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The Radical Remaking of a New York Street Launches This Week

The 14th Street Busway will make its debut on Thursday of this week. Cars will be prohibited from the street and buses will gain newfound freedom, in a model that duplicates other efforts in Europe and Canada.
September 30, 2019, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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New York City Bus
DW labs Incorporated

A recent court decision has once again cleared the way for an experiment in traffic engineering on 14th Street in Manhattan: buses will be given priority over cars, because cars will be mostly banned from using the street.

"A 1.1 mile stretch from 3rd Avenue to 9th Avenue, bordering Greenwich Village and Chelsea, will turn into a 'busway' restricting car and truck traffic, creating a corridor of express buses, wide bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly walkways," according to an article by Henry Goldman.

The big opening of the 14th Street Busway is made possible by another court ruling in the ongoing saga of litigation surrounding the project.

"The path to starting the pilot program was cleared Friday by a five-judge state appellate court panel that ruled 3-to-2 to end a temporary restraining order that has blocked it for months. They allowed the experiment while a lawsuit brought by a group of neighboring residents moves forward," explains Goldman. The litigation has continued, despite a court ruling in favor of the project over the summer.

The main beneficiaries of the new 14th Street Busway will be the M14 bus and its riders. Ridership had been plummeting on the line—down 27.4 percent since 2013.

While references to European cities as a model for this kind bus priority on city streets are common, it's worth pointing out also that Toronto cleared cars to make way for the streetcar on King Street, producing tremendous benefits to service and ridership on the line.

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Published on Sunday, September 29, 2019 in Bloomberg
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