FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The Port Authority must halt its “premature” plans to build a new bus terminal west of Ninth Avenue, a group of local politicians demanded.
In October, the agency launched an international design competition to find a plan for a new bus station to replace the 65-year-old terminal on Eighth Avenue.
Elected officials including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried on Thursday called on the agency put an end to the competition.
“The Port Authority has put the bus before the horse,” Brewer said outside the agency’s Financial District offices. “They’ve mounted the design competition for a new bus terminal footprint in a process that has been publicly opaque, that virtually no one in this community has been allowed input on.”
Added Gottfried, “Port Authority literally does not know what they’re doing."
For months, Hell’s Kitchen residents and Community Board 4 members have spoken out against the Port Authority’s plans, which could involve using eminent domain to demolish hundreds of apartments, dozens of small businesses, a food pantry and a historic church in the neighborhood.
Eminent domain “must be off the table," Nadler said on Thursday.
Several elected officials maintained the agency had puts its desire for financial gain over the neighborhood’s concerns.
“The Port Authority has been all too willing to to sell the current terminal to private developers and arbitrarily build a new terminal…just because they can,” Brewer said. “We’re asking today that the Port Authority stop — stop your premature competition.”
The mayor's office also spoke out against the agency's plans Thursday, releasing a statement that called on the Port Authority to reconsider its competition and launch a "transparent" process taking the concerns of residents, elected officials and commuters into account.
"New York City and its residents must have a full voice in key issues such as site selection, terminal size, operational improvements and how to avoid the need for condemnation of private property in the area," read a statement from Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris.
“The residents of Hell’s Kitchen should not be thrown under this bus terminal because of a deal that puts New Jersey residents ahead of them,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman added at the press conference.
The Port Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
Fielding questions toward the end of the conference, Nadler rejected a reporter’s assertion that he and other elected officials in attendance were stepping in “a little bit late in the process.”
For her part, Brewer warned the agency in April that its project could be “stymied for years” if it moved forward as planned.
“We’re not late at all,” Nadler maintained. “We were watching and hoping they would do a proper process.
“We weren’t eager to get into a fight with the Port Authority," he added.