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Port Authority Bus Terminal redesign ideas released

Concepts to reimagine the Port Authority Bus Terminal, released Thursday by the agency, vary wildly in price and execution.

The five finalists from the Port Authority’s competition include an idea from the biggest city design firm to bury a new terminal deep underground, below the existing site.

Another pitch would construct an entire new terminal in the Javits Center. Still another would also incorporate a 9.8-acre public park through the heart of the West Side.

Built in 1950, the Port Authority Bus Terminal quickly reached its capacity. It’s notoriously stuffy and cannot meet the demand of today’s commuters.

Each designer was tasked to meet the authority’s projected commuter growth over the next 24 years. The authority expects 337,000 daily commuters by 2040, an increase of almost 69 percent from 2011.

Despite recent calls to move at least part of any new bus terminal out of Hell’s Kitchen, each concept revolves around building within the neighborhood. The new designs will be used as a starting point for discussion as the Port Authority restarts its planning process for the facility with “extensive consultation” with Manhattan’s elected officials and the local community, the authority said.

“My instinct is that no one is going to emerge … as the final concept,” said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan. “These are concepts only.

“There may be ideas in each of them — we certainly like the components that don’t require eminent domain or acquisition of private property,” Degnan continued. “Some of them, you can gauge here yourself, by expense or other consideration, are probably not going to survive.”

Price tags range from a $3.7 billion plan to build a reduced-size but higher-capacity terminal along 10th Avenue, to the $15.8 billion idea to move the entire terminal underground.

Once expected to serve as the foundation of planning a new bus terminal, the concepts took on a lesser role after after West Side politicians and community members said that the Port Authority didn’t sufficiently consult with the public on the project.

“Instead of tearing up the concepts, the thought is that this could be a jumping point, or a launching board, to talk about what could be. But this time planning will involve community input,” said Delores Rubin, chair of Manhattan’s Community Board 4.

Transit experts agree that, even with the massive Gateway Project tunnel under the Hudson River, a larger bus terminal must be one component of a comprehensive regional planning approach to meet the growing demand of cross-Hudson commuters.

“The Port Authority should really be planning not for 2040 but for 50 or 75 years down the line, considering the cost of the project,” said Janna Chernetz, director of New Jersey policy at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Not one mode can absorb the other. We need to have all modes available to meet the needs of everybody. If you don’t have the bus, rail and roads can’t absorb all bus commuters.”

Here are the five final Bus Terminal concepts:


At the cost of $4.2 billion, Arcadis's proposal
Photo Credit: Port Authority of NY & NJ

At the cost of $4.2 billion, Arcadis's proposal would place a new Bus Terminal on Dyer Avenue, between Ninth and 10th avenues and 38th and 40th streets. The seven-floor structure would feature ground-floor retail outlets and a second-floor central waiting area. Its layout would bring buses into the terminal directly from the Lincoln Tunnel.


Aimed at
Photo Credit: Port Authority of NY & NJ

Aimed at "healing an open wound" created by the current bus terminal, Archilier's proposal would create nearly 10 acres of public park space in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood with its rooftop park concept. But the design would call for the acquisition of three buildings, which include 50 households, three commercial tenants, a housing advocacy group and a homeless shelter. This proposal would cost $7 billion.

Hudson Terminal Center

This $15.8 billion proposal by Hudson Terminal Center
Photo Credit: Port Authority of NY & NJ

This $15.8 billion proposal by Hudson Terminal Center would keep the bus terminal out of sight and out of mind. It would call for the Port Authority to bury the transit hub roughly right underneath its current structure.

Pelli Clarke

This $3.7 billion concept, proposed by Pelli Clarke,
Photo Credit: Port Authority of NY & NJ

This $3.7 billion concept, proposed by Pelli Clarke, would shrink the size of the bus terminal by 25 percent by relying on a new fleet of buses with additional doors for expanded boarding capabilities. It would be built along 10th Avenue, between 38th Street and 40th Street.

Perkins Eastman

Perkins Eastman's proposal explores moving the entire bus
Photo Credit: Port Authority of NY & NJ

Perkins Eastman's proposal explores moving the entire bus terminal into the first floor of the state-run Javits Center at the tune of $5.4 billion. In doing so, it would eliminate the terminal's footprint as well as create a direct connection from the Lincoln Tunnel.


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