Buses and trucks to get ‘priority’ on 14th St.

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | On Wednesday, the city announced that, starting in June, only buses, trucks and emergency vehicles will be able to use 14th St. between Third and Ninth Aves. as through traffic.

The new Transit/Truck Priority lanes are part of an experimental transit-improvement plan to help improve bus speed along one of the city’s most heavily used bus routes, the M14A/D. About 27,000 people take the M14A/D daily.

The new transit scheme is also intended to help mitigate travel impacts caused by the L-train “slowdown,” scheduled to begin on Fri., April 26.

Polly Trottenberg, D.O.T. commissioner, left, and Eric Beaton, D.O.T. deputy commissioner for transportation planning management, announcing the TPP plan for 14th St. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell)

Speaking at a press conference in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon, Polly Trottenberg, commissioner of the Department of Transportation, explained that the inspiration for the TTP pilot plan came from King St. in Toronto. In 2017, Toronto implemented a similar pilot program that has since become permanent. According to D.O.T., travel times decreased while safety increased on King St. due to the transit and pedestrian priority lanes that were created.

“They saw an adjustment period — but traffic didn’t just concentrate on the immediate adjacent streets,” Trottenberg said. “It sort of spread out into the grid and the traffic effects were really not a big problem.”

The pilot program will last for 18 months. Painting of the street to designate the bus lanes is set to begin later this spring. Use of the lanes will launch in June to coincide with the start of the M14 Select Bus Service.

Local traffic will still be able to make pickups and drop-offs along along 14th St. and access garages on the street, but cars will need to turn right to get off the crosstown boulevard as soon as possible. Left turns will not be allowed.

A cross-section showing the new Transit/Trucks Priority lanes pilot program for 14th St. (Courtesy D.O.T.)

Intersections along 14th St. will be designed with new turning lanes to ensure the bus lanes remain clear.

As for the priority lanes’ hours of operation, Trottenberg said it might be daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. — which was the plan under the original “busway” proposal for 14th St. when a full L-train shutdown was expected. However, at another point, she said the hours could be changed and are not set in stone. The idea is for the TPP plan to be in effect seven days a week.

In addition, D.O.T. will enforce the new TTP lanes with automated cameras along 14th St. The agency will publicly announce the beginning of enforcement measures, which will not kick in until at least 60 days after the new SBS route is up and running.

The new signals, known as “Transit Signal Priorities,” contain technology able to detect when a bus is nearby and adjust the length of a red or green light, so that buses spend less time waiting at lights.

7 Responses to Buses and trucks to get ‘priority’ on 14th St.

  1. The bike lanes on 12th + 13th streets are unnecessary and are too wasteful of space (check them out: unnecessary no stopping zones). The 9th + 10th st style lanes are quite usable and allow much needed space for parking. And I’m a 30 yr plus and current nyc bicyclist and motorist. Narrow and fix these 12th + 13th bike lanes to be fairer to all constituents.

  2. As far as I'm concerned, the only problem is that it's not set up to go as soon as the L train mess starts.

  3. #SOS Save our Seniors
    Seniors (and moms withstrollers) need taxis after shopping on 14th street!!!!
    YELLOW CABS SHOULD BE ALLOWED
    whole foods, trader joes, food emporium market ETC and clothing stores!
    Polly, c'mon, you KNOW this..or do you not #SHOP14thStreet ?
    plus yellow taxis are getting pooped on w/ congestion pricing and uberETCworld
    THIS IS WRONG
    HELP THE SENIORS!
    M14 bus is not what fits all!

  4. Are you proposing 13th and and 15th street now become the secondary route for traffic as well as 12th and 16th street to become the tertiary streets for the overflow of cars?

    The changed route of the Ave A Crosstown bus has been made into an express bus bypassing the Senior Citizens and disabled passenger on the Lower East, East Village and Greenwich Village who need local stops. Who came up with this idea?

    I think all the planning needs to restrict the amount of Uber cars and TLC drivers that are littering our streets, aggressively driving, dismissing pedestrians. Let's license, regulate and have vehicle insurance for all the motorized bikes and scooters and hold them accountable. Prohibiting and enforcing cars from constantly honking adding more noise pollution and stress to the city that is constantly combating quality of life issues.

    Will the 14th Street lanes add more efficiency for straphangers/residents to get to and from places with more frequently with this plan using the buses?

    As for constituents owning cars in NYC, we are the hub of major public transportation with the Long Island Railroad/ Amtrak at Penn Station on 34th Street, METRO NORTH at Grand Central Station, the MTA subways/buses/ferries, and Port Authority on 42nd Street. Also for a fee, there are Citibikes on every corner. There are lots of options to use public transport here and improve what we have. Perhaps the minority of car owners can advocate for some parking such as the one located at Pier 40. But why not get rid of your gas guzzlers and SUV's and eliminate the waste all together? Simplify and make your life easier instead of complaining.

    Making this a more pedestrian friendly environment would be a lot more pleasant without the excess of cars and Ubers/TLC drivers. Why not use more shuttle buses / vans to transport passengers to major areas? We already have shuttles sites on w 34 street ferry to major stops. Let's make more use of shuttles and vans.

  5. Disabled, elderly, parents, ill people need taxis and car services. Pick up, drop off, street hailing yellow cabs is needed all over NYC including all of 14 St. Congestion pricing is regressive and punitive to everyone but the wealthy, which is the point, to make the streets easier for the rich. Tax the rich. NYC is becoming a cage for the rest of us.

  6. Polly Trottenberg is a ‘pollyanna’.

    She is wrong for a job that requires practical balanced leadership.

  7. Evgrieve.com’s moderator censors the comments if they go against the Transportation Alternatives pro bike agenda. No free speech omn that blog.

    The Villager does a good job showing and allowing opposing points of view.

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