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Port Authority Bus Terminal

Wednesday’s Headlines: ‘Mass’ Transit Edition

Let's look at the big plan — and we mean "big" plan — for the new Port Authority Bus Terminal. Plus other news.

Rendering: Department of City Planning|

This is 10th Avenue looking north at a maze of proposed ramps. Talk about mass transit!

We briefly tuned into a Department of City Planning presentation to the City Planning Commission that kicked off the public review process on the new Port Authority Bus Terminal — an important project that will improve bus service and get the large coaches off the streets of Hells Kitchen and into the terminal where they belong.

But when we took a gander at the new renderings, even our YIMBY hearts palpitated for a few seconds. Yes, area residents will get some great new green space as a park is built over Dyer Avenue ...

Here's sunken Dyer Avenue before (top) and after.Rendering and photo: Department of City Planning

But in order to accommodate hundreds of buses, a new, multi-story staging structure will be built between Ninth and 10th avenues and a new set of ramps will be built west of 10th Avenue to replace the existing ramps between Ninth and 10th avenues.

Here are some shots of what that will possibly look like:

The dotted lines represent the existing ramps.Rendering: Department of City Planning
Again, we're not sure Hells Kitchen is going to love this.Rendering: Department of City Planning

On the plus side, the decrepit eyesore of a bus terminal will look like other buildings in Midtown: fresh, airy and with ground floor retail.

Here's the proposed Main Terminal atrium.Rendering: Department of City Planning
And here's 40th Street looking east.Rendering: Department of City Planning

We checked with some locals on the ground and were told not to panic. The Port Authority, which is leading the project, is working out the details and has been a good partner (we're told). And the Department of City Planning renderings exist solely to show the massing, not the final designs at all.

There's no reason to freak out, we were told — especially because the proposal includes significant pedestrian benefits in the form of wider sidewalks, plantings and open space throughout the project. Plus, we'll get better bus service for those rare occasions when we need to get out of town. And the zoning change includes this promise: "the station will not have undue adverse impacts on the character of or land uses in the surrounding area."

But if you want more details, first click on the full presentation here (oddly, no other media covered the meeting). Then head to Community Board 4's land-use committee meeting on June 12 (it's not on the calendar yet, but that's the next scheduled hearing). Check the Streetsblog calendar in a few days for details.

In other news:

  • Once again, the Daily News was asleep at the switch in its coverage of a moped passenger who was killed by a driver in Upper Manhattan on Tuesday. The paper printed a picture of the car in question, but didn't bother to note that it was bearing a fake temp tag — a classic ghost car that Streetsblog has spent so much effort exposing. (The Post and amNY also messed up the coverage.)
  • The News did a better job of its coverage of Sunday's crash involving a Mercedes driver fleeing cops. It dug deep on the driver's record and revealed a long history of recklessness (the Post's coverage didn't mention that). Streetsblog also covered it, but took a different angle, focusing on the increase in police chase.
  • New Jersey activists are fighting the state's misguided turnpike expansion, and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla was right there with them. (NJ.com)
  • Speaking of highway expansions and the pollution they bring, the car-loving New York Times decided (at this late date and for reasons that are unclear) to cast doubt on the pollution reduction that will be achieved through congestion pricing. The paper has previously reported that congestion pricing will, indeed, reduce pollution, so what gives? Komanoff had the perfect takedown:
  • Better late than never: City and State finally published its deep dive on transit, timed to the beginning of congestion pricing next month. Streetsblog contributor Aaron Short was all over it.
  • Lithium-ion batteries need to get better, but will they? (NYDN)
  • The Mets' horrible season — they were swept in a twin-bill yesterday! — just got worse as Queens state Sen. Jessica Ramos said no to owner Steve Cohen's casino bid. (NY Post, NY Times)
  • A motorcyclist hit and injured a cop in Central Park, the Post and amNY reported, but don't let some self-styled activists fool you: this was not an e-bike, but an illegal off-road motorcycle.
  • The Department of Transportation wants your input on its plan for a full capital buildout of its Paseo Park project on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights. Provide it here.
  • Here's another example of why the city's stalled plan to create more space for pedestrians and cyclists on the Queensboro Bridge just can't wait:
  • It turns out there's a reason why car washes are taking over small cities. (Bloomberg)
  • And, finally, full disclosure, I am friends with the artist Ben Rubin, so it is with great regret that I learned yesterday that the New York Times — an outlet with which I have frequently tangled over its pro-car agenda — will remove an art piece called "Movable Type" from the paper's lobby on Eighth Avenue. Rubin's piece (which he created with Mark Hansen) will remain on display until mid-August, the Times reported. But here's the outrage: "Movable Type," which repurposes content from the Times itself and then "visually reconstitutes" it on "hundreds of small, low-tech screens accompanied by clicks, whirs, and tones," is basically site-specific. It doesn't really work outside of the Times lobby, which Rubin himself was allowed to note in the Times's press release: “A lot of its meaning comes from its context inside the New York Times Building, so relocating it will be a challenge,” he said. So, paging any newspaper publisher with 150 years of archives — there might be a great piece of art ready to be rescued. And for the rest of us, check out Rubin's equally impressive "Shakespeare Machine" in the lobby of the Public Theater ... for now.
"Movable Type" by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin has been in the Times lobby for 17 years.Photo: NY Times

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