In advance of today’s Port Authority Board Meeting, advocates from community, business, transit, real estate and environmental groups gathered in front of Manhattan’s Port Authority Bus Terminal to call for more spending on bus infrastructure in the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s recently approved 2014-2023 Capital Plan.
Nearly 2.6 million buses, which carry over 90 million passengers, travel to the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the George Washington Bridge Bus Station every year, but the Port Authority hasn’t allocated any capital funds in its $27.6 billion capital program for badly-needed improvements at these two facilities.
One such improvement, a new West Side Bus Garage, was postponed from the previous capital program. The garage would provide indoor parking for hundreds of NJ Transit and other buses, “sparing dozens of communities on Manhattan’s West Side from the dominating presence of buses on their residential streets.” The lack of a bus garage and an expanded bus terminal puts a strain on local communities contending with idling, parked, and moving buses through their neighborhoods.
According to Christine Berthet, Chair of Manhattan Community Board 4 and also a founder of the Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety (CHEKPEDS), the Midtown West area has long suffered, not just from congestion caused by buses queuing and parking on local streets, but also from bus exhaust. “The asthma rate for our children is the third highest in Manhattan,” Berthet said in a press release.
While the 2014-2023 capital program was approved by the Port Authority board in February 2014, there is an opportunity to modify the agency’s budget and capital program each year as the agency reviews its revenue and costs prior to releasing its annual budget.