City Touts 14th Street Busway As Win, Residents Say Otherwise

Rich Lamb
October 16, 2019 - 7:06 pm
M14 Bus

Mark Dye/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — While New York City officials are proclaiming the 14th Street busway was a great success, resident on nearby streets are strongly disagreeing.

New York City closed a mile-long stretch on 14th Street, between Third and Ninth avenues, on Oct. 3 in an effort to speed up travel times on the M14 bus.

While the bus is significantly faster now, residents say it’s impossible to navigate other side streets in lower Manhattan now that the traffic patterns have changed.

“I actually live on one of those side streets, seeing cars backed up from one end of the block to the other, barely moving,” said attorney Arthur Schwartz.

Schwartz represents 18 block associations from 20th to 12th streets, who want cars to be allowed back on 14th Street to reduce the congestion now plaguing their town.

They plan to return to court to fight the city on the traffic change once again.

“We are going to get to argue our underlying case, which lies in environmental laws, it's not just a nimby argument, you know, 'Don't send the cars down our block,’” Schwartz said. “They didn't do the proper study, they didn't do the proper consideration of alternatives.”

He says exhaust fumes have increased exponentially in surrounding streets.

Meanwhile, businesses on along the new busway say the lack of parking and vehicle traffic continues to hurt their work.  

Under the rule change, vehicles are permitted to drive on 14th Street only for local access, for pick-ups and drop-offs but must make next available right turn. No left turns are allowed.

Police will begin issuing fines to violators, ranging from $50 to $250, following a 60-day warning period.