During L Shutdown, Make 14th St. a “PeopleWay” for Buses, Bikes and Pedestrians

TransAlt launches new campaign for changes that could double capacity of the Manhattan corridor

To accommodate stranded commuters during the coming L Train, shutdown, City officials must transform Manhattan’s 14th Street into a transportation corridor that prioritizes buses, bikes and pedestrians. That’s the message of Transportation Alternatives’ new campaign “14th St PeopleWay: A New Way to Get Across Manhattan.”

“Whether the L train is shut down fully for 18 months or operates with limited service for three years, the City needs to start taking steps now to reimagine transportation in the communities that are going to have to manage without the subway,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “To keep 14th Street moving, officials must be prepared to make timely investments to give buses priority, build protected bike lanes, and expand pedestrian space.”

White says replacing existing private vehicle traffic with dedicated bus lanes, two-way protected bike lanes and expanded pedestrian space could more than double the 14th Street corridor’s capacity, serving up to 24,500 people per hour or more than 500,000 people per day, according to figures from NACTO.

"For the thousands of L train riders in New York City, we can turn this inconvenience into opportunity," said City Council Transportation Committee Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez. "Re-thinking our streets to prioritize transit makes perfect sense, as so many riders need a way across town and over the bridge. 14th street will be inundated with cars if we don't take bold steps to put people first. This plan would be a positive for transit riders and a positive for New York City as a whole."

“Our City needs to think ahead so that countless L Train riders are not left behind during this necessary construction work,” said City Council Member Corey Johnson. “By exploring our options now, we can make sure that there is minimal disruption in the daily routines of our subway riders. We owe it to commuters to explore any reasonable alternative that can help offset the loss of L Train service. I thank Transportation Alternatives and all the transportation advocates who are working hard on behalf of our straphangers.”

"35,000 L train riders from Brooklyn and Manhattan are poised to join the already crowded bus routes along 14th Street during the shutdown. Our current buses can't handle that kind of overload, so it's time to rethink 14th Street, one of the most important transit corridors in the city. If we make smart decisions now to prepare for the shutdown, Manhattan commuters and businesses won't suffer needlessly while the L train is under repair," said Masha Burina, organizer with the Riders Alliance.

“The looming L train shutdown could present some major challenges for transit commuters, but it also presents an opportunity to re-allocate street space in New York City for people,” said Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Veronica Vanterpool. “This right-of-way is too important to allow it to remain clogged with cars. Maximizing transit, biking and walking is a no-brainer, especially during the L train shutdown.”

"Proposals for the redesign of the 14th Street corridor necessitated by the anticipated closing of the L Train must include improving access for those with mobility impairments -- incorporating principles of universal design and ideas from the Age Friendly Cities initiative," said Jack Kupferman, President of Gray Panthers NYC." Pedestrians, public transportation riders, bicyclists, and motor vehicle drivers have concerns that must be addressed.  Let’s use this time as an opportunity to become an exemplar for thoroughfare redesign that improves transportation for all, particularly older riders and those with mobility impairments."

“This is a great opportunity for thoughtful planning of a true 21st century complete street with mass transit as an anchor,” said Christine Berthet, Co-Founder of Chekpeds. “Solutions will require balancing the needs of commuters, businesses and residents by redirecting traffic flows while protecting adjacent residential streets from unsafe and unwanted vehicular traffic.”

After the L Train shutdown, Transportation Alternatives says the City should make the 14th Street PeopleWay permanent as part of the effort to create a more sustainable and efficient transportation system for New York City’s future.