In April, our Elected Officials and Community Board 4 organized a Town Hall for a reluctant Port Authority management to explain to the public their plans for a new Bus terminal in our midst and to give an opportunity for community members to voice their concerns.
The Town Hall took place at the Metro Baptiste Church, in the heart of the area affected by the Port Authority plans which threaten to demolish three blocks on 9th Avenue. Over 250 people participated, with standing room only and overflowing on the sidewalk. More Photos
The whole community including families and businesses that have been here for generations and charitable organizations that service a much larger swath of our district could not have been clearer: DO NO HARM. And Council Member Corey Johnson put it plainly when he indicated he would oppose any structure that requires the demolition of existing buildings in the heart of our community. Borough President Gale Brewer warned the Port Authority that they will be tied up in lawsuits forever if they continue down that path. The community board followed up with a second strong letter to the Port Authority reflecting the community positions. Click here to view the first letter.
Many speakers accurately remarked that without increasing Lincoln tunnel capacity, there will be little relief for the commuters in terms of reliability of service. They also wondered why not bring commuters by train or subway (extend #7) from a terminal in New Jersey and spare our neighborhood from the ever increasing number of buses and associated pollution.
Fortunately the message seemed to have been heard: in a subsequent meeting with New Jersey legislators , the Port Authority management indicated that they heard the message loud and clear that the community is dead against any use of Eminent Domain in New York City. In addition, the Community Board letters were passed on to the contestants of the International Design Competition that the Port Authority has initiated.
But let’s not celebrate, this is not the last round and while it is the biggest, it is not the only threat the Port Authority plan poses to our neighborhood.