Thursday, February 21, 2019

The foot race to beat the M14 along 14th Street

Transit advocates, out to show how slow city buses are, organized a contest yesterday morning in which pedestrians power-walked on the sidewalk as they followed an M14 on 14th Street from Avenue A to the west side of Union Square.

In the end, the bus won the race — by five seconds.

Per Gothamist:

"For New York City in 2019 to have a bus going walking speed on a good day is really nothing to celebrate," said Tom DeVito, senior director of advocacy at Transportation Alternatives, which organized the contest. He noted that that car traffic was less paralyzing than usual, likely due to school being out this week.

The M14 has been found to be the city's third slowest, as well as one of its busiest, with a daily ridership of 30,000.

With the L-train slowdown coming, the buses along 14th Street could get even slower.

The MTA/DOT have already taken the first steps to make 14th Street a car-free busway for most of the day. However, with the shutdown called off, the MTA said last week that a busway along this stretch isn't necessary.

You can find more coverage at Newsradio 880 ... NBC 4 ... Metro New York ... and NY1.


Anonymous said...

Ugh, the M14... I regularly take it with my elderly mom from Village View to see her doctors near Union Sq and it's so awful. We would welcome prioritizing buses on 14th st and other places too. It would be a game changer to be able to rely on the bus. I remember using buses in physically separated lanes in Bogota and it was such an odd feeling that the local government actually cared about the masses.

Anonymous said...

The competition should also include wait time for the bus, with 2x wait time when a bus that is empty in back passes your stop without letting people on.

Anonymous said...

14th Street is no different than so many other bus route streets. They all run late or clumped together and you can walk faster than the buses most of the time during the daylight hours.

Anonymous said...

Bus service in Manhattan is abysmal, and getting across town on 14th St. by bus is an exercise in aggravation. I'd walk it if not for bad knees, bad weather & heavy packages I have to carry.

If there's any rhyme or reason to the putative "schedule" (HA!), it's known only to the MTA.

I have waited (day or evening) up to 20 minutes for an M14 (A or D, I can fortunately take either one) and that is ridiculous.

Add to that the broken-field running you have to do to GET to the bus (make your way around the non-working SBS kiosks, which are now just stumbling blocks in everyone's way), thread your way around bollards, fire hydrants, and the framework for sidewalk sheds at 14th & 3rd Ave. in front of the Con Ed building heading west, or at 14th & 7th Ave. heading east ... good luck!

There are far too many physical impediments to getting to the bus, and of course it would help if the BUS SHELTER was actually somewhere NEAR where the bus actually stops - but that thought seems not to have occurred to anyone at the MTA, ever.

And now, it appears the 5th Avenue stop has been discontinued (even though that's a busy corner and a transfer point to 5th Ave. buses). Also the stop in front of Whole Foods is gone, so if you're weighted down with shopping, have fun walking to University Place or else trundle over to Irving Place with your packages.

It seems to me that the MTA doesn't have a coherent thought about providing genuinely good, reliable, customer-oriented bus service in Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

Have definitely walked faster than the M14. Needs to have a bus lane and needs to be SBS.

Anonymous said...

I have lived near the beginning of the M14D route and worked near Union Square for about 16 years, and I can tell you that yes, in the morning, *sometimes* the bus is indeed slightly faster than walking. It used to almost always be faster, before all the construction mess on 14th. Now they come out about the same on average.

However, in the evening (going the other direction), the bus is now never faster and often MUCH slower - sometimes taking 15 minutes or more longer than walking - doubling the commute. They should run this test during the evening commute to really see what a mess that bus is already.

Gojira said...

It also doesn't help that traffic on 14th Street going west has to narrow down to one lane in front of Union Square Park because the Transit cops have claimed the right-hand lane as a 24/7 parking area for their SUVs and patrol cars, and that the 6th Avenue intersection is so clogged with construction vehicles where both the northeast and northwest corners are simultaneously under demolition that it can take up to 10 minutes during rush hour to get through it. The 14th street corridor is almost non-stop construction from Avenue C to 6th Avenue, and it will only get worse when that Tech Hub monstrosity project gets going. Seriously, why is there no oversight by City Hall, the City Council, the DOB, anybody, to try and space this endless and ongoing series of greed-driven ventures out so they don't all happen at once?!?

Anonymous said...

I had to take the M14 last week when the L train broke down. What a sh*tshow. Had to wait 15 min for a bus along with everyone from the train, so there was a huge crowd waiting to get on an already-packed bus when it finally arrived. This will only get worse when the L train shuts down, partially shuts down, or breaks down.

The "schedules" mean absolutely nothing. 100% fiction. I worked at the end of a bus line and the drivers and dispatchers (when there was one) made up their own sweet schedules, completely ignoring the schedule posted at the stop. I felt bad for every person looking at the schedule in the hopes they could be on time for a bus. I would usually tell them to start walking or go to the nearest train.

Anonymous said...

The only way anything gets done in the demo-repub duopoly is by creating crisis. No institutions respond unless there is a crisis. And politicians love to look like heroes and save the day.

Anonymous said...

If you think the 14 is bad, you should see the M21

Anonymous said...

The bus won? The fix was in.