Thursday, April 25, 2019

More about the return of the 14th Street busway; 12th and 13th street bike lanes now permanent

As you probably heard, Mayor de Blasio announced yesterday that the city will try an "experimental new transit improvement" on 14th Street starting in June as a way to keep people moving during the starts-tomorrow-evening L-train slowdown.

Beginning in June, there will be four lanes of traffic (two in each direction) along with a new M14 Select Bus Service. Buses, trucks and emergency vehicles will be given priority in the center lanes on 14th Street from Third Avenue to Ninth Avenue. There won't be any through traffic for cars, private vehicles will still be able to use 14th Street, but only for pick-ups and drop-offs — or for accessing garages along the six-block stretch.

This restriction is expected to last for 18 months during the repairs on the Sandy-damaged L tubes.

[Click on image to go big]

City agencies had already taken the first steps to make 14th Street a car-free busway. However, with the full L-train shutdown called off by Gov. Cuomo in early January, those plans were put on hold.

In addition, the city announced yesterday that the bike lanes on 12th Street and 13th Street, which arrived last fall in anticipation of a full L-train shutdown, will be made permanent.

Here's some of the more relevant information for East Village residents via the city's news release:

• 14th Street Transit/Truck Priority (TTP) – The MTA and DOT announced earlier this year that M14 SBS would be coming to the 14th Street corridor in 2019; the corridor carries one of the most intensely used bus routes in the city, with the M14A/D carrying 27,000 daily riders and providing a critical connection from the Lower East Side to Union Square and the Meatpacking District.

To make sure these buses move quickly and reliably, DOT studied international best practice for busy transit corridors, including along King Street in downtown Toronto, where in 2017, new regulations that prioritized transit and pedestrian uses were piloted along a major streetcar route. The Toronto changes, popular with transit riders, dramatically reduced travel times and increased safety along the corridor — and have been since made permanent.

Working with MTA, DOT will pilot a similar arrangement on 14th Street. Starting later this spring, the new TTP changes will include:

-Only buses, trucks and emergency vehicles will be able to use 14th Street between 3rd and 9th Avenues as a through route.

-Local traffic will still be permitted to make pickups and drop-offs along the corridor and access garages, but cars will always need to turn right at the next possible location. Left turns will not be allowed.

-New curbside regulations will prioritize short-term loading and passenger pickup activity.

-Intersections along 14th Street will be designed with new turn lanes where appropriate to ensure that bus lanes will remain clear. Intersections will also receive Vision Zero treatments, including painted curb extensions that enhance pedestrian safety.

The new design builds on proposals made during the original L train planning process, but also incorporates key feedback from local residents to ensure that curb access remained available, and that through truck traffic not be diverted to local streets.

Construction will begin this spring for completion in time for the launch of the M14 SBS in June. During that time, DOT will conduct significant outreach to stakeholders, including the five different community boards served by 14th Street. This will be accompanied by educational campaigns for the people who use 14th Street.

DOT expects to enforce the new TTP lanes through automated cameras along 14th Street. The agency will publicly announce the commencement of camera enforcement, which will not begin until at least 60 days after the new SBS route is established.

[Early-morning look at the 12th Street bike lane before it's a loading zone]

In other news...

12th Street/13th Street Protected Bike Lanes – DOT will also pursue permanently retaining bike lanes it had installed in 2018 along 12th and 13th Streets. Since being painted last fall, cyclist usage of the nearly three miles of new protected lanes over the winter has outpaced bike counts from last summer. The new lanes have become a part of the agency’s crosstown protected bicycle lane strategy ... In response to community concerns, more delineators and loading zones will be added.

We'll have more about these bike lanes in another (future) post.

For some analysis and reaction to yesterday's announcement, you can read this piece by Vin Barone, who first broke this story, over at amNY. There's more reaction at Streetsblog.

Meanwhile, there's no word yet about which M14A/D stops along Avenue A and Avenue D might be eliminated to speed up the notoriously slow bus routes. There is opposition to the MTA's plan to cut back on local bus stops.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Prepping for the new protected bike lanes on 12th and 13th streets

Bike lane line work continues on 12th Street

DOT puts down the green paint on the new 13th Street bike lane (except for one mysterious spot)


Anonymous said...

That's great news about the 12 and 13 streets bike lanes.

Anonymous said...

"DOT expects to enforce the new TTP lanes through automated cameras along 14th Street."

How will the surveillance cameras know the difference between local traffic and scofflaws.

citizens' day-to-day activities are all being recorded now, it is not a question.

noble neolani said...

Agree, the bike lanes are fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I am also glad about the bike lanes. I use them almost every day. Trucks can park and unload in the buffer zone, what is the big deal.

afbp said...

HOW ABOUT---A TEST---automated cameras monitoring bike lanes---tickets mailed to scofflaws :)

Anonymous said...

@12:00PM: Which scofflaws? The bikes don't have any ID on them. Or do you propose fining US Postal Service, UPS, Amazon, every moving van, and all the people who need to get out of a taxi in front of their building that's on the bike-lane side of the street?

The proponents of bike lanes ignore the fact that space is finite, and you can't take away half the parking on a street and still expect deliveries to happen in any reasonable way.

afbp said...

HUH---what a specious argument---WHEN CARS WERE PARKED THERE (before the bike lanes)---how did

MrNiceGuy said...

That's great news about the 12th and 13th St bike lanes! As a resident of 12th Street, the bike lane has been a godsend. Yes, it is used as a loading zone. But before the bike lanes, trucks would try to double park to unload, which often meant that cars couldn't get around them. This led to a ridiculous amount of useless honking during the day. I'd say honking has been reduced by at least 80% since they've been installed.

Who could possibly be against the bike lanes? Only people who uses the street for free parking... sorry, not sorry.

noble neolani said...

With the bike lanes traffic has actually improved for the better. Cars and trucks and get around double parked or stopped cars easily. Horn noise is almost gone (almost). Visibility is greatly increased for pedestrians and for drivers. Streets are 50% cleaner since street sweeping machines can actually get one side fully cleaned.

Anonymous said...

And I much prefer looking at our beautiful buildings than rows of cars.

Anonymous said...

So the MTA is seeking to reduce the number of M14 stops to speed the ride. And DOT is expanding the bicycle infrastructure.

Bus and subway service keep getting cut and fares keep rising....
But somehow there seems to be more and more money and support for bicycling.

Policy goals to further ensure the demographic cleansing of NYC?
Only the young and affluent allowed to live here.
Libertarian fantasy - why fund mass transit, why support those pesky union workers?

Actually if the MTA increased the frequency of M14 bus service, it would better serve riders. Cutting bus stops does not serve riders.

Lastly, striking how many cyclists are regular users of ecommerce delivery - and seem unware that they are contributing to vehicle traffic, pollution etc.

Anonymous said...

I am glad the city is making a commitment to bike infrastructure. It feels civilized, progressive almost. But naturally anything that is forward-thinking is going to piss off a lot of old people. Change is hard.

32yearsanEVresident said...

wow...I truly don't understand the unbridled enthusiasm for the bike lanes and claims of improved mobility/safety/noise. I am not hostile to increasing the ease of biking in the city but simply trying to be an objective observer here.

I live on 12th Street and contrary to the above reports/opinions I don't see or hear or experience the positive impacts that are being claimed Moreover, the usage is truly minimal. The number of bikers at rush or any other time of day using the lane is really paltry.

Before making this arrangement permanent, let's see some data.

Anonymous said...

@11:33am: Agree cutting stops does not serve riders; cutting 5th Ave. as a stop on M14 buses is insane, as that is a transfer point to downtown buses.

5th Avenue is also a stop that (when it existed) is only 1 block from a major veterinary hospital. It sucks to have to take your dog or cat there by taxi when you *could* have used the bus if only the MTA were not so useless.

And yes, about the oh-so-righteous who nevertheless depend on e-commerce deliveries.

Bottom line, though, is that you're right that this is about demographic cleansing, which is apparently not happening fast enough for the "elites," so IMO, the city is trying to speed things up by making life miserable for older people and the non-rich.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the definition of progressive is something that benefits all people, not just a subsection of people?
Mas transit benefits everyone.

Progressive also means embracing/going forward together.
So IMO a negative reference - "old people" - does not seem like a progressive approach.

Anonymous said...

@12:43pm: You write: "But naturally anything that is forward-thinking is going to piss off a lot of old people. Change is hard."

Change is hard? ... as Alexander Hamilton says: "Just you wait!"

Do you have any older relatives or neighbors who you think matter at all, or do their lives become less valuable with each passing day?

You think you won't ever get old? HA!

You think change is hard? You have NO IDEA how much change older people and disabled people have to embrace, just to get through the day in this city. Just to live their lives. Older people are dealing with far more change every single day than you can imagine.

It would be nice, though, in the midst of the "demographic cleansing" that is definitely going on these days, if people would have a smidgen of respect for older people, as opposed to wanting older people to just vanish or stay indoors all the time. IMO, basically anyone who's not bike-ready these days is being told to stay out of the way.

Your day will come; you just can't imagine it yet.

Anonymous said...

Income inequality and demographic stratification is the new normal in NYC - more suburban transplants/educated college grads, various wealthy people, more pied a terre, and of course more tourists.

Manhattan and Brooklyn especially have morphed into playgrounds for these populations.

As gentrification/luxurification continues, there is disregard, even contempt for non-rich, long-time New Yorkers.
Same disregard for the elderly and disabled.
The suburban transplants etc have elderly relatives back in Columbus or Dallas or wherever. But someone else is taking care of them....

Matthew has 2 T's, dumbass said...

The bike lanes are stupid. Lets just call them what they are - delivery truck parking. Bikers rarely use them. The whole thing is idiotic.

Anonymous said...

Seems that in 2019 the car owners are saying there's a "war on cars" meanwhile bikers point to many injustices (bike bell stings?!) and are saying there is a war on bikes. Bus riders feeling ignored. Everyone feels marginalized. I am a biker and I think maybe the reason we come off as demanding on this issue, is because we fear for our lives. That's a big concern. Everyone has their wants and needs but let's face it, basic safety is a biggie. We value our lives just as car drivers do in other words. It sucks that people are losing some free parking spaces, but the opportunity cost (increased safety) seems like a reasonable trade off.

Meanwhile the pedestrians who neither drive nor bike... they seem to mostly side with the car owners for some weird reason. We are born deep within a car culture I guess. People defend it unconsciously, without even realizing.

Anonymous said...

Just want to point out that older folks can and do ride bicycles, yes even in NYC. I had a small beef on the 12th street lane with a very old guy who was en route to the senior citizens center near 1st ave. We were both riding but he was salmoning westward and then stopped and dismounted right in my path. He was really old, at least 80 by my estimation. Looked like Methuseleh.

Anonymous said...

The city has to do something to protect people from the killing machines that are cars and trucks.

A total of six people have been killed riding their bikes on New York City streets this year, compared to just 10 in all of 2018. Combined, pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are up nearly 40 percent since this time last year.

Out of six cyclists killed in 2019 — Chaim Joseph, Susan Moses, Hector Ayala Jr., Hugo Garcia, Aurilla Lawrence, and Robert Spencer — only the hit-and-run driver who struck Joseph has been arrested.

He was charged with failure to exercise due care and failure to yield to a cyclist, both misdemeanors, but was not charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving serious injury or death, which is a felony.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to de Blasio's Zero Vision? The streets are bloodier than ever thanks to the reckless drivers behind the wheels of vehicles spewing emissions of air pollution and greenhouse gases. Drivers are more dangerous than ever — killing people AND the environment.

Scuba Diva said...

At 1:33, Anonymous said:

The city has to do something to protect people from the killing machines that are cars and trucks.

And maiming machines; if you survive a car crash, you live to regret it.

Anonymous said...

I'm 60, bike and walk, love the bike lanes and hope the city continues improving its public spaces...with better infrastructure for people not cars and car storage.