International Architectural Firm Founded by Norman Foster will Partner with U.S.-Based Design and Engineering Firm Epstein to Provide Architectural Design and Support During Ongoing Federal Environmental Review
Midtown Bus Terminal Replacement Proposal Features New Main Terminal Building Plus New Facility for Intercity Buses and Staging, Abundant Electric Bus Charging Stations, Community-Friendly Outwardly Facing Retail, Ramp Building with Deck-Over to Provide 3.5 Acres of New Public Green Space
Team Will Provide Evaluation and Recommendations for Sustainability, Community Feedback, Design Unification and Best-in-Class Operations
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today announced the selection of an architectural joint-venture to assist in developing the agency’s vision for a reimagined, state-of-the-art Midtown Bus Terminal. The new terminal replacement project will have expanded capacity to accommodate commuter bus growth through 2050 and also accommodate intercity buses that now pick up and drop off on the streets surrounding today’s outdated terminal. The project will also provide new off-street capacity for buses waiting their turn to pick up and drop off, as well as capacity for storing buses between the morning and evening rush periods.
Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone as the Port Authority moves toward replacing the aging 72-year-old bus terminal with a new world-class facility. The new terminal will be designed to provide a best-in-class customer experience that serves the region’s 21st century public transportation needs, while enhancing the surrounding community and allowing for the removal of intercity buses from local streets.
International firm Foster + Partners and the U.S.-based multi-disciplinary design firm A. Epstein and Sons International Inc. will provide architectural design services for the replacement project beginning immediately and throughout the design phase and the environmental review of the proposed project. The Foster + Partners/Epstein team are both leaders in densely populated urban environments, as well as in designing major transportation facilities.
Most notable among Foster + Partners’ community-focused transit projects are their work on the New Slussen masterplan, one of the largest redevelopment and transportation projects in Sweden; the award-winning sustainable design for Bloomberg L.P. headquarters in London; the mixed-use transit and public green space project of Crossrail Place Canary Wharf also in London, and the Jeddah Metro masterplan in Saudi Arabia.
Noteworthy among Epstein’s substantial U.S. infrastructure and civic projects is the firm’s work on the renovation and expansion of the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, which gives the team a deep well of familiarity with the Midtown West Manhattan area.
As part of their design effort, the team will review, evaluate, recommend, and provide advisory services on urban design, streetscape, functionalism, community impact, design and spatial strategies, materials, systems, sustainability, and interior design. In addition, it will provide critical support during the ongoing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and ensure that the architectural design contemplated is consistent with the Port Authority’s ambitious goals for the proposed project. The firm will provide their services to the Port Authority as advisory and consulting services.
“As we make crucial upgrades to the roads, bridges, and tunnels within our most pivotal transportation corridors, we must ensure that we improve not just the functionality and efficiency of our infrastructure, but the experiences of our commuters,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “The Port Authority’s announcement of an architect advisory team to guide the replacement of the Midtown Bus Terminal comes in response to New Jerseyans and New Yorkers who are rightfully demanding better. Together with our regional partners we are answering that call to ensure that the millions of Americans who utilize our public transportation system finally receive the service they deserve.”
“New Yorkers and visitors, alike, deserve the best when it comes to transportation infrastructure, and today’s announcement brings us one step closer to a world-class Midtown Bus Terminal,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul. “As we continue to build back from the pandemic, it’s vital that we create state-of-the-art transportation hubs to get commuters to their destinations safely and efficiently. I thank my partners at the Port Authority and in New Jersey for working collaboratively to move this project one step closer to the finish line.”
“For more than a century, the Port Authority has led the region and the country with its ability to build bigger and better projects that benefit New Yorkers and New Jerseyans alike,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “In addition to substantive new redevelopment and transportation projects such as the rebuilding of our airports and the World Trade Center campus, the proposal to build a new Midtown Bus Terminal continues our agency’s essential role of delivering major transportation projects that can transform entire neighborhoods for the better and revitalize the regional economy. Today’s news demonstrates real momentum for a project whose time has come.”
“The Port Authority’s selection of this exceptional architectural team shows that we are laser-focused on building a truly visionary world-class facility worthy of the region, prioritizing both bus riders and the community surrounding the bus terminal,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “We look forward to working closely with the Foster + Partners/Epstein team to reimagine a new commuter and interstate bus terminal complex for the 21st century.”
“We are delighted to be appointed to the project, continuing to develop and maintain a unified vision for the Midtown Bus Terminal in Manhattan,” said Juan Vieira-Pardo, a partner of Foster + Partners. “Already the world’s busiest bus terminal, the project also has the potential to become the most desirable destination in Midtown. We believe that together with the Port Authority, Epstein, representatives of the surrounding community, stakeholders and passengers, we can help deliver an innovative, state-of-the-art, net zero transportation facility that is fit for the 21st century.”
“We are grateful for the opportunity to align our vision with that of the Port Authority to bring the future of transport and mobility to this vital hub for the entire region,” said Paul Sanderson, the director of Epstein’s New York office. “After over a decade working with local partners to reinvent the Javits Center nearby, we cannot wait to work with the commuters and the community surrounding the bus terminal on this historic project with such transformative potential. The greatest city in the world deserves the best facility in the world, and we aim for no less than that.”
The architectural advisory team will be tasked with ensuring that development of the new proposed facility prioritizes community feedback and industry-leading technology in its design to improve passenger experience, maximize operational efficiencies and foster sustainability. The joint venture was selected following a federally compliant competitive procurement process.
In early 2021, the Port Authority unveiled a new plan for the Midtown Bus Terminal replacement project that reflected public feedback from extensive community outreach, following the 2019 release of a planning level draft scoping document that analyzed alternatives and employed specific screening criteria. The proposal was updated to reflect the needs of bus riders and the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the bus terminal, based on extensive community feedback.
The 2021 plan, which will form the basis of the design of the proposal, includes demolition of the existing bus terminal and construction of a completely new state-of-the-art main terminal at its current location, with a capacity increase of nearly 40 percent for commuter and intercity buses. It also includes a separate storage and staging facility that would move commuter buses out of street-level storage lots and accommodates intercity buses that now pick up and drop off on city streets in the vicinity of the existing terminal, and an enclosed ramp structure linking the Lincoln Tunnel with the bus terminal that will be covered by a deck and transform into nearly 3.5 acres of new public green space. The proposal would take no private land as it will be built on existing Port Authority property.
The bus terminal will be built for the future with a world-class traffic management system, the ability to accommodate electric, autonomous, and larger, articulated buses, and sensor-based monitoring systems to quickly identify and resolve issues with buses. The building will also include visionary sustainability and resiliency measures, from LEED certification and clean construction to onsite renewable energy, zoned ventilation, and heat recovery reuse technology. Community-friendly outwardly facing local retail will also benefit commuters and the community alike.
In addition to the bus terminal complex, the proposal also calls for up to four high-rise towers: one on Eighth Avenue between 41st and 42nd streets; one on Ninth Avenue between 40th and 41st streets; one on 11th Avenue between 39th and 40th streets; and one on 10th Avenue between 39th and 40th streets.
Prior and during the project’s planning-level scoping process, the Port Authority met extensively with local community and elected officials, which led to invaluable feedback and a stronger proposal heading into the federal NEPA review. As the NEPA review proceeds, ongoing planning conversations and public outreach will increase stakeholder engagement. The process entails the issuance of a draft environment impact statement (EIS), a public hearing and comment period on that document, and an expected release of a final EIS in summer 2023. A decision on the proposal would follow in the form of a Record of Decision.
The Port Authority’s construction plan for the new bus terminal will be developed with input from the construction industry and the local community. Tentative plans call for a phased construction approach with the staging and bus storage facility to occur first, so that it can serve as a temporary terminal while the existing terminal is being demolished and rebuilt. The decking over of sections of Dyer Avenue would occur early in the phased construction also providing temporary bus staging locations while the main bus terminal is completely rebuilt. Once completed, the decked over areas of Dyer Avenue would become important public green space that reknits the local community.
For more information on the project, including status updates, visit pabtreplacement.com.
Reliable and efficient bus service between New York and New Jersey is critical to the interconnected economies of both states, as many New Jersey residents work in New York City. Before to the COVID-19 pandemic, the terminal served an estimated 260,000 passenger trips (approximately 8,000 bus movements) on weekdays, or 23 percent of all trans-Hudson trips entering or exiting Manhattan’s central business district. Based on pre-pandemic ridership trends, demand through 2040 is expected to increase by 30 percent with estimates of up to 337,000 weekday passenger trips. Currently, daily weekday bus ridership at the bus terminal has continued to improve up to approximately 60 percent of its pre-pandemic 2019 passenger departures based on carrier data.
“The selection of an internationally acclaimed architectural design team is a major step forward in the development of a new Port Authority Bus Terminal on the west side. While the final design is still in the future, this proposal will get intercity buses off our streets, creates new park space, modernize the terminal and greatly improve the street level experience for the neighborhood. I thank the Port Authority for listening to the Hell’s Kitchen Community and Community Board 4 in this process to ensure that the project benefits both the region and the local community,” said U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York.
“Today’s Port Authority announcement of the architectural advisory firm is an important next step towards fulfilling the community’s vision to replace the decrepit and outdated Port Authority Bus Terminal with a new state-of-the-art facility to accommodate growing commuter volume and get intercity buses off our neighborhood streets, reducing congestion and improving air quality. I look forward to working with the Port Authority, my colleagues in elected office, Community Board 4 and local stakeholders as this project proceeds,” said New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman.
“Today’s selection of an advisory architectural team is an important step in moving transportation in and out of Midtown forward. In the future, commuters and interstate bus riders will arrive in our city into a modern 21st century facility while local residents will experience less congestion and new public space along our streets,” said New York State Assembly Member Richard Gottfried.
“The Port Authority Bus Terminal has the distinction of being one of the most important – and ugliest – transportation hubs in the nation. This replacement project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a beautiful civic space that will serve our city for generations to come,” said New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher.
“Manhattan Community Board 4 has had an ongoing successful working relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey around the bus station redevelopment project. We are happy to learn of the Port Authority’s selection for the advising architect and look forward to continuing working with them on this important project,” said Burt Lazarin, Manhattan Community Board 4’s Bus Terminal Redevelopment Working Group.
“The Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance (HYHK) looks forward to continuing our productive and congenial relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as it designs and constructs a much-needed state-of-the-art facility while improving the public realm. Congratulations to Foster + Partners and A. Epstein and Sons International. HYHK welcomes their participation and guidance as we all move forward, paying close attention to the effects on local businesses and residents,” said The Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance.
“The Garment District Alliance commends the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for selecting the world-class architectural advisory team of Foster + Partners and A. Epstein and Sons International for this important project. The Midtown Bus Terminal is one of New York City’s busiest transportation hubs, connecting millions of travelers to the heart of Midtown Manhattan. As we welcome all New Yorkers and visitors to experience the Garment District, we look forward to a reimagined, state-of-the-art facility that will not only enhance the commuter experience but will also complement our mission of fostering a vibrant and welcoming neighborhood,” said Barbara A. Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance.
About the Midtown Bus Terminal:
The world’s busiest bus terminal opened in 1950, after the mayor of New York City requested the Port Authority to consolidate eight separate, smaller bus terminals throughout Midtown Manhattan in order to relieve street congestion. As the regional population grew and expanded geographically, the Port Authority expanded the terminal’s capacity in 1963 by converting previous parking space to a fourth level of bus operations and adding three new levels of public parking for 1,000 cars. By 1966, the terminal served nearly 69 million passengers, once again requiring increased bus capacity. In 1970, the Port Authority constructed a 2-mile exclusive bus lane (XBL) on the New Jersey route 495 approach to the Lincoln Tunnel, giving buses faster access directly to the bus terminal and saving commuters up to 20 minutes. In 1981, the Port Authority expanded the bus terminal’s capacity by 50 percent with a new North Wing extension to 42nd Street and the diagonal girder façade now familiar to bus riders. The current facility spans 1.9 million square feet as the nation’s largest bus terminal and the world’s busiest. Individual carriers, the largest of which is NJ Transit, serve routes for daily commuters throughout New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and the lower Hudson Valley, as well as provide intercity services to and from locations such as upstate New York, New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Canada.
About Foster + Partners:
Foster + Partners is a global studio for architecture, urbanism and design, rooted in sustainability, which was founded over 50 years ago in 1967 by Norman Foster. Since then, he and the team around him have established an international practice with a worldwide reputation for thoughtful and pioneering design, working as a single studio that is both ethnically and culturally diverse. The studio integrates the skills of architecture with engineering, both structural and environmental, urbanism, interior and industrial design, model and film making, aeronautics and many more – a collegiate working environment similar to a compact university.
Juan Vieira-Pardo was born in Colombia, studied architecture at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., the Architectural Association and the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London. He joined Foster + Partners in 1991 where he has worked across many countries and has played a leading role on the design and construction of multiple building types, including high-rise, mixed-use developments, cultural buildings, private residences, large scale masterplans and airport terminals.
Founded in 1921, Epstein (pronounced ep-STYN) is a global, architecture, engineering, and construction company that specializes in delivering sustainable building solutions for clients in the civic, commercial, and industrial sectors. Epstein has garnered a reputation as a firm that is continually associated with landmark projects both in the United States and throughout the world. These projects include the recently completed renovation and expansion to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Epstein is headquartered in Chicago with a domestic office in New York since 1969 and international locations in Warsaw, Poland, and Bucharest, Romania.
Paul Sanderson, AIA, has been with the firm since 2008 and during his nearly 15 years with Epstein has played an integral part in a number of high-profile New York-based projects. The most significant of these efforts was the recently completed renovation and expansion of New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, a program that helped Javits reclaim its standing as the preeminent exhibition and conference center in the world.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is a bi-state agency that builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. For over a century, the agency’s network of major airports; critical bridges, tunnels and bus terminals; a commuter rail line; and the busiest seaport on the East Coast has been among the most vital in the country – transporting hundreds of millions of people and moving essential goods into and out of the region. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center campus, which today welcomes tens of thousands of office workers and millions of annual visitors. The agency’s historic $37 billion 10-year capital plan includes unprecedented transformation of the region’s three major airports – LaGuardia, Newark Liberty and JFK – as well as an array of other new and upgraded assets, including the $2 billion renovation of the 90-year-old George Washington Bridge. The Port Authority’s annual budget of $8 billion includes no tax revenue from either the states of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, visit www.panynj.gov or check out the Now Arriving blog.