Thursday, 21 July 2016

City, State Officials Slam Port Authority’s ‘Premature’ Plans For New Bus Terminal

Elected officials want the Port Authority to halt a competition to design a new bus terminal in Manhattan

Back in March, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey launched a design competition seeking creative proposals for a bus station to replace the ninth circle of hell that is the current Port Authority Bus Terminal. Though it’s been underway for a few months, and a finalist is expected to be announced in September, a group of elected officials—including Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer and congressman Jerry Nadler—has called on the agency to stop the competition.

In a letter sent to PANYNJ chairman John Degnan and vice-chairman Steven Cohen, the officials call the competition "premature" because it remains to be seen how a new bus terminal would work with other infrastructure projects, including the forthcoming revamp of Penn Station. The letter also notes that community members, elected officials who represent the neighborhood, and other stakeholders haven’t been kept apprised of the selection process for the competition. "It is outrageous that the Port Authority - an entity already far removed from local accountability - would use the pretense of a panel of outside "experts" to select and justify any option under the Master Plan," reads the letter. It ends by calling for a "thorough and public examination is conducted of all of the outstanding issues and all of the available alternatives regarding a new bus terminal." (You can find a full copy of it here.)

Nadler elaborated in an interview with Politico New York, saying that he will oppose any proposals that would displace existing housing or retail in the area, and going so far as to call for moving the bus terminal altogether. "Maybe it should be where it is. Maybe it should be in New Jersey. Maybe parts should be in New Jersey. Maybe parts should be in New York ... None of this has been looked at."

For its part, Port Authority has unequivocally shot down the idea of moving the terminal to New Jersey, and Degnan told Politico that more work has been done than opponents are giving PANYNJ credit for. "We’re not Robert Moses," he said. "We’re going to have to accommodate their concerns and try to convince them of the merits of the project."


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