Of all the things New York must do to maintain its mojo — build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River, increase subway capacity — you would think that building a bus terminal would be easy. A bus terminal is just a building. But replacing the existing terminal on Manhattan’s West Side may be the hardest project the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey undertakes. So hard that extending the subway to New Jersey may end up being part of the solution.
The existing Port Authority terminal on Eighth Avenue, nearly 70 years old, is obsolete. But it’s critical to keeping Manhattan a high-income jobs hub: 130,000 people take the terminal into the city each day, 23 percent of New Jersey commuters.
Since 1990, commuting from New Jersey has nearly doubled, with 469,000 people — the equivalent of a good-sized city’s population — coming via transit every day. Companies would have less reason to pay Manhattan rents without this workforce.
But the plan to build a new terminal is half a decade old. And still in its earliest stages.
The biggest problem: the terminal’s location. The West Side has never been so crowded. The residential population grew 18 percent between 2000 and 2010, to 103,200 people living in less than two square miles.
Dozens of new mid- and high-rise apartment buildings have sprung up along Ninth and Tenth avenues, leaving no fallow — or little-used — land.
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