By Linda O’Flanagan
Businesses and residents on and around the controversial new 14th Street busway will get a chance to have their say at a series of public meetings this month.
Local Community Boards will be hosting meetings to provide information about preliminary data on what’s officially known as 14th Street Transit/Truck Priority pilot.
NYC DOT and their consultant team from Sam Schwartz Engineering will provide an update about the pilot. A presentation will describe the independent monitoring for the project and the DOT will share results from the preliminary report.
Despite a report from the city in December hailing the busway as a big hit, many residents and business owners have bemoaned the transit program that limits traffic to buses, trucks, emergency vehicles and drop-offs.
The city has said the ban on vehicular traffic has led to a surge in bus ridership and faster crosstown commutes.
But some store owners have claimed the traffic calming is bad for business. “It has just killed us,” jeweler Jason Farahan told CBSN New York.
“I used to get customers come in and out parked in front of the store and they can’t do that anymore. They have to park a few blocks away,” Farahan told the news station.
“I had a customer the other day, he told me that it took him 40 minutes to look for a parking spot.”
Judy Pesin, a member of the 14th Street Coalition steering committee, told T&V last week that the city data doesn’t reflect what she’s heard from neighbors about traffic.
“The summaries were very general and not an accurate picture of what we are seeing,” Pesin said.
“Anyone who has been around East 13th between Broadway and Fifth Avenue knows that the significant impacts continue to cause ongoing congestion during the day and at night.
“One neighbor driving east on 13th Street said it took 20 minutes to get from Broadway to Sixth Avenue on a Sunday evening.”
Following the city’s report on faster bus rides and increased cyclists, local elected officials have called for the busway to be made permanent.
“From boosting ridership to increasing speeds, if these preliminary results continue, we should implement a permanent busway along 14th Street.”
Local residents and businesses are being invited to attend the community board busway hearings.
Community Board 6 will be holding their transportation committee meeting on Monday, January 6 at 7 p.m. in the NYU Dental School at 433 First Avenue, room 420.
Community Board 5’s transportation committee will be meeting on Thursday, January 9 at 6 p.m. in the offices for the Bryant Park Corporation at 111 West 40th Street, suite 2400.