Members of Manhattan’s Community Board 4 fear that the Port Authority is rushing to replace its bus terminal and would like the agency to take more time to consider the needs of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.
To replace its 66-year-old, much-maligned terminal on 8th Avenue, the bi-state agency is looking a bit farther west, between 9th and 11th Avenues, as a new site.
In March, Port Authority launched a competition to take design and delivery proposals. And after whittling down 15 submissions to five finalists Wednesday, competitors currently have until early August to submit full concepts.
“Competitors have essentially two months to put together a proposal for a $10 billion project arguably more complicated than rebuilding the World Trade Center. This is not enough,” said Christine Berthet, the co-chair for Community Board 4’s Transportation Committee, at a Port Authority board meeting Thursday. “You should all ask your wives if they can redesign your house in two months.”
The board wants to ensure that the new terminal doesn’t come at the cost of compromising the neighborhood’s character, nearby social facilities, food pantries and residential housing. In order to do so, it says the Port Authority should postpone its deadline for one or two months to allow for more community feedback.
Port Authority Chairman John Degnan said the agency is planning to host a meeting between the community board and the design finalists in July regarding the new terminal, which the authority hopes would be able to accommodate its projected peak passenger growth of 35% to 51% through 2040.
He added that, based on discussion at the meeting, the authority would be “willing to consider” delaying the August deadline by a month.
“We recognize the important role of the community board and our obligation to work with them to complete the bus terminal,” Degnan said. “Certainly we want to do it in a way that gives them meaningful input and we’re going to make sure that will happen.”