OPINION: I’m all for a 14th St. bus-freight corridor

BY CHRIS SAUER | I live on 15th St., and I have to say that I’m frustrated and a bit embarrassed by the uproar that I’m seeing from some of my neighbors over the idea of a 14th St. devoted to moving buses and freight. I write because I want to make clear that not everyone in the neighborhood is unhappy with the mayor’s announcement. The mayor says he wants to try to get people moving. Is that really objectionable?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the fear that some of these folks are expressing. I don’t want to experience any more traffic than I already do. I’m also sure most New Yorkers feel the same, no matter where they live.

A 14th St. geared toward buses and trucks will reduce the number of for-hire vehicles in the area, the writer argues. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

Traffic sucks, but the problem is cars, not better infrastructure for buses. There’s nothing “drastic” about efficiently using our public space. The real threat to our neigborhoods from the L-train upheaval is an increased number of single-occupancy vehicles roaming the streets as more New Yorkers take taxis, Ubers and Lyfts to their destinations.

Reliable, frequent and quick-moving bus service will reduce the number of vehicles on our streets, making them safer, quieter, less polluted — more of a neighborhood and less of a highway. I want fewer cars on our streets not more.

To my eyes, the for-hire vehicle companies were out in force on the first weekend of the L-train slowdown, driving — apparently — thousands of more people into Manhattan by car. Those for-hire vehicles ended up on my block, and the blocks of my neighbors, in huge numbers. I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed a marked uptick in traffic.

New York City is increasingly stratifying along economic lines and that is reflected in the failure of our public transportation system. We’ve allowed our subways and buses to fail, and those with enough expendable income have been able to cushion the blow by resorting to for-hire vehicles. We need to reverse that dynamic, and that requires dramatic improvements to public transit.

In the fairest big city in America, you shouldn’t have to be rich to have a reliable way to get around. The 14th St. bus and freight corridor is a revolution in favor of working New Yorkers who take buses.

This is why we should support the plan for 14th St.: It will make our lives easier going forward, and it marks a serious attempt by the city to keep surface-level transit working, free from the constant competition of double-parkers “just grabbing a cup of coffee.”

Bus priority goes a long way toward solving the immediate crisis of the L-train slowdown, as well as the longer-term crisis of second-rate transit that repels riders and brings unnecessary traffic into our neighborhoods.

Most people know that being progressive in this situation means taking a stand for improving public transportation, for the duration of the slowdown and beyond.

7 Responses to OPINION: I’m all for a 14th St. bus-freight corridor

  1. A 14th st devoted strictly to buses will NOT reduce the number of cars (for-hire or private) in the area. It will just move them to the adjacent streets parallel to 14th st. The thing that WILL dramatically reduce the traffic in the area and Manhattan, is not congestion-pricing, but lowering of the number of existing licenses of for-hire vehicles. This controlling/limiting of licenses (similar to yellow cab medalians) should have been done originally when this whole for-hire (uber, lyft, etc) trend started. It’s the Mayor and city council’s fault for not thinking this through and letting it get out of control. Now they want to push this congestion-pricing tax scheme on us, to solve a problem that they helped create and will only partially fund the financially inept/(corrupt?)/inefficient (you pick the proper description) MTA.


    You live where?

    And you aren't even the least bit curious or critical of the "experiment" and the details which will affect your street and neighborhood?

    Of course not.

    You're letter isn't even dealing with the specifics of this crazy plan, just rehashing old talking points of TransAlt and the anti-motorized vehicle lobby.

    Get on your bike and pedal off into the sunset. Legally, and in a bike lane, of course. And try not to hit anybody.

  3. The story below: shows Uber’s and Lyft’s hidden hand in this congestion pricing scheme (and why our politicians don’t admit “who” is the biggest contributor to NYC’s increase in traffic). Shows you how remarkably little it costs to influence politicians, and therefore what a high return on investment political contributions are.

    Story: Why Uber and Lyft Really Want You to Stop Driving

  4. I don't usually single out individuals on any kind on Social Media. To me that's a coward's way of engaging someone. Years ago, pre-Social Media, it was called "A Telephone Tough Guy"…i.e., one who speaks like a "tough guy" over the phone, with the hope that person will NEVER actually see the other person, to whom he is being "a tough guy" in person". (Didn't work for someone in my past…I went immediately to his place of business). Anyway, w/Social Media, here it goes: Today I woke up with the news that NYC Mayor DeBlasio is running for the Democratic nomination. Of course, this is a ruse, as he has absolutely no chance, even as a poll shows of his base on the U.W.S. think he has no chance. Of course, he wants a job by some strange occurrence, there happens to eb a Democratic Administration 2021. Normally, I would say, good, get him out of NY'ers hair (imagine the damage he could do as President?!). But, to be honest, he is a "happy imcompetent". Basically has done nothing good, nor bad for NYC, just NOTHING AT ALL. Can anyone honestly say NYC is better off now then it was before he was mayor. Those staunchest Progressives…BE HONEST. He's done nothing. As I had alluded to in previous rant, it was the third term of Bloomberg when the city started to turn into this mess of a cesspool. DeBlasio has followed through of some of Bloomberg's ill conceived plans, while all of his have fallen by the wayside. I don't don't know, in my lifetime, if NYC will ever have another Guiliani or Koch, for that matter. But, maybe a Scott Stringer can be a welcomed change.

    • "But, maybe a Scott Stringer can be a welcomed change." Really? He screwed us with the NYU deal. More of the same. We need someone better, if there is someone better who has any chance of getting support in NYC.

  5. Chris, I live between 14th and 15th Streets on the east side, and couldn’t agree more! Thanks for writing this.

  6. We have to improve transit. It's our only hope for reducing congestion and all the miserable externalities that go with cars. We have something like 160 cross town streets in this city. The few cars that are displaced from 14th Street have a range of cross town lanes to chose from. And maybe some drivers wllll switch to transit, if Uber and left don't destroy it.

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