Nearly a year ago, discussing the bus terminal replacement project, the Port Authority declared, “We are so out of our league. We don’t know what we’re doing.” Since then, the authority has launched an International Design & Deliverability Competition to bring in some ideas and guide the replacement process.
A year later, how much closer are we to seeing a new terminal?
At the Port Authority Board of Commissioners meeting this week, Martin Wachs, the chair of the jury tasked with selecting a winner, presented the still-uncertain results of the competition. Of the 15 submissions, five were selected as finalists. The concepts were judged using 14 criteria, three of which holistically summed the criteria’s essence: (1) bus operations (2) capital and operating costs and cost escalation risk, and (3) impact on surrounding community.
It appears as though the jury found all five finalists had something of value to add to the planning process, but all seemed to fall short on hitting the nail on the head.
We’re really not measurably closer to seeing the terminal’s replacement, but it appears that the commissioners gained some insight, and have come away with a list of questions and considerations, such as:
- How to augment bus parking and staging?
- Should intercity and commuters riders should be separated?
- Should part of the terminal be underground?
- Can the existing terminal be rebuilt?
- Can the terminal be located outside of the preferred area?
- Should the terminal include a green roof?
- How can technology be incorporated?
So while there was no clear “winner” in the competition, there are certainly some clear losers: the PABT’s 230,000 daily commuters who are still without hope that a new terminal will be built soon.