14th Street busway

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In 2019 a controversial plan would restrict a busy section of NYC's 14th Street to buses and trucks, bicycles and pedestrians.

New York City's 14th Street busway was a proposed busway that would have temporarily suspended most vehicular traffic on Manhattan's 14th Street, in favor of buses and pedestrians.[1][2][3] Congestion was already bad on 14th Street, before damage from Hurricane Sandy required the 14th Street Tunnel shutdown under the East River. The repairs require temporarily reducing New York City Subway service on the Template:NYCS trains under 14th Street.

According to Winnie Hu, a transit specialist at The New York Times, the plan was inspired by Toronto's successful King Street Pilot Project, where restriction on ordinary vehicles on a section of previously clogged King Street speeded up transit times for transit riders on the 504 King streetcar route. The Toronto experiment allowed ordinary vehicles to continue to briefly use King Street, provided they turned off at the next stoplight. The King Streetcar is the Toronto Transit Commission's busiest surface route, carrying over 70,000 trips per day.

When first proposed the busway would only have been implemented during rush hour and would have served M14 SBS buses.[4][5][6]

According to Curbed NY the plan's main opponent is Arthur Schwartz, a lawyer who lives on nearby 12th Street.[7][8] Schwartz filed several injunctions, blocking implementation of the plan.[9][10][7] According to Curbed Schwartz assembled a loose coalition of disparate special interests, beyond his wealthy neighbors. Schwartz argued that restricting ordinary vehicles from 14th Street would redirect them to neighboring streets, which would make it less safe for the mobility impaired to cross those streets.


  1. Winnie Hu (2019-06-28). "New York Had a Plan to Speed Up Buses. A Judge Just Blocked It.". The New York Times: p. A22. Archived from the original on 2019-07-03. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/28/nyregion/14th-street-busway-blocked.html. Retrieved 2019-08-20. "New York City was prepared to impose a major transportation plan on Monday to tackle gridlock — it was going to severely restrict cars along 14th Street, one of Manhattan’s busiest crosstown routes." 
  2. Azi Paybarah (2019-07-01). "Fewer Cars on 14th Street? Not Just Yet". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2019-07-24. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/01/nyregion/newyorktoday/nyc-news-14th-street-busway.html. Retrieved 2019-08-20. "Only buses, trucks and emergency vehicles would be allowed to drive through the heart of 14th Street, between Third and Ninth Avenues. All other cars, including taxis and other for-hire vehicles, on that part of 14th Street would be allowed to drive only a block or two, then they would need to turn at the next available right, according to the city’s Transportation Department." 
  3. Winnie Hu (2019-08-08). "Major Traffic Experiment in N.Y.C.: Cars All but Banned on Major Street". The New York Times: p. A19. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2019-08-08. https://web.archive.org/web/20190808091035/https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/nyregion/14th-street-busway.html. Retrieved 2019-08-20. "New York’s effort to remove cars from 14th Street was inspired by a similar project in Toronto, where car traffic was blocking streetcars on one of the city’s vital thoroughfares, King Street." 
  4. "L train shutdown to close portion of 14th Street to cars during rush hour: MTA" (in en-US). WPIX-TV] (New York City). 2017-12-13. http://pix11.com/2017/12/13/l-train-shutdown-to-close-portion-of-14th-street-during-rush-hour-mta/. "The core of 14th Street (3rd to 9th Avenues eastbound and 3rd to 8th Avenues westbound) will serve as an exclusive “busway” with rush hour restriction, with bus lanes and Select Bus Service (SBS) added in the next year. An upgraded Select Bus Service treatment on 14th Street will bring temporary bus bulbs, offset bus lines, sidewalk expansion and tens of thousands of square feet in new pedestrian space." 
  5. Ameena Walker (2017-12-13). "Long-awaited L train shutdown plan finally released". https://ny.curbed.com/2017/12/13/16774084/l-train-shutdown-mitigation-plan-alternatives-mta-dot-nyc. "Back in September, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg stated that the widely supported proposal to turn 14th Street into a car-free zone would not be a part of the plan. Something must have changed between then and now: Per amNY, the DOT and MTA will create a new bus route on 14th Street between Third and Ninth avenues and will close the stretch of roadway to vehicular traffic, with the exception of local deliveries, allowing buses and bikes to pass through with ease." 
  6. Sarah Maslin Nir (2017-12-13). "Rerouting Thousands: City Plans for L Train Closure" (in en-US). The New York Times: p. A22. ISSN 0362-4331. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/nyregion/l-train-closing-plan.html. "The L runs across Manhattan underneath 14th Street. In its absence, commuters within Manhattan will travel on 14th Street itself, entailing “a pretty bold envisioning of 14th Street,” Ms. Trottenberg said in an interview. New bus-only lanes will transform the street from nearly end-to-end during rush hours. Sidewalks will be expanded to accommodate the extra crowds waiting at the stops." 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Caroline Spivack (2019-08-09). "Judge hits brakes on 14th Street busway—again". Curbed NY. Archived from the original on 2019-08-11. https://ny.curbed.com/2019/8/9/20799317/judge-hits-brakes-14th-street-busway-dot-lawsuit. Retrieved 2019-08-20. "The ruling comes just three days after a judge lifted a temporary restraining order on the program and as DOT crews prepared to launch the 18-month pilot program between Third and Ninth avenues on Monday. The stalled pilot aims to block private car through traffic from the busy road to speed up bus commutes during work on the L train’s Canarsie Tunnel. Pick-ups, drop-offs, and garage access would still be permitted under the plan." 
  8. Benjamin Kabak (2019-08-20). "The 14th Street busway fight could determine NYC’s transit future". Curbed NY. Archived from the original on 2019-08-20. https://ny.curbed.com/2019/8/20/20812896/new-york-14th-street-busway-opinion. Retrieved 2019-08-20. "Nearly 27,000 New Yorkers ride the buses on 14th Street every day, but the M14 is among the slowest in the city, averaging 4.3 miles per hour as the buses inch across town. Transit advocates estimate that in recent weeks alone, commuters have lost 8,000 hours to traffic that would be mitigated by the busway." 
  9. "Court: 14th St. car ban can start". 2019-08-07. https://www.thevillager.com/2019/08/court-14th-st-car-ban-can-start/. 
  10. Vivian Lee (2019-08-10). "Ban on Most Cars on 14th Street Delayed Amid Last-Minute Appeal". https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/transit/2019/08/09/14th-street-manhattan-busway-ban-on-most-cars-delayed-amid-appeal.