Judge blocks NYC plan to ban private vehicles on 14th Street

A judge has blocked New York City’s plan to ban private vehicles from a certain portion of 14th Street, converting it into a dedicated ‘busway,’ designed to increase speeds and reliability for the new M14A and D select bus service.

The plan would have only permitted buses, trucks with three or more axels and delivery vehicles on 14th Street between Third and Ninth Avenues. It was supposed to go into effect on July 1, but a lawsuit filed by a coalition of block associations argued that that Department of Transportation did not submit an environmental plan.

“The cars are not going to go away, they are going to go on residential streets,” said attorney Arthur Schwartz, who filed the suit. "So the thousand cars an hour that go across 14th Street are going to go on 12th Street, 13th Street, 15th, 16th and 17th, and the residents of those blocks don't want more vehicles."

“I think it’s ironic and I think it’s cynical to use environmental law and weaponize it against making transit better,” said Thomas Devito of Transportation Alternatives about the lawsuit. 

The DOT says M14 select bus service will still launch on Monday, but will operate without the dedicated lanes. The agency has until July 12 to submit its documents to the judge and both parties are due back in court on August 6.