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Port Authority Bus Terminal Could Add 2 Floors Under Build-in-Place Option

By Maya Rajamani | September 29, 2017 2:17pm | Updated on October 2, 2017 9:52am
 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 Port Authority could build a new bus terminal at the site of its existing one by constructing two new floors on top and replacing the floors beneath it, its chief of major capital projects said.

At the agency’s meeting Thursday, chief of major capital projects Steve Plate told the board his team’s analyses found a “build-in-place option” to replace the aging, 1950-built terminal on Eighth Avenue would be “potentially viable from a construction and operational perspective.”

If the Port Authority chooses that option, construction would take a “top-down” approach, adding a new fifth and sixth floor to the transit hub before replacing its existing floors with a “state-of-the-art” facility, Plate explained.

The bus terminal would still operate during construction, but the agency would have to establish an “intermediate bus staging and storage facility” to provide the same level of service, he said.

A similar approach was used at the World Trade Center, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Hospital for Special Surgery on the Upper East Side and at the bus terminal itself, when the Port Authority built top-down to add parking, he noted.

The Port Authority put out a request for proposals Monday seeking a group to provide “environmental analysis and architectural-engineering services." 

“In summary, the build-in-place option is feasible, and warrants further consideration during the environmental process along with other viable options,” Plate told the board. “The environmental process will include substantial public communication involvement and opportunities for significant review and comment.”

A competition through which the Port Authority had previously planned to select a design for a new bus terminal was widely criticized for its lack of transparency and public input.

At a press conference after Thursday’s meeting, board chairman Kevin O’Toole noted the build-in-place method is one of several choices the agency is weighing, adding that he couldn’t provide a timeline for the entire process.

“I can’t give you a timetable, because frankly, I don’t think we’ve taken a choice of an avenue yet,” he said.