Posts tagged with "Port Authority Bus Terminal":

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Regional Plan Association calls for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal at the Javits Center

The Regional Plan Association (RPA) has published a report that calls for major changes to how transit is operated between New Jersey and Manhattan. In 25 years, the report explains, daily commuters into Manhattan from New Jersey increased by 70,000 to 320,000. "Our current system of trains, buses, subways, ferries, and roads does not have enough capacity to serve another 72,000—let alone another 150,000," said the RPA. The report goes adds that while rail journeys from Penn Station have almost tripled, bus travel is where major growth has taken place, increasing by 83 percent. As a result, the RPA's biggest proposal is for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) at the base of the Javits Center. This $3 billion project would not mean destroying the current PABT in Midtown, it said, but it would create an additional bus hub to relieve the Midtown terminus. "The ramps connecting the Lincoln Tunnel and the PABT are immovable and any solutions must keep them in place," the RPA argue. "Any other building site large enough for existing and expanded PABT operations will be enormously expensive; and any relocation will put the PABT passengers further from their destinations and the extraordinary subway connections they now enjoy." While having some bus routes into Hudson Yards is a good idea, access to the #7 train may not be adequate from a capacity perspective. Secondly, that train doesn't go anywhere useful for those coming into Manhattan—it's a line that primarily services Queens. The RPA, however, had other points to make, notably stressing the importance of the Gateway Project. "The new tunnels must be in place before the existing tunnels fail. Simply put, this is the highest infrastructure priority for the nation." Furthermore, the RPA called for Gateway to be turned into a through-running service, no longer terminating at 7th Avenue, but going onto Sunnyside Yards in Queens by going eastward under Manhattan. Planning consultants ReThink Studio also have a scheme similar to this. Keeping with rail travel, Vishaan Chakrabarti and PAU's proposal to move Madison Square Gardens to an adjacent site was praised by the RPA, creating what it called a "beautiful train station." All in all, this plan would be executed in phases. These phases were outlined and can be found below.
Phase One Build gateway tunnels and a bus terminal in the basement of the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Phase Two Build Gateway East with through service at Penn South. Constructing Penn South with fewer, wider platforms and two new East River tunnels would increase throughput at Penn Station by 30% and greatly expand rail service for New Jersey Transit, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro North riders. New direct rail service into Penn Station for Bergen and Monmouth counties would reduce travel times and shift bus riders to rail in these under-served counties, relieving highway congestion and pressure on the bus terminals. Phase Three Build new tail tunnels to expand service and meet future capacity needs
The report in full can be found here.
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Port Authority Bus Terminal to get total reset and other breaking news from annual RPA conference

The Regional Plan Association (RPA)'s Assembly conference in New York City, which focuses on urban planning, infrastructure, and transportation, was marked by an acute sense of crises and challenge. "You need to start shouting about how bad things are, how irresponsible" we've been as a nation, former Vice President Joe Biden told the audience. He bellowed how the U.S.'s infrastructure released a D+ rating. Biden was on hand to receive the RPA's John Zuccotti Award. In addition to being a longtime advocate for Amtrack, the noted train enthusiast Biden administered the infrastructure-heavy American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It's an "easy message to deliver," he said, "that our infrastructure is crumbling and making America less competitive." Challenges associated with major projects like the Gateway Program (which promises new rail tunnels under the Hudson, among other improvements), the Second Avenue Subway, and a new Port Authority Bus Terminal loomed large as the conference started off. In the Assembly's large morning panel, Polly Trottenberg, commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), highlighted how the region's "accountability and governance model" needs to be reviewed. If government officials have clear ownership, it's better, she said, citing Governor Cuomo's intervention into the Second Avenue Subway. Rohit Aggarwala, chief policy officer of Sidewalk Labs and co-chair of the RPA's Fourth Regional Plan, gave a preview of what the RPA would propose when the Plan comes out later this year. "What has happened to these institutions?" he asked, arguing that it wasn't politics, ineptitude, nor lack of funding that was causing major regional transportation projects to falter and slow. It's the "very shape and structure of these agencies" that were the cause, he said, adding that they're "deeply flawed" in how they're organized, funded, and how responsibilities are divided. He discussed how other global cities, such as London, Honk Kong, and Los Angeles, have all restructured their transportation agencies in the last 20 or so years, consolidating power on a more local level or finding new arrangements more reflective of their needs. "It is time for reinvention," he concluded, saying the Fourth Plan would address these issues head-on. (He gave no concrete hints about the Plan itself, though in one example of dysfunction, he cited how commuter rail authorities are divided by the Hudson.)
There were major project updates at the "Crossing the Hudson" panel, which sought to address the fundamental challenge of improving transportation across (and under) the Hudson to connect New York and New Jersey. Tom Wright, president of the RPA, kicked off the panel by showing how New Jersey added 65,000 new cross-Hudson commuters from 1990 to 2010 and stood to add another 75,000 from 2010 to 2040. (By another estimate, it would be 110,000 by 2040 if you include New Jersey commuters going to all five boroughs.) Forty-three percent of current commutes happen via bus and a new Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) is desperately needed. Additionally, if one track is lost on the current 106-year-old rail tunnel under the Hudson, Penn Station can only handle six trains during a peak hour (as compared to 24 otherwise).
Put simply, "New Jersey transit systems are in a state of crises," said panel member and New Jersey State Senator Robert Gordon. While PATH is in decent shape funding-wise (thanks to PANYNJ tolls), the rest of the state's transit system is severely underfunded. John Porcari, interim executive director of the Gateway Program Development Corporation, framed the challenge a little differently: 10 percent of the country's GDP is in the New York metro area, but crossing the Hudson via rail its "single point of failure." A new rail bridge, dubbed the Portal Bridge and located over the Hackensack River, is ready for construction but is awaiting federal funding. The new rail tunnel's environmental impact statement should be released in 60 days, Pocari added, and a financing plan is also in the works. Those two projects (the new bridge and tunnel) constitute phase one of the Gateway Program; phase two includes a new Penn Station. Biden called the tunnel "literally the single most important project in the country." A new PABT is also essential to the trans-Hudson transportation question; the current station will require replacement in 15 to 20 years due to structural deterioration, said Andrew Lynn, director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ)'s Planning and Regional Development Department. (Lynn sometimes holds meetings with local officials and stakeholders in the PABT, using the shaking walls to drive home his point.) The PANYNJ has about $3.5 billion set aside for the terminal, but despite numerous attempts to formulate a plan over the years, none have been successful. The PANYNJ is effectively "pushing the reset button" on the project, and while the group will learn from past failures, "we're really starting over," he said. (Gordon suggested expanding the current PABT upwards by building off the current structure. This would expand capacity while minimzing local impact.) However, Polly Trottenberg, commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), countered that "global cities are not building big bus terminals"; rail is much more efficient. "One enormous bus terminal" is not the solution, she said, citing the failings of Robert Moses and how "we don't think that way now." Lastly, the panel touched on the replacement and expansion of Penn Station. Vishaan Chakrabarti, founder of Practice for Architecture Urbanism, who has put forward a plan to adapt the existing structure, explained his plan to move Madison Square Garden to the back of the old Farley Building, allowing the adaptive reuse of the current Garden's superstructure for a new train station that would make the neighborhood a "world-class address." (ReThink Studio, who was also present at the Assembly, has critiqued aspects of this plan.) Chakrabarti also sounded the alarm that office space might be built in the back of the Farley Building to fund Amtrack's construction of a new Amtrack platforms on the rails that run under the Farley Building. Those platforms, he added, would only serve Amtrack and exclude regional rail. He also warned that the current Penn Station was a safety hazard awaiting disaster: with such low ceilings, for instance, a smoke event would be disastrous in the already-overcapacity space. In sum, the panel portrayed a moment of crises but also a potential reconsideration of the current status quo. Once the current crises have been averted, panelists agreed it would make the most sense for New Jersey to emphasize trains over buses for a trans-Hudson commute, as rail is overall far more efficient (albeit also more expensive) a system for moving people. After this, an afternoon panel, "Planning for the Transportation Revolution," sought to address how ride sharing and autonomous vehicle could reshape the urban landscape. Bruce Schaller, principal at Schaller Consulting (which specializes in urban transportation policy), and Matt Wing, corporate communications lead at Uber, both highlighted how Transportation Network Companies (TNCs, such as Uber and Lyft) have filled in gaps created by public transportation. Forty percent of Uber's New York City rides are in the outer boroughs and never touch Manhattan, which serves as little surprise given only one subway line (the G) doesn't pass through Manhattan. TNCs, Wing explained, are also serving as critical links in the "last mile" problem of getting people to mass transit stations. (See AN's transportation feature on Miami for more on this.) Jessica Robinson, director of city solutions at Ford Smart Mobility, revealed that Ford aimed to have a production-ready Level 4 self-driving car by 2021. (Level 4 means no steering wheel, gas pedal, or anything else drivers must operate.) Given their cost, said Robinson, such cars will almost certainly be owned and operated by ride-sharing companies. Seeking to stay at the forefront of mobility solutions, Ford also bought Chariot, a TNC that operates 14-passenger ride-sharing vehicles and aims to reinvent mass transit. It was Robin Chase, the co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, who gave the most impassioned presentation. "Cities are in a one-time position of power," she said, to dictate the terms of how autonomous vehicles should operate before they're legally allowed in major cities. She's currently organizing a global coalition of mayor to negotiate with large companies. Her top priorities include: ensuring all vehicles are electric, creating a level playing field for competition among ride-sharing companies, and negotiating new forms of ride sharing taxation based on distance traveled, curb rights, fuel type, and other factors. Conventional taxation based on registration fees, gasoline tax, and tolls may not be an option when autonomous vehicles hit the road. Overall, the panel argued that anything less than all-electronic fleets of competing ride share companies would be a major loss for cities. In that scenario, there are fewer and much cleaner cars on the road, and vast amounts of parking and curbside space would be made available for public use.
For more on major transportations plans, don't miss the upcoming Plan 2050 at the Cooper Union, this May 9!
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Five finalists vie to win Port Authority Bus Terminal design competition

Five finalists have been selected to design a bus terminal for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Included are New York-based firms: Arcadis and Archilier (who's team come are known as The Archilier Architecture Consortium), Perkins Eastman, New Haven-based practice Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, and SOM who are working with STV architects and engineering firms McMillen Jacobs Associates and AECOM under the name "Hudson Terminal Center Collaborative." The five teams were chosen as part the Port Authority's call for submissions to design a bus terminal "at the heart of New York City" (the new terminal will be located near the old one in Midtown). The competition, which is officially called "Port Authority Bus Terminal International Design + Deliverability Competition," will award $1 million to its winner. "Building a new Port Authority Bus Terminal will be one of the largest and most important infrastructure projects in this agency's history and across the nation," said Chairman Degnan in a press release. "Our competition is open to multi-disciplinary teams from across America and the world, which can prove their skills and expertise are up to the extremely complex task of designing a worthy successor to the world's busiest bus terminal in the heart of New York City." In their submission, the Hudson Terminal Center Collaborative stated that they aim to “create a significant civic gesture, while reclaiming and reconnecting the urban fabric of” New York. With the competition touching upon a wide range of disciplines—including architecture and engineering, intermodal transportation operations and planning, construction, land use, and finance—competitors have been urged to form a team that can address these diverse challenges. The competition will also be divided into two phases. Phase One will see teams register and submit preliminary designs meanwhile Phase Two will see shortlisted competitors (from the original group of submitters) propose an updated scheme on the basis of new criteria. This iteration of the bus terminal "must contain a fully deliverable conceptual design and a proposed methodology for delivering the conceptual design." "It's no secret that the existing bus terminal is ill-equipped to meet the needs of passengers today, much less the needs of the future," said Port Authority Vice Chairman Scott Rechler. "The Design and Deliverability Competition, along with the Core Capacity Study, will take into account the continued growth of the region, including the anticipated increase in traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel—as well as on New York City streets—making this a big step forward in developing a comprehensive solution for trans-Hudson passengers. This will be an open and transparent process that will incorporate input from the region's stakeholders and, most importantly, it will include extensive involvement from the public."
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Competition Details for NYC’s New Port Authority Bus Terminal

Calling all international architects, designers, urban planners, and engineers: the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is asking you to create a multi-disciplinary design team to submit designs and deliverables for a new bus terminal on Manhattan's west side near the aging existing terminal on 42nd Street and 8th Avenue. The current terminal is the largest in U.S., supporting over 220,000 passenger trips each weekday. PANYNJ is seeking designs that address “an appropriate level of service to meet bus passenger demand, improved functionality for bus parking and staging, minimizing traffic impact on surrounding local streets, and sustaining safety and security.” While the two-phase competition opened earlier this month, the PANYNJ board just approved funds for the project this past week. The projected cost: $10-$15 billion. One alternative to the current Manhattan location was Secaucus, in northern New Jersey. “Scott Rechler, Andrew Cuomo’s top appointee to the Port Authority, had asked the agency to explore putting the new terminal near the Secaucus Junction train station in New Jersey,” reported New York Magazine. Rechler thinks a new larger bus terminal in NYC will worsen Lincoln Tunnel traffic. Those who didn't support his plan say it would require a train transfer for many traveling from New Jersey to downtown Manhattan. “As part of a deal announced Thursday, Rechler will drop his push for a Jersey-based terminal, and in exchange, New Jersey’s top appointee to the authority withdrew his opposition to a $4 billion reconstruction plan for La Guardia Airport’s central terminal.” The first competition phase deadline is April 12, 2016. The second phase will be due sometime late this summer. PANYNJ officials expect to announce a winner this September. The award: $1 million for the winning concept. More details on PANYNJ’s competition page.
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New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal is set for a $7 to $10 billion overhaul

Over the next 15 years, $7–10 billion dollars will be spent to overhaul one of the saddest, most depressing places on earth. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) voted this month to transform the 65 year old Port Authority Bus Terminal, on Eighth Avenue at 42nd Street, and build a new station on the next block. Earlier this year, the agency estimated it would cost $11 billion to build a new bus station. The new station will be built between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, one block west of the current station. PANYNJ will create a competition to solicit new designs, and the winner will be selected by September of next year. The terminal's 200,000 daily passengers have time to let their excitement built: in a self-study, the Port Authority estimates that it will take between 11 and 15 years to complete the project. Two-thirds of the cost of the new station will be covered by the construction of a tower on the site of the current station, which has 2.3 million square feet of air rights. The terminal is the nation's busiest bus station and a regional transit hub, so it must remain operational while the tower is being built. Bus terminal enthusiasts will recall that, in 2011, PANYNJ scrapped plans to build a 855 foot, 45 story office tower on the site of the terminal, designed by Richard Rodgers.
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It will cost $11 billion to fix the Port Authority Bus Terminal, so says the Port Authority

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey claimed it will cost $11 billion to overhaul its supremely hated bus terminal in Manhattan. Yes, everyone agrees the place is pretty much a dump, but $11 billion? That sure seems steep. The plan will be presented to the Port Authority board on Thursday, but it may not go given that it doesn't seem to have the support of governors Christie and Cuomo. And the eye-popping figure may actually be a way to preemptively kill the project, so says Veronica Vanterpool, Executive Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. She told Streetsblog: "There’s a tendency to over-inflate transit costs just to kill them."
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New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal to get $90 million band-aid

Nobody likes the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Nobody. And an infusion of $90 million probably won't change that. According to the New York Times, the money, which was approved by the authority last week, will be used for fairly minor improvements including better cell phone service, improved restrooms, and more legible signs. As for an entirely new terminal? That's not happening any time soon. At least not within the next decade. So, for the foreseeable future, commuters are stuck with what the dirty, dark, dated, and crowded terminal over on 42nd Street. A space that leaves Penn Station looking more like Grand Central. That's not being overly cruel, the Port Authority also thinks the place is a dump. According to the Times, the vice chairman of the authority said the terminal was outdated, “physically, technologically, functionally, in every way that you can imagine.” And that was in a committee meeting, not on Yelp.
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Port Authority Wants New Tower and $400 Million Bus Terminal Annex in Manhattan

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has big plans for Manhattan's West-side bus terminal. In an attempt to cut congestion on the hell-forsaken crowded streets of Hell's Kitchen, the authority is planning a $400 million bus annex a few blocks from the main 42nd Street Bus Terminal. And to improve that hell-forsaken battered terminal, they are reportedly resurrecting plans to build a tower on top of it—the funds from which would be used to improve the facility. The new Galvin Plaza Bus Annex, which would rise on an Authority-owned lot, could accommodate 100 busses and tens of thousands of daily riders. The new space should significantly cut down on travel time by giving busses direct access to the Lincoln Tunnel. As DNAinfo reported, “The proposed facility would allow buses to be parked and ready to go, letting officials feed them into the bus terminal one after another instead of clogging up city streets or looping around the cavernous terminal.” If plans are approved, the annex should be up and running by… 2020. Rome wasn't built in a day.  And, according to Capital New York, the Port Authority will release an RFP later this year for a terminal-topping tower. This comes about three years after plans for a 40-story Richard Rogers–designed tower on the site were scrapped.
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Bus Terminal Blues> Port Authority Bus Terminal to be Improved

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners has endorsed a study to investigate options to accommodate growth in bus commuting to and from midtown Manhattan. The authority hired Kohn Pedersen Fox and Parsons Brinckerhoff to craft a long-term master plan to improve interstate public transit services and reduce the impact of interstate buses on nearby communities. The plan will potentially replace the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, which has reached capacity and is in need of improvements. The comprehensive plan for the bus terminal, which is utilized by approximately 8,000 buses and 225,000 travelers daily, includes a state-of-good-repair investment program and new bus staging and storage facilities on Manhattan’s west side. The scheme has been designed to improve bus operations and limit the amount of buses idling on city streets. By tackling specific infrastructure needs, the Port Authority will make certain the terminal remains a central part of the interstate transportation network. “The development of a Master Plan underscores the Port Authority’s commitment to make the Bus Terminal a world-class facility and bus transit the most reliable mode of access to midtown Manhattan,” said Port Authority Chairman David Samson in a statement. “While the Port Authority has already begun the work of revitalizing the Bus Terminal… this comprehensive approach is the best way to ensure the Bus Terminal keeps pace with future passenger growth over the next fifty years.”
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Port Authority Tower Felled at Last

After the New York Times’s Charles Bagli broke the story on Tuesday that Vornado was no longer moving forward with plans to build the Richard Rogers-designed tower atop the Port Authority Bus Terminal, reporters descended on the Port's board meeting on Wednesday. A transcript of the Q&A provided by the Port Authority reveals that while Vornado may be out of the picture, the Port hasn't entirely dropped tower development from its list of possibilities, it's just been put onto their gargantuan real-estate to-do list. Newly installed Patrick J. Foye hinted that the board was none-too-pleased with the snail like pace of development—it had been in the works for a decade. The deal fell through when Vornado's Chinese backers pulled out casting an eye beyond the West Side to the East, Park Avenue that is. "The transaction has been going on for a long period of time" Foye said in response to a question from Bloomberg's David Levitt. "Concerns have been expressed among members of the board of commissioners in prior meetings about the approach that the Authority is taking. I think those issues need to be aired and discussed in full and the Port Authority’s real estate options with respect to that asset and others need to be explored in depth and we are committed to doing that." This prompted vice-chair Scott Recheir to interject that the bus terminal is just one part of  "reviewing every capital project and prioritizing the ones that best meet the mission of the Port and how we are going to finance it." Perhaps the most interesting tidbit in the Bagli piece was the shifting of $600 million from the Bus Terminal project to Vornado's Park Avenue Plaza by SOHO China, prominent Beijing developer couple Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin. With all eyes on the West Side, from Hudson Yards to Manhattan West, Park Avenue is getting a bit of a dowdy rep.  At least that's what New York Real Estate Board chair Mary Ann Tighe warned of at Tuesday's Zoning the City conference. "In the fullness of time we might find these areas of orphans," she said. With SOHO in the hood, that doesn't seem likely. A new book by Jianying ZhaTide Players: The Movers and Shakers of a Rising China, firmly places the couple at the center of China's new elite.  A review from The New York Review of Books notes that Zhang is not risk averse in more ways than one. She hired artist Ai Weiwei after one of his many releases from prison to oversee installations at one of the company's huge projects.  Zha writes that WeiWei's "reputation as an inveterate troublemaker may have scared off most developers, but Zhang gave him a budget and promised him total freedom." It would seem the Port Authority's loss may end up being Park Avenue's gain.
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Bright Lights, Big Bus Terminal

By the end of June, the Port Authority Bus Terminal will be awash in graphics and light when a 6, 000 square foot stainless steel fabric embedded with LED lights wraps its way around the corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue.  The technology, known as Mediamesh, was developed by GKD-USA, a collaboration between a German light engineer firm and an American metal fabric manufacturer. The product is only four years old and allows LED imagery to wrap around buildings without disrupting interior views to the outside. But in the case of the Port Authority, the mesh allows exhaust fumes to escape while masking several giant X-trusses, a facade hasn't exactly endeared itself to New Yorkers. This is the largest scale application of the technology to date in New York (it's also used on a smaller scale at the Crowne Plaza a few blocks away in  Times Square). And while the Port Authority will likely be using the signage for advertising, the medium has been used for art installations, like a 4,000- hour video loop of a woman basket weaving that graces California State University's Madden Library in Fresno. Tom Powley, president of GKD-USA, said that because the metal fabric is a tensile structure it can be hung over a large area without the need of extensive steel support. For the second phase of the project the remaining uncovered trusses will be lit by LED lights that face the surface of the truss. A lighting program will pull the dominant color from the billboard display and this will dictate the color of the light. Preferable viewing distance to see the photo imagery of the corner display ranges from 80 to 100 feet. The space between the light bands determines the translucence of the material from the street level. In some cases revealing the facade may desirable, but in the case of the Port Authority, the weave may end up a bit tighter.