Appeals Court Blocks City’s Plan To Create 14th Street Busway

M14 Bus
Photo credit Mark Dye/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The 14th Street Busway set to go into effect on Monday has been put on hold again, the Department of Transportation confirmed Friday.

The plan had called for a ban on all vehicles on 14th Street between Third and Ninth avenues in an effort to speed up certain bus routes being used to accommodate for the partial L train shutdown.

A group of residents living in the surrounding area were able to block the plan when they sued the city, claiming no environmental review was done on how the neighborhood would be affected by banning most car traffic on 14th Street.

A state Supreme Court judge ruled the Department of Transportation must conduct an environmental review before the new busway could begin.

The plan was given the go-ahead Tuesday when a judge lifted a temporary injunction against the proposal. Changes were set to take effect Monday.

On Friday, a last-minute legal effort by drivers and residents once again blocked the plan to create a busway, and now it’s uncertain if the plan will ever live again.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was disappointed to learn the news and said the busway was never about going to war with drivers, but rather about helping to improve bus service.

“We currently have 27,000 riders a day on this route. We used to have 37,000. The number has been dropping in part because of dropping speeds and reliability,” she said of the M14 bus route in Lower Manhattan.

She notes that the reason why things are becoming so bad goes well beyond too many cars on the road.

“The city is growing. We have Lyfts, Ubers, Amazon, construction projects, growing population, growing tourism, growing construction,” she said. “So, there are a lot of different factors.”

As the legal challenge continues, the DOT says it believes it has the right to restrict road access to drivers and will continue to try to do so.