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Mayor de Blasio Announces Project to Get New Yorkers Moving on 14th Street

April 24, 2019

DOT will pilot a new Transit/Truck Priority treatment along 14th Street and also retain upgrades already made to bike-lane network in Brooklyn and Manhattan

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the city will try an experimental new transit improvement on 14th Street, and also make permanent the bike lane improvements made on Grand Street in Brooklyn and 12th /13th Streets in Manhattan. On 14th Street, the City will pilot Transit/Truck Priority lanes, disallowing through traffic from 3rd Avenue to 9th Avenue, to coincide with the launch of the M14 SBS service in June. This pilot is expected to last 18 months.

"We have an opportunity to try something new and really get bus riders moving on one of our busiest streets," said Mayor de Blasio. "As we continue to address congestion across New York City, this is an experiment that, if successful, could provide us another tool to move buses faster and save people valuable time for the things that matter."

The changes announced today are:

14th Street Transit/Truck Priority (TTP) – The MTA and DOT announced earlier this year that M14 SBS would be coming to the 14th Street corridor in 2019; the corridor carries one of the most intensely used bus routes in the city, with the M14A/D carrying 27,000 daily riders and providing a critical connection from the Lower East Side to Union Square and the Meatpacking District.

To make sure these buses move quickly and reliably, DOT studied international best practice for busy transit corridors, including along King Street in downtown Toronto, where in 2017, new regulations that prioritized transit and pedestrian uses were piloted along a major streetcar route. The Toronto changes, popular with transit riders, dramatically reduced travel times and increased safety along the corridor – and have been since made permanent.

Working with MTA, DOT will pilot a similar arrangement on 14th Street. Starting later this spring, the new TTP changes will include:

  • Only buses, trucks and emergency vehicles will be able to use 14th Street between 3rd and 9th Avenues as a through route.
  • Local traffic will still be permitted to make pickups and drop-offs along the corridor and access garages, but cars will always need to turn right at the next possible location. Left turns will not be allowed.
  • New curbside regulations will prioritize short-term loading and passenger pickup activity.
  • Intersections along 14th Street will be designed with new turn lanes where appropriate to ensure that bus lanes will remain clear. Intersections will also receive Vision Zero treatments, including painted curb extensions that enhance pedestrian safety.

The new design builds on proposals made during the original L train planning process, but also incorporates key feedback from local residents to ensure that curb access remained available, and that through truck traffic not be diverted to local streets.

Construction will begin this spring for completion in time for the launch of the M14 SBS in June. During that time, DOT will conduct significant outreach to stakeholders, including the five different community boards served by 14th Street. This will be accompanied by educational campaigns for the people who use 14th Street.

The MTA has announced that in the period this spring prior to the implementation of Select Bus Service, L riders will benefit from increased M14 service on nights and weekends.

DOT expects to enforce the new TTP lanes through automated cameras along 14th Street. The agency will publicly announce the commencement of camera enforcement, which will not begin until at least 60 days after the new SBS route is established.

Grand Street Protected Bike Lane – The City will pursue making the bike lanes along the Grand Street corridor in Brooklyn permanent. Between Waterbury Street and Vandervoort Avenue, DOT will modify the protected bike lanes to help accommodate the needs of industrial businesses along this section of the corridor.

The project will also include other adjustments made in response to community and business feedback -- including additional metered parking and new loading zones around the corners from Grand Street.

12th Street/13th Street Protected Bike Lanes – DOT will also pursue permanently retaining bike lanes it had installed in 2018 along 12th and 13th Streets in the Village. Since being painted last fall, cyclist usage of the nearly three miles of new protected lanes over the winter has outpaced bike counts from last summer. The new lanes have become a part of the agency's crosstown protected bicycle lane strategy -- along with recently installed lanes on 26th and 29th and a planned pair along 52nd and 55th Streets in Midtown. In response to community concerns, more delineators and loading zones will be added.

Changes to University Place and Union Square West -- DOT will also pursue the retention of pedestrian-friendly changes it has made to roadway spaces along both University Place (between West 13th and 14th Streets) and Union Square West (between West 14th and 15th Streets and between West 16th and 17th Streets). On University Place, a "shared-street" arrangement will be fully implemented, allowing eastbound vehicles on 14th Street to turn right and proceed slowly through that block. The blocks of Union Square West would remain closed to general traffic. Since their installation began in 2018, these spaces have been heavily used by pedestrians and cyclists.

"DOT is excited to implement the new Transit and Truck Priority pilot on 14th Street to provide bus riders on the future M14 SBS with faster, more reliable service," said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "We thank the Mayor for his leadership and commitment to improving bus service throughout the City. Combined with DOT's plans to make the L Train-related cycling and pedestrian infrastructure improvements in Manhattan and Brooklyn permanent, the City is proud to offer New Yorkers safer and greener transportation options."

"Since the damage to the L Train Canarsie Tube was caused by a climate change induced mega-storm, the best way forward has always been to embrace and enhance environmentally-friendly forms of transportation, like bus service and increased bike access," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I am pleased that there will be bus priority on 14 Street, as well as deliveries, and that the nearly 30,000 riders who use the M14 route will move quickly to and from their destinations. I am also in favor of local stops on the Lower East Side where the M14A/D is essentially the only transportation available to many residents who are older and low-income, but I congratulate DOT and MTA on the overall proposal."

"I support DOT's efforts to make all of our streets, including 14th street, safer and more liveable. With the impending L train slowdown, we need to continue advancing innovations and remedies that were developed during the preparation phase. I look forward to working with DOT and the MTA to implement as many of these as possible," said Council Member Stephen Levin.

"Today's announcement is a victory for those who spent hours advocating for better public transportation in my district and along 14th Street. The 14th Street corridor has long-needed better service and will certainly need more with the disruption to the L Train. From the beginning of my time in the Council, I have advocated for this solution. I look forward to riding a faster M14 in the near future," said Council Member Keith Powers.

"The L Train repairs and ever-increasing congestion are going to present an unprecedented challenge for quickly moving New Yorkers on our streets. The Transit-Truck Priority pilot program on 14th Street shows New York City is ready to face this crisis with innovative ideas that could reinvent how we use our streets. I want to thank DOT for listening to our community's concerns and addressing many of them in this plan while maintaining the core goal of dramatically improving bus speeds along 14th Street," said Council Member Carlina Rivera.

"We are very pleased to see the DOT and MTA are reverting to mitigation plans closer to what was developed over months with elected officials and community members. It's long past time New York City adopt street designs that do more to prioritize low carbon transportation, like bus transit and cycling, and 14 Street is the prefect corridor to try this out. We are calling on both agencies to release frequent and transparent updates on traffic, ridership and cost, so the public can react and respond to travel situations in real time," said Kate Slevin, Senior Vice President of State Programs and Advocacy at Regional Plan Association.

"When the partial Canarsie Tunnel closures begin this weekend, New Yorkers can rest easier knowing that the City is rising to the challenge by bringing an ambitious new design to 14th Street aimed at zipping bus riders along without having to contend with space-hogging cars. By making transit and freight the top priority, tens of thousands of commuters will be able to get to where they're going, and local businesses will be able to receive deliveries, more efficiently than ever before. Mayor de Blasio deserves applause for listening to the concerns of the transit-riding majority, introducing cutting edge improvements to one of the city's busiest bus corridors and for standing up for New Yorkers who have been clamoring for serious alternatives to the L Train," said Transportation Alternatives Senior Director of Advocacy Thomas DeVito.

"We applaud Mayor [Bill] de Blasio and the city Department of Transportation for doing the right thing. The L train 'slowdown' threatens to be a slow-motion crisis for hundreds of thousands of daily L train riders," said Nick Sifuentes, the Executive Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "Making 14th Street a bus-priority street closed to non-local traffic will mean buses can play a huge role in picking up the slack when the L train is down. The busway will help keep New Yorkers moving while still preserving residents' and delivery vehicle access. This is a big win for commuters who were waiting with bated breath to see how we would manage to get around during the L train slowdown."

"The 14th Street busway is a bold, historic step forward for New York. Putting riders first when the L train slows down shows real commitment to transit by City leaders. Starting in June, riders will have a quick, reliable, subway-like to get across Manhattan even while the L is under construction. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson for making it possible for people to get around efficiently and affordably during the L train slowdown," said Danny Pearlstein, Riders Alliance Policy and Communications Director.

"The decision by the mayor and NYCDOT on 14th Street is a great step forward that should set a new standard for transit priority on NYC streets. Diverting most car traffic off 14th Street should produce significant speed and reliability gains for bus riders. We urge the city to put these transit priority rules in place throughout the day and late at night when L service will be most disrupted." said Transit Center Communications Director Ben Fried.

"We appreciate that DOT and the Administration considered the impact on the trucking industry and small business before rolling out this plan.  Designating 14th street between 3rd and 9th avenues for only trucks, buses and emergency vehicles will elevate traffic and create more efficient deliveries.  Keeping trucks on this route, rather than side streets will serve as an advantage to all New Yorkers. We also applaud adding more desperately needed loading zones to the grand street area and look forward to working with DOT to help identify those locations." - Kendra Hems, President, Trucking Association of New York

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