Throughout a longstanding relationship, the Port Authority has relied on RKTB’s technical and design expertise for a variety of transportation-related projects. Because of this, the firm was brought in as the key design consultant to the Port Authority for the AirTrain Terminal at Jamaica Station in 1997.
This large complex is the key transfer point for the light rail system that links the Long Island Railroad and NYC subway system with John F. Kennedy Airport. RKTB was involved in all aspects of the project from its inception, but was given primary responsibility in several significant areas. These include the vertical transportation systems, the Westerly Bridge, all platform facilities, all street-level and subway-level facilities, temporary structures, and facilitation of historic compliance and approval.
The establishment of this historic station as a regional mass transit hub with its complex requirements of people-movement has led to major physical modifications and additions. Beyond the functional need of transferring people, the new terminal at Jamaica Station was designed to visually and symbolically present the image of an airport ‘gateway,’ giving AirTrain patrons the feel of arriving within the airport environment.
Once baggage is checked in at the concourse, a short eight-minute train ride to the airport takes passengers directly to their terminals. A new vertical circulation building adjacent to the south of the terminal houses the AirTrain concourse and platforms as well as LIRR support facilities. New pedestrian bridges spanning over the railroad tracks connect subway, railroad and passengers, incorporating the latest in accessible transportation technology. Large, vaulted steel sheds providing a dramatic new image for the station surmount these bridges. Climate-controlled street and subway-level connections have also been created. The firm’s extensive experience with glass and steel detailing, elevators, escalators and related mechanical systems has allowed it to meet the complex functional demands of the project and manage the interdisciplinary activities of a small army of specialized consultants required for such an effort. The Project Team received a 2002 American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.