New renderings reveal a total overhaul of Port Authority Bus Terminal that would modernize and brighten the notoriously blighted Midtown transit hub. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey recently announced a $10 billion renovation planned to begin in 2024 and complete around 2031, and is expected to be built without the need to expand beyond the current boundaries of the terminal, which is located on two parcels of land between Eighth and Ninth Avenues and West 40th and 42nd Streets. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo praised the much-needed transformation of the site in the hopes of becoming a “world-class transportation hub worthy of New York.” No announcement has been made on the architect for the project.
Alongside the vision are bigger ramps and a 1 million-square-foot bus storage and staging building rising four stories high between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. This would act as a temporary bus terminal while demolition and construction of the new 2-million-square-foot, five-story transportation hub occurs.
Below is a preliminary rendering spotted on Port Authority’s website with a view looking north on Eighth Avenue on West 40th Street in the afternoon. Double-height floor-to-ceiling glass with a curved corner are conceptually depicted.
The upgraded complex is planned to yield 160 bus gates and increase capacity for buses and people by 40 percent, as well as devote parking spaces for buses and accommodate a new fleet of electric buses. Topping the superstructure would be a three-acre public green space. The last major component are four new towers spaced across around the facility that will be made possible with $3 billion in air rights sales coming from the Port Authority’s 2017-2026 capital plan, and possible assistance from federal infrastructure programs.
Below are several photographs from the past couple years that show the scale of Port Authority Bus Terminal from above and over the surrounding neighborhood.
The Port Authority Bus Terminal was originally constructed for $24 million in 1950 as one rectangular full-block building with a symmetrical Art-Deco inspired exterior made of warm-colored brick walls and an open-air parking space for cars on top. The terminal received its first expansion in the 1960s with a three-story parking garage, followed by the construction of the north wing in the late 1970s that increased the floor area by 50 percent to 1.5 million square feet and remains so to this day.
However, these additions shrouded the original façade in a dark, imposing exterior of metal, and didn’t address the escalating problems within, including poor lighting, confusing departure and arrival schedules, and overcrowding lines. These substandard conditions have also given rise to problems of crime and homeless encampments. All of these issues have cemented the bus terminal’s reputation as one of New York City’s most hated places to traverse. The interior look hasn’t changed that much with only superficial touch-ups added over the years and occasional seasonal decorations.
It will be quite the challenge for construction to proceed on the busy hub without interrupting its operations. For now it’s a waiting game until the first signs of activity are spotted.