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Port Authority Needs Broader Transit View in Bus Terminal Plan, City Says

By Maya Rajamani | February 10, 2017 10:49am
 Taxis drive up Eighth Avenue past to Port Authority Bus Terminal in June 2009.
Taxis drive up Eighth Avenue past to Port Authority Bus Terminal in June 2009.
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Flickr/Rob Young

HELL’S KITCHEN — The mayor's office has asked the Port Authority to consider a “full range of rail alternatives” when it moves forward with plans for a new bus terminal in Manhattan, given the “serious concerns” it’s had about the agency’s planning process so far.

In a letter sent to the the Port Authority's commissioners on Feb. 3, the First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris acknowledged the need for a new bus terminal, but called on the agency to look at the project as just one part of a longer-range transportation strategy.

“Such a strategy should study a range of transportation investments that can be developed over time, including expanding trans-Hudson rail capacity, as well as increased ferry, bike and pedestrian connections, and connections to the NYC subway system,” Shorris wrote.

He also called for an environmental review process that looks at "a full range of transportation alternatives" before addressing the impacts of individual projects.

The letter was submitted in response to a draft of the Port Authority’s capital plan, which would tentatively allocate $3.5 billion to replacing the existing bus terminal on Eighth Avenue.

Politico, which first reported on the letter, speculated it would “not be taken lightly by the Port Authority or others who are pushing for a new terminal,” as the city will review any proposals the agency puts forth.

Community Board 4 — which has vocally opposed any bus terminal plans that involve using eminent domain to seize land in Hell’s Kitchen — was “encouraged” by the letter, chairwoman Delores Rubin said Thursday.

Shorris also asked the Port Authority to "study a full range of rail alternatives that might bring additional rail service to growing parts of New Jersey, and permit future bus terminal needs to be addressed without adversely affecting the surrounding area."

“It voices exactly where we are as a community, and we’re very happy to see that the city is in sync with this point of view,” Rubin said of the letter. “There are a lot of considerations that we think need to be in this decision.”