TransAlt protests outside 14th St. busway foe’s home

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | After hearing shouts, Arthur Schwartz stepped out of his W. 12th St. brownstone and began offering pastries to a crowd of roughly 50 protesters that had gathered around his stoop.

Arthur Schwartz offers pastries to protesters outside of his home. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

(Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

The protesters, most of whom were from Transportation Alternatives, called on the West Village attorney to “drop the suit” that, last Friday, resulted in an Appellate Division court issuing a stay that blocked the start of the 14th St. busway.

Tom DeVito, director of advocacy for Transportation Alternatives, left,  speaks to the press about what he called Arthur Schwartz’s “frivolous lawsuit” on behalf of Village and Chelsea block associations. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech).

The busway is the city Department of Transportation’s proposed 18-month pilot program, in which only buses, three-axle trucks and emergency vehicles could use the major crosstown street as through traffic between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The plan is intended to mitigate any negative travel impacts caused by the L-train “slowdown” due to subway-tunnel repair work and, in general, to speed up straphangers’ commutes.

TransAlt’s Tom DeVito leading the crowd of about 50 protesters in chanting outside of attorney Arthur Schwartz’s home. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

Schwartz represents a broad swath of Chelsea and Village block associations and condo boards that fear that closing 14th St. to cars, vans and small trucks would force the vehicles onto neighborhood side streets, causing congestion, noise and air pollution, and vibrations from excessive traffic, among other problems.

Schwartz referred to the protest as “thuggery” that had nothing to do with honest political discourse

Tom DeVito, director of advocacy for Transportation Alternatives, speaking shortly before the protest ended, said the busway advocates will keep up the pressure.

“We will keep on fighting and not stop,” he vowed.

A protesting “millionaire” sported a top hat and moustache in a dig at Arthur Schwartz, who is a successful attorney representing municipal unions, such as the city’s Transport Workers Union. The Village activist also recently cashed in on a Village brownstone he bought for cheap decades ago. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

A police detail assigned to the protest made sure things stayed under control. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

5 Responses to TransAlt protests outside 14th St. busway foe’s home

  1. “The Village activist also recently cashed in on a Village brownstone he bought for cheap decades ago.”
    Can you provide more details on this?

  2. perry rothenberg

    Let Residents vote on these changes

  3. Arthur Z Schwartz

    I like the voting idea. Get DOT to agree and I bet we will withdraw the lawsuit.
    On my sale, check the acris records from 1991, when I bought the house I sold in 2014. Its public record.

  4. Ellen McDermott and her alternative transpiration bullies should be arrested. Menaces to society

  5. Transportation Alternatives’ decision to picket Arthur Schwartz’s home may not have been particularly politic, but the “fascism” charge is off-the-charts irony. Bicyclists are an oppressed and stigmatized group in New York City, while motorists are ultra-privileged and have a virtual license to kill. Time and again we hear of pedestrians or bicyclists killed by motorists in what are euphemistcally called “accidents” or “crashes,” with no charges filed. The bicyclists are on the side of social justice, and the motor-heads (and their enablers like Schwartz) on the side of fascistc Ugly Americanism.

    And if Schwartz and his co-litigants have a legitimate argument against the plans for 14th St., they blow all their credibility with their opposition to the 12th and 13th St. bike lanes. We urgently need more space for bicycles—everywhere.

    On the factual tip, I’d like some corroboration that Transportation Alternatives’ “top officials” make $200,000 a year. Did you check with the organization, Villager?

    I’m also still waiting for The Villager to explain what “Select Bus Service” is.

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