NEW YORK | Port Authority Bus Terminal Renovation/Replacement


#1

Continuing the discussion from NEW YORK | Hudson District - Clinton & Garment Districts:

Port Authority Bus Terminal to Get $90 Million for Upgrades

The Port Authority Bus Terminal is poised to get $90 million in improvements aimed at easing the plight of New Jersey bus commuters.

By Andrew Tangel on July 24, 2014

Board members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Wednesday authorized spending $90 million from its capital budget to upgrade the 1950s-era structure in Midtown Manhattan.

Port Authority officials said they would detail improvements for the bus terminal at the agency’s September board meeting. Executive Director Patrick Foye said the authority would likely initially focus on improving the bus terminal’s heating and air-conditioning systems, restrooms, and cellphone and wireless Internet service. “It’s not acceptable to anybody,” Mr. Foye said.

Port Authority officials also expressed support for replacing the bus terminal altogether, but the project would likely cost more than $1 billion and could take as long as a decade or 15 years to complete.


#2

This is could help in the replacement of PA Bus Terminal.

Port Authority Wants to Build Bus Terminal Annex

By Mathew Katz on April 1, 2014 6:45am

HELL’S KITCHEN — The Port Authority hopes to build a $400 million addition to the city’s bus terminal in an effort to speed trips for roughly 30,000 passengers daily, according to officials and documents.

The agency’s proposed Galvin Plaza Bus Annex would hold 100 buses in a depot on a vacant Port Authority-owned lot on the north side of West 39th Street, between 10th and 11th avenues, officials said. The facility would have direct connections to the Lincoln Tunnel and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, letting buses bypass city streets entirely.

The annex would help relieve pressure on the over-capacity bus terminal, especially during emergencies, officials said.


#3

Feds reject $230M grant bid for Port Authority Bus Terminal

By Shawn Boburg, October 22, 2014,

http://www.northjersey.com/polopoly_fs/1.1055872.1410976291!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_650/port-authority-bus-terminal.jpg

Finding a long-term solution to congestion and delays at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan is going to be more complicated, now that that the agency’s bid for a $230 million federal grant has been rejected, the Port Authority chairman said on Wednesday.

But Chairman John Degnan said the agency is still committed to either replacing or upgrading the aging and cramped facility, which has been the subject of recent criticism from transit advocates, New Jersey politicians, and commuters.

Port Authority officials said in July that they hoped to get the federal money to help build a badly-needed bus storage facility in Manhattan. Currently, buses must return to New Jersey to find parking after the morning rush hour, only to clog the Lincoln Tunnel on their way back to pick up evening commuters.

The Port Authority $400 million bus depot was not one of the 72 projects picked by the Federal Transit Administration, however. Nearly 800 applications were considered. The staging and parking depot was planned for vacant agency-owned land off of West 39th St., between 10th and 11th avenues.

…Degnan said not winning the grant “doesn’t change the commitment of the board to addressing the long-term issue of either replacing or improving the bus terminal to a point where it’s acceptable in the level of service it provides.”

“It just complicates it because it (the bus depot) could have been the first phase.”


#4

In 1950, the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 41st Street and 8th Avenue opened—today it’s one of New York City’s most loathed, dank, dark and dirty buildings, but at the time it was dubbed “revolutionary,” “impressive,” “functionally perfect,” and “magnificent” by the NY Times.

Indeed, the idea was a beautiful one—get the buses all in to one place, instead of loading and unloading in the streets and at separate, smaller terminals around the city, like this one:

The building, however, was also deemed “pleasant.” A laughable compliment now, but on December 14th that year, the day before it opened, the paper sang its praises: “The terminal is a magnificent job; its architectural lines are clean and striking; it is functional and businesslike, yet comfortable and pleasant; of all the abortive efforts in recent years to alleviate the midtown Manhattan traffic problem, here is one vast improvement that was delivered to the people and is certain to repay all the toil and grief that had to be endured to bring it about.”


#5

Changes at Port Authority Bus Terminal easing gridlock

By Christopher Maag, November 12, 2014

http://www.northjersey.com/polopoly_fs/1.1131373.1415770482!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_650/port-authority-bus-terminal.jpg
Chris Pedota/Staff Photographer

For months this summer, the Port Authority Bus Terminal was so crowded and NJ Transit Bus 163 to Paramus often ran so late that Robert Celikbas rarely made it home in time to put his baby to bed.

“It was sad. I never saw my daughter,” said Celikbas, 34, an accountant in Manhattan who started looking for jobs in New Jersey to avoid commuting through the terminal.

In the last few weeks, though, something has changed. Lines inside the terminal became shorter. The 163 started leaving on time. And Celikbas now spends an hour and a half at home every night with his 7-month-old daughter.

“I don’t know how they did it,” he said. “But this is definitely better.”

After years of growing congestion — and frustration — at the midtown Manhattan bus station, gridlock reached crisis proportions this summer. Buses were late, lines of commuters snaked around the building, and commuters became enraged.

Officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the building on Eighth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets, and NJ Transit, which operates 70 percent of the buses using the terminal, promised immediate changes. A new order started on Sept. 15 that included adding personnel to manage traffic and to redirect bus drivers as needed. Its focus: Keep those buses rolling.

“As long as we keep buses moving through the building, that’s the key to the whole thing,” said Mike Kilcoyne, deputy general manager of bus operations for NJ Transit.

The results, while preliminary, have been dramatic. The number of buses passing though the terminal every weekday evening is up 23 percent, said Cedrick Fulton, director of tunnels, bridges and terminals for the Port Authority

…It’s possible that this week was an anomaly. Given the Veterans Day holiday on Tuesday, some commuters may have stayed home for a four-day weekend. But most commuters interviewed said that the improvements were significant.

…The new system is a temporary, imperfect solution, officials acknowledged. The Lincoln Tunnel opened in 1937, and it feeds a 64-year-old terminal that is at the end of its useful life. Replacing it may take decades. Both operate at near-peak capacity every rush hour. Given the age, deterioration and limited size of both the terminal and the tunnel, transportation experts say that some nights, gridlock is still inevitable.

When jams happen, officials at NJ Transit and the Port Authority say their new system allows them to respond, as opposed to sitting by, helpless.

“Some days we’re going to have problems. We can’t help that,” said Mark Schaff, the Port Authority’s assistant general manager in charge of the terminal and the Lincoln Tunnel. “But hopefully, now we can clear those problems faster and get people through the building faster.”

Some longtime customers remain skeptical. “When it gets bad, they get some Band-Aids and it gets better for a little bit,” said Jennifer Thomas, 46, who has been riding Bus 163 to Paramus for 20 years. “But it’s never consistent. It just goes back to the way it was.”


#6

The Port Authority Bus Terminal: Myth, Mystery, Mess

Margaret McCormick - Failed Architecture, 12/4/2014


Postcard of the initial building.

…In 1921 New York City had a problem (one of many): Hundreds of buses were navigating to different drop-off locations, causing commuter havoc. It was through this storm a cross-state agency called “The Port Authority” was formed.

23 years later (under the leadership of Frank Ferguson) the Port Authority announced their intent of creating “The World’s Largest Bus Terminal”. A project to be funded, designed, constructed and operated by the agency itself. No specific architect was highlighted in this planning, leading several to believe the structure would be designed by committee. It almost certainly was. However it would not be until 1946, that the stars would be aligned for construction. The delay came down to the famous and infamous commissioner, Robert Moses.

Moses had developed a deep hatred towards public transportation and made it his mission to eliminate it. Without a charismatic figure to oppose him, it seemed the Commissioner had no obstacle. Allied with the Greyhound Bus Company, he mounted a two-year counterattack against the proposed terminal but was eventually beaten. The PABT construction had been a rare defeat for Moses, but he was not done fighting.

Originally built as an art-deco influenced structure with the parking lot on the roof, the building was relatively well received. Taking up roughly the size of a city block, the warm brick colors were very much of the Works Progress era. Clean with an almost moral simplicity. It was completed in 1950, as advertised, for the price tag of $24 million.

Yet even at its opening the facilities were not enough and the agency sought $550 million for continued renovations over the next ten years. Moses however, had other plans. As the de facto Tsar of New York’s urban planning he used all of his acumen and ability to encourage individual vehicle agendas. By 1955, he had influenced planning so much that almost all transport funding was promised to highways and parking. Sure enough, the PABT fell into disrepair.


#7

NJ Transit asks riders to test bus terminal WiFi

By Larry Higgs on December 10, 2014 at 11:48 AM

http://imgick.nj.com/home/njo-media/width620/img/traffic_impact/photo/16538879-mmmain.jpg
Commuters using the Port Authority Bus Terminal, such as these riders waiting at the 300 level gates, are being asked to beta test NJ Transits new WiFi system in the terminal. (Larry Higgs NJ Adavance Media)

Bus commuters will be able to take NJ Transit’s new Port Authority Bus Terminal WiFi system for a road test starting today.

The enhanced WiFi system was set up to provide better access for riders to NJ Transit alerts and other commuter information typically accessed by cell and smart phone, said Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim, NJ Transit executive director. Riders can access it at NJT_WiFi.

“We recognized that for years the terminal didn’t have good service,” Hakim said. “This answers a complaint.”

Riders interviewed after NJ Transit launched operational changes at the bus terminal in the fall to reduce waits, identified better WiFi service and phone reception as a needed improvement.

Bus commuters are being asked to beta test the terminal WiFi for the next four weeks. The WiFi network allows riders to do access transit information and other internet services, except video streaming.


#8

Port Authority budget approved amid criticism

By Steve Strunsky on December 10, 2014 at 1:25 PM

JERSEY CITY — The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today appoved its 2015 budget amid criticism that spending on the World Trade Center redevelopment dwarfs what the agency is putting into the renovation of the much-maligned Port Authority Bus Terminal.

State Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) appeared before the agency’s Board of Commissioners this morning in Jersey City just before they were set to vote on the $7.8 billion budget, which is down 5 percent overall from 2014.

Weinberg pointed out that, while $101 million in operating funds were committed to the bus terminal, plus $38 million in capital spending to improve crowded, uncomfortable conditions, the figures paled compared to the $1.921 billion to be spent on the trade center site, roughly 25 percent of all agency spending for the year.

This budget is a reminder of the Port Authority’s past mistakes,” Weinberg told commissioners.


#9

Wifi or better phone reception is much needed here! I take the Greyhound out of the north terminal on the lower level sometimes, and if I’m lucky, I get one bar on my phone every now and then if I stay in the right spot. I can’t think of another public transportation terminal that’s this poor! What does it take to get some cell phone repeaters run down there?


#10

Wifi infrastructure should be upgraded. I read an article recently about plans to install wifi in former phone booths.


#11

Retail at Port Authority Bus Terminal Is Poised for RenewalBus Terminal: More in Store

Brokers Sense an Opportunity for Specialty Food ShopsPort Authority Picks New Team to Bolster Food, Other Amenities for Commuters

By Keiko Morris on January 25, 2015

Crowded, 24-7 bus stations aren’t commonly known for appealing retail environments, but two New York City real-estate firms are aiming for just that at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Cushman & Wakefield Inc. and JRT Realty Group Inc. were picked by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to handle the marketing and leasing of the terminal’s 150,000 square feet of retail space and another 13,000 square feet of vacant space nearby on Ninth Avenue.

The brokers want to bring in new, specialty-food vendors and shops and offer more amenities for the 225,000 daily passengers who pass through the terminal.

“The retail space at the bus terminal is, just like Grand Central Terminal, extraordinarily valuable,” said Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye.

The Port Authority terminal, however, lacks the grandeur that has made Grand Central Terminal a tourist destination as well as a commuter hub. Some 750,000 people pass through Grand Central each day.

The Port Authority is investing $90 million to improve the hulking bus terminal, which stretches between West 40th and West 42nd streets and between Eighth and Ninth avenues.

The money will pay for improvements such as an additional bypass lane to improve inbound bus traffic, ceiling repairs, upgrades to escalators, elevators and vestibules and better cellular and Wi-Fi service.


Vacant retail space in the south building of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown

The changes to the retail space at the bus station will come gradually, as new tenants invest to build out their shops to higher standards, said Steven Soutendijk, Cushman & Wakefield executive director, who is part of the bus terminal’s leasing team. Existing tenants that renew also will be required to renovate their shops to new standards.

An upgraded tenant mix won’t necessarily mean retailers selling higher-price products, he said. “We’re not making this a luxury mall,” he said. “We recognize there has to be affordable options, amenities for commuters.”

The heavy foot traffic at transit hubs have made them desirable locations for certain retailers. Grand Central Terminal’s 145,000 square feet of retail space is usually 100% occupied, said Nancy Marshall, who handles leasing at the terminal.


#12

Push to Replace Port Authority Bus Terminal

New depot is estimated to cost up to $11 billion


The interior level of Port Authority Bus Terminal. PHOTO: RAMSAY DE GIVE FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

By Andrew Tangel on March 17, 2015 12:47 p.m. ET

When the Port Authority Bus Terminal opened in 1950, it helped New York City funnel a growing number of buses carrying commuters into Manhattan’s West Side.

Today, the terminal west of Times Square is a major chokepoint for bus traffic from New Jersey suburbs. Commuters complain of delays, crowding and a dreary environment.

Like Penn Station about 10 blocks to the south, the terminal is also the butt of jokes. Last summer, the comedian John Oliver declared it “the single worst place on Planet Earth” and joked that even cockroaches are trying to escape.

Now the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has preliminary estimates for how much it could cost to replace its eponymous terminal: $8 billion to $11 billion, a potential price tag rivaling that of a project to dig new passenger rail tunnels under the Hudson River.

The terminal is expected to take the spotlight at the Port Authority’s board meeting on Thursday, highlighting how the agency is trying to refocus on regional transportation in the wake of the September 2013 scandal involving lane-closures at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J.

“It is an existential mission,” said Kenneth Lipper, a Port Authority commissioner from New York who has pushed for replacing the terminal. “We must do it.”

Talk of replacing the terminal comes as the Port Authority also seeks to play a starring role in jump-starting a project to build two rail tunnels under the Hudson River.

…But the push to replace or overhaul the terminal comes as the timing of the Hudson River tunnel project and another major Port Authority construction project—an overhaul of the maligned Central Terminal Building building at La Guardia Airport in Queens—remain uncertain.

Amtrak, the national passenger railroad, now estimates its plan to build two tunnels as part of a set of upgrades known as Gateway, could cost from $15 billion to $20 billion.

Last year, Amtrak said it might need to close its two existing tunnels between New York and New Jersey for major repairs in coming years. A closure of those tunnels, which opened in 1910, threatens to snarl traffic on the East Coast amid growing ridership for Amtrak and NJ Transit commuter train riders.

Replacing the Port Authority Bus Terminal could take a decade a longer. But more daunting would be to work on both the depot and tunnel project simultaneously, while also finding enough capacity in the transportation network to keep people moving between both states.

“It’s like a big puzzle,” said Rich Barone, director of transportation programs at the Regional Plan Association. “We have to look at all the pieces and figure out how we actually put this thing together.”

While both projects are expensive, the terminal handles twice as many riders as Penn Station handles rail passengers from New Jersey during the morning peak.


#13

Excellent article. Love the stats. Yeah the bus terminal needs a major overhaul and I mean major. For now, its a refuge camp for vagrants and odd individuals who pee in their pants (sometimes it smells like urine, just like Newark Penn), but the city will improve it over time. Step by step many of these decrepit places are seeing giant overhauls.


#14

Port Authority Bus Terminal Plans Raise Questions on Cost, Timing

Estimates range from $7.5 billion to $10.5 billion in as many as 15 years

By Andrew Tangel on March 19th, 2015

Commuters and visitors to New York City stand to get a new Port Authority Bus Terminal one day, maybe in Midtown West or perhaps even in New Jersey.

But how much it would cost, where to put it and how long it would take to build are up in the air—controversial questions facing the operator of Manhattan’s aging, crowded and widely unloved bus depot west of Times Square.

Commissioners who oversee the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey chewed over five proposals for replacing the terminal, which was built in 1950 and is among the country’s busiest transportation hubs, with about 7,000 buses a day.

They grappled with sticker shock: Construction costs estimated by the authority’s staff and consultants ranged from $7.5 billion to $10.5 billion in as many as 15 years.

Those tentative price tags didn’t include windfalls the authority could reap from development rights—the proposals included possible skyscrapers by the Lincoln Tunnel.

Nor did estimates include projected operating revenue for the terminal, which the authority says currently loses $100 million a year.

For some, price was a secondary consideration: “What difference does it make what it costs? We have to do it,” said David Steiner, an authority commissioner from New Jersey. “Without it, we’re out of business. We’re there to transport the people from New Jersey to New York and back.”

The options included replacing the terminal of approximately 1.5 million square feet, expanding it, or moving it nearby and erecting skyscrapers as well as a bus garage. A temporary bus terminal could go up during construction.

The most expensive option presented on Thursday to the Port Authority’s board would cost an estimated $10.5 billion.

This proposal would build a bus terminal on the existing site but expand it west to accommodate expected growth in bus ridership by 2040.

A skyscraper would rise at Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street, but this scenario would yield the least funding from development rights and would require a temporary depot during construction.

The cheapest proposal, at $7.5 billion, would entail a smaller terminal between Ninth and Eleventh avenues and 39th to 40th streets.

This option would have bus parking and staging areas, but construction wouldn’t include a temporary depot. It could yield a development boon and take as few as 11 years, but could only accommodate little more than half the commuter demand expected in a quarter-century.

One option was off the table: An authority official said rehabilitation won’t work. Massive concrete slabs carrying heavy busloads are approaching obsolescence, Port Authority official Cedrick Fulton said.


#15

Officials reject $9B plan to revamp Port Authority Bus Terminal

By Associated Press on March 20th. 2015

A plan to transform the Port Authority Bus Terminal from a downtrodden hub in Times Square into a gleaming transit palace stalled on Thursday as officials rejected a $9 billion price tag and demanded cheaper options.

Commissioners of the Port Authority revolted against the terminal proposal presented by transit officials, saying they need to go back to the drawing board and consider other options, including building in New Jersey and creating a rail link to Manhattan or finding a cheaper locale for construction.

The hub, long considered an embarrassing stain on the city’s mass transit system, is the busiest bus terminal in the nation. It suffers from cracked floors, crumbling ceiling tiles and severe overcrowding during rush hour.

Commissioners have acknowledged for years the terminal needs to be replaced, but the project has never taken off amid Port Authority political scandals and financial burdens.


#16

Shame :(. Well, 9 billion is a lot, so hopefully they can at least come up with something feasible.


#17

A rail link from New Jersey? Its a shame nobody thought of that before…I mean, who wouldnt approve a line that would provide Access to the Regions Core?


#18

This makes sense!

Rechler: Not so fast on Port Authority Bus Terminal renovation

RXR head says get commuters onto mass transit before they reach Manhattan

December 30, 2015 10:37AM

Scott Rechler thinks planners need to slow down and take another look at the Port Authority Bus Terminal redesign. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey board member and head of RXR Realty said politics, not sound planning, are currently pushing the planned project forward. “When you’re talking about a $10 billion project, you really need to make sure it’s well thought out,” Rechler told Politico. “And the projects that haven’t been successful, the projects that have gone over-budget, are the projects that [were] done because it was politically valuable to move them forward before the planning was done.” The developer suggested a different approach: corral commuters into the mass transit system before they cross the river into Manhattan. He proposed the construction of a new bus terminal on the New Jersey side of the river, which would allow passengers to reach NJ Transit via the planned Gateway tunnel under the Hudson River, Politico reported. The Port Authority voted in November to hold an international design competition for the planned terminal, which will rise at 625 Eighth Avenue in Midtown, one block from the current site. The agency plans to sell air rights at the current terminal’s location, 2.3 million square feet according to public records. It has estimated that revenues from that sale could pay for up to two thirds of the $10 billion required for the renovation. [Politico] – Ariel Stulberg - See more at: http://therealdeal.com/blog/2015/12/30/rechler-not-so-fast-on-port-authority-bus-terminal-renovation/#sthash.HKjs0C21.dpuf


#19

Designs for a new bus terminal unveiled
http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20160922/REAL_ESTATE/160929950/five-firms-unveil-designs-for-a-revamped-port-authority-bus-terminal?utm_campaign=socialflow&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social









#20

I hope that the heinous spaghetti road network on Dyer is razed and that wasteland becomes a park.