Locals to get their say on controversial 14th Street Busway

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.

16 thoughts on “Locals to get their say on controversial 14th Street Busway

  1. “Despite the busway measurably speeding up bus users’ commutes, many residents and business owners have bemoaned the inconvenience of driving a car in Manhattan right up to the curb of wherever they want to go”

    LOL yeah that’s a very relatable cause, I look forward to hearing from the grassroots campaign of car owners who had no way of using the bus.

    I should remind all open-minded readers that the busway is the one street, it’s not even the whole street (you can drive westbound pretty much to Irving Place if you’d like), and the inconveniences anyone will discuss are both minor and routine. Claims of Armageddon are unsubstantiated. Driving in Manhattan has always been dysfunctional and ill-advised. On the other hand, the busway seems to have substantially increased the usability of the 14th Street buses and has spiked ridership substantially, indicating it has had benefits to a much larger public audience than the few people who have found driving around 14th Street to have crossed a threshold of intolerability. And for all the businesses that have claimed they have had “a customer” with a parking issue (this really didn’t impact neighborhood parking availability, by the way; in the zones where it was implemented, curb parking was often restricted or claimed by bus stops; it, in fact, added commercial loading areas, which were a dire public need) – there are 10x as many customers coming by bus. It’s also entirely possible to park in a quiet area and take the bus. Although parking has always been hard around here!

    Also I was amused at the mystery “elected official” quote that lacks an attribution. Maybe a ghost said it!

  2. “(you can drive westbound pretty much to Irving Place if you’d like), ”

    Busway fan but that is not really correct. If you are on 14th, one must make a right at Third Ave before going any further west on 14th Street. That being said as one who drives, the 13th and 12th Street crosstown routes have always been a CF from late morning till the evening rush hours and on weekend nights as well way prior to the Busway.

    • I mean, you can just say your destination is on Irving and 14th for commercial purposes, and they’ll let you through. You have a one block grace period on any part of the busway.

      For anyone that doesn’t know how to say the right lie, then yes Third Ave is the westbound limit. Most of our neighborhood is well east of that. I think people on the East Side have almost all the driving access they need, given that the busway doesn’t go farther eastward.

      The community board is absolutely open to hearing how this might not be true, but, the data collected has been quite encouraging and the occasional inconveniences reported have not been anything that anyone’s life has depended on. Many of the complaints have been far-fetched, such as the businesses who said they would lose all their customers (Over 90% of the customers along 14th St have been sped up quite a bit, and transit ridership is up so much that any walkup business should be seeing more business.) We often find the true root of a lot of these complaints are people who feel put-off by transit services that would entirely serve their needs.

    • Brian Van Nieuwenhoven or Brian Van as he is known here is a shill, he is a member of community board 6 and is on the transportation committee! https://cbsix.org/committees/transportation/
      For a member of the committee to actually tell people to lie to get further across town is dispicable! He should be thrown off the community board! He shows no concern for small businesses in the community!
      Brian is also on the board of directors of the New York Cycle Club which is anti automobile, they fight to get rid of cars and have bicycle lanes and so this busway was right up his alley, do not be fooled people by his words, again I repeat he is a shill!
      https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianvan

      • Man, trolls are tiresome. I should update my LinkedIn but you’ll go to the end of the earth to find weird outdated info about me; I haven’t been on the NYCC board in 3 years, and I’m not even a member of the club currently.

        You do not have to “lie” to drive to Irving Place if you, indeed, are going to Irving Place. And if you are not, it makes little difference if you make the right turn at Third & head across at 17th, or if you decide in a fit of stubbornness to use the busway to get to Irving for the same purpose. I don’t recommend lying, I was just noting that it is pretty easy to routinely lie in this way (as opposed to trying to get across to Fifth Avenue on 14th, which is going to be enforced for sure).

        Small business operations were a great concern regarding the busway. I can’t speak for others, but I needed an answer regarding deliveries and customer flows before the busway would appear to be an acceptable solution. Deliveries are very, very well addressed by the policies allowing for commercial traffic on the busway; the only concerns expressed were for minor inconveniences costing seconds, not hours, for deliveries that are coming in from South Jersey/Long Island/Westchester so, basically, immaterial impacts. Regarding customer flows, you now have thousands more of them. Please tell your automobile-driving customers to find a garage or leave them at home. If they are retired & on a fixed income & can’t afford transit fees or parking garage charges then they are not serious customers of your diner, liquor store, pizzeria or (!!) jewelry store. The understanding has always been that some dozens of people who are accustomed to shopping on 14th Street would be affected by the changes, but they have other options for car-oriented shopping & 14th Street just got 5,000 more daily customers via bus upgrades, so customer-minded shop owners should have zero interest in going back to things the way they were. The role of community board members is to evaluate policy as it would impact the whole community, and the number one complaint I hear about how I do my job is that I approved a change that a very small group of people in the area DID NOT LIKE IN THE LEAST (even if the change helped out 100,000 people in a measurable way). Do not hesitate to continue airing this out, it’s a free country.

  3. Seems like it’s folks who want to drive who complain about the public busway. If you want to have a car, pay for it and live with the inconveniences. You’re not the majority of residents. It’s expensive to own a car in Manhattan. So? Funny that so many ‘long term’ residents of Stuytown can afford parking garages – guess they can with their long term rents.

    • You’re jealousy is showing.

      FYI, drivers currently fund many of the city’s programs. The city, and state, for that matter make a fortune off of drivers already. Lose drivers, lose income. As almost 200 people per day move out of the city, you can thank the nickel and dime tactics used against drivers as the reason your taxes will go even higher. The current city council is chasing people away in droves with their ridiculous policies. NY used to be #2 in the nation in terms of electoral college votes, which is a function of population density. After we lose 2 more electoral college votes in 2020 NY will be behind Florida in 5th or 6th place. No Senator in the history of the US has seen more people leave their state than Chuck Schumer. No governor has seen more people leave their state than Andrew Cuomo. Nice.

      • Nice ‘handle’ – NOT!! Jealous of what? People who are too lazy or too out of shape to take public transportation? I’m not referring to folks who are truly physically challenged, but gimme a break. Too many folks just let themselves go and can’t handle the challenges of living in an urban environment anymore. Or they’re just snobs. As for making money off of drivers – what pseudo-economic study did you read? Manhattan wasn’t built on a model of parking garages and traffic fines.

  4. ” Funny that so many ‘long term’ residents of Stuytown can afford parking garages – guess they can with their long term rents.:”

    So that’s not jealousy? Then my bad, I guess you just said that because, well, because ,…I don’t know. Do a cursory look at the city and state financials and you’ll see just how important car owners are to the financial health of both the city and the state.

    Maybe some people just use their cars on occasion, you know to get away from the “challenges of living in an urban environment”. The rest of your reply is just too pathetic to bother with.

    • If they use their cars only on occasion, then one street being turned into a busway, with a dozen other options nearby, is not going to be a problem for them. We will not protest to have 14th Street turned back into an automobile sewer just because of anyone’s occasional inconvenience. Okay?

      • “Automobile sewer”? Seriously?

        Says it all there, self-righteous crusader. With that degree of bias, you have no business serving on the transport committee of any community board.

        • Right, as if everyone who lives in a subway/bus-blanketed city who is foaming at the mouth about needing to curbside-drive to a particular liquor store or diner should be more appropriately placed on local transportation panels. That’s a great idea, Mac

        • No one uses their car to drive to their favorite diner or liquor store. That’s just absurd, as are all your arguments.

  5. Public transit in NYC (both buses and subways) is just as much a “sewer” as streets jammed with trucks and cars. Am not a car owner, do not possess a driver’s license, gave up bicycling as too dangerous, so must therefore rely almost totally on public transit. But service and everything else about same is dreadful; at times, even frightening. More money being allocated is not the whole answer, either. Head on back to the Tilden Clubhouse, Brian–YOU are part of the problem. Furthermore, SIDEWALKS on 14th Street (and elsewhere) have been sewers for many years, but Little Brian is much too young to remember otherwise….

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