The Port Authority today announced the selection of an international panel of eight jurors, renowned for their expertise in urban planning, transportation operations, architecture, construction management, engineering and other fields, for the “Port Authority Bus Terminal International Design + Deliverability Competition.”
The jurors will select a group of finalists from prospective competitors who have registered for the competition, and will advise the Port Authority Board of Commissioners in its recommendation of a competition winner.
The jurors are:
- Suzanne DiGeronimo, President of DiGeronimo Architects, which has offices in New Jersey and New York. DiGeronimo has experience with government, historic, resiliency and transportation projects in both New Jersey and New York
- Martin Wachs, who will serve as jury chairman. Wachs is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering and of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. He previously served for 25 years at the University of California-Los Angeles, including 11 years as chairman of the Department of Urban Planning.
- Gail Benjamin, retired former New York City Council Land Use Director. Benjamin served on the New York City Council for 24 years, and has extensive experience navigating complex New York City land-use matters.
- Tilly Chang, Executive Director of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. Chang’s professional experience includes planning, development and delivery of multi-modal transportation projects, as well as transportation policy and urban planning. She also has worked at the World Bank and the San Francisco Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
- Robert Paaswell, Distinguished Professor at the Grove School of Engineering, The City College of New York. Paaswell previously served as executive director of the Chicago Transit Authority.
- Robert Puentes, President and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation. Puentes previously served at the Brookings Institution. He led projects relating to sustainable transportation, infrastructure finance, access to opportunity- and urban planning.
- Phillip Washington, CEO of Los Angeles Metro. Washington oversees a fleet of 2,000 buses and six rail lines. He is a former CEO of Denver, Colorado’s Regional Transportation District and a former Chair of American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
- Dana Skelley, Director of Asset Management, Transport for London, Surface Transport. Skelley is one of Britain’s most senior and respected women in engineering. She leads 500 engineers and asset managers and is responsible for more than £15 billion of infrastructure, including maintenance of London’s arterial roads, 6,200 traffic lights, 1,800 bridges, 12 tunnels and more than 1,000 miles of walkways. She has been awarded the Order of the British Empire
“The selection of this prestigious group of jurors is another step in honoring the commitment of the board to include in its capital plan the funds necessary to erect a replacement bus terminal on the west side of Manhattan,” said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan. “I look forward to reviewing the conceptual design of a facility endorsed by this jury and sharing it with the city, the community and most importantly the commuters currently consigned to an outmoded and overcrowded structure, which had languished for far too long without Port Authority steps to replace it. Thankfully, that process is now underway.”
Vice Chairman Steven M. Cohen said, “The members of this international jury collectively have the expertise in transportation operations, urban planning, architecture and other fields that will help inform what will be one of the largest and most important transit infrastructure projects across the United States.”
Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said, “The jury will help inform the design of a bus terminal that will be scalable to meet future needs, and that the Port Authority can have confidence will be delivered on time and on budget using our limited capital resources, that maximizes the value of PA-owned air rights and real estate, and reduces the $100 million-plus annual operating loss at the existing facility while addressing concerns of the local community and City of New York.”
The Port Authority will continue to engage with the public, and solicit input from commuters and neighbors of the bus terminal during the entire bus terminal process. Commuters and neighbors of the terminal are invited to submit comments to the Port Authority via online surveys which will remain available throughout the competition.
In addition, the agency recognizes that coordination and collaboration with the City of New York on issues such as approval for land use and zoning, community impacts, and urban design will be critical to bringing any major redevelopment project in midtown Manhattan to fruition.
At the Port Authority Board of Commissioners’ September meeting, jury chairman Martin Wachs is expected to present the jury’s recommendation to the board and the public. The board will make the final decision.
The Port Authority launched the design and deliverability competition on March 11, seeking multi-disciplinary teams with expertise and accomplishment in the design and planning of large-scale, intermodal mass transportation projects within high-density urban environments.
The winning design concept is expected to deliver on a complex set of agency objectives that address adequate capacity to meet future bus passenger demand, improved functionality for bus parking and staging, minimizing traffic impact on surrounding local streets, maximizing use of Port Authority property and sustaining safety and security.
The design concept must be cost-effective, taking into account both capital and future operating costs given limited financial resources and the history of significant operating losses at the existing bus terminal. The agency anticipates awarding a $1 million honorarium to the winning finalist, and additional honoraria of $200,000 each to runners-up whose design concepts have exceptional merit.
About the Port Authority Bus Terminal
Built in 1950 and expanded in 1979, the Port Authority Bus Terminal accommodates approximately 220,000 passenger trips and more than 7,000 bus movements on an average weekday. In 2014, it accommodated 66 million passenger trips and 2.3 million bus movements. Demand is expected to increase to as many as 270,000 daily peak-hour passengers by 2020, and as many as 337,000 daily peak-hour passengers by 2040.
To improve conditions for customers at the existing bus terminal while planning continues for the design and construction of a new terminal, the Board in 2014 approved a $90-million Quality of Commute program. This initiative includes operational improvements to help reduce crowding and improve bus flow, and has resulted in significantly fewer customer complaints about bus delays. It also includes the addition of increased cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity within the terminal and the installation of new restrooms, among other changes.