With just days until the so-called “L train slowdown” begins, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that NYC will embark on an 18-month transit improvement program that will limit most private cars on 14th Street.
The Department of Transportation’s pilot will also create permanent bike lane improvements on Grand Street in Brooklyn, as well as on 12th and 13th Streets in Manhattan, and transit and truck priority lanes on 14th Street, preventing through-traffic from 3rd Avenue to 9th Avenue.
“We have an opportunity to try something new and really get bus riders moving on one of our busiest streets,” Mayor de Blasio said in a press release Wednesday. “As we continue to address congestion across New York City, this is an experiment that, if successful, could provide us another tool to move buses faster and save people valuable time for the things that matter.”
Buses, trucks and emergency vehicles will be able to use 14th Street between 3rd and 9th Avenues. Intersections along 14th Street will be designed with new turn lanes to ensure that bus lanes will remain clear. Intersections will also receive Vision Zero treatments, including painted curb extensions that enhance pedestrian safety. New curbside regulations will prioritize short-term loading and passenger pickup activity. Local traffic will still be permitted to make pickups and drop-offs along the corridor and access garages, but cars will need to turn right at the next possible location. Left turns will not be allowed. The MTA announced that prior to the implementation of Select Bus Service, M14 service will increase on nights and weekends starting this spring.
NYC plans to make bike lanes along the Grand Street corridor in Brooklyn permanent. City officials said DOT plans to modify the protected bike lanes on Waterbury Street and Vandervoort Avenue to help accommodate businesses along that section of the corridor, and will also create permanently retaining bike lanes which were first installed in 2018 along 12th and 13th Streets in the Village.
Cyclist use of the nearly three miles of protected lanes over the winter has outpaced bike counts from last summer. The new lanes are now a part of the agency’s crosstown protected bicycle lane strategy, along with recently installed lanes on 26th and 29th streets. More bike lanes are coming to 52nd and 55th Streets in Midtown, and pedestrian-friendly roadway spaces along both University Place between West 13th and 14th Streets and Union Square West between West 14th and 17th Streets. A “shared-street” arrangement in University Place will also be implemented so eastbound vehicles on 14th Street can turn right and proceed slowly through that block. The blocks of Union Square West would remain closed to general traffic.