.”
- Gothamist looks back at the glory days of Port Authority Bus Terminal One of today’s ugliest buildings, it was once considered “revolutionary” and “magnificent.” Huh?…
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Images: Port Authority today via Wiki Commons (L); George Carlin Way via Getty Images (R)