Gale Brewer Endorses TA’s 14th Street PeopleWay Campaign

In May, Gale Brewer (podium) expressed interest in a bus-only 14th Street at a press conference hosted by Riders Alliance. Photo: David Meyer
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (podium) expressed interest in a bus-only 14th Street at this press conference hosted by Riders Alliance in May. Photo: David Meyer

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer wants to prioritize buses, bikes, and pedestrians on Manhattan’s 14th Street when the L train shuts down for 18 months beginning in January 2019. Brewer signed onto Transportation Alternatives’ “PeopleWay” campaign yesterday after meeting with campaign organizers.

“To get through 18 months without the L train, we’ll need to move people along 14th Street like never before,” she said in a statement. “We need the DOT and MTA to conduct studies and get more community feedback before we’ll know what the best plan is, but some form of 14th Street PeopleWay has to be part of the solution.”

The shutdown will leave hundreds of thousands of daily L train commuters in need of reliable and fast alternatives. Buses running on dedicated lanes between Williamsburg and Manhattan are the most efficient way to accomplish that goal. Brewer previously called on DOT to study the concept of a “bus-only” 14th Street ahead of the shutdown.

PeopleWay advocates have not yet proposed a specific design for prioritizing buses, pedestrians, and bikes on the corridor, and Brewer’s statement stops short of calling for an entirely car-free 14th Street. In September and October, TA will host a series of public workshops to collect input for a more detailed plan, according to TA Organizing Director Tom DeVito.

TA volunteers and organizers spent the summer drumming up support for the PeopleWay concept. Brewer joins Council Member Corey Johnson, who represents the corridor from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River, as well as Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, in supporting the proposal. Council members Rosie Mendez and Dan Garodnick, who also represent parts of 14th Street, have yet to sign on.

The city and MTA will not be able to meet shutdown-induced demand unless they reallocate street space to people on buses and bikes. While DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg has said “all options are on the table,” Mayor de Blasio has been cold to the PeopleWay concept. Appearing on WNYC in July, the mayor was reluctant to endorse a car-free 14th Street, calling it a “big decision…given how important 14th Street is.”

  • Elizabeth F

    Great idea. But why can we only have decent cross-town connections on streets that happen to have a subway beneath them? How about also building “peoples corridors” on Houston St, 23 ST, 34 St, 56 St, 72 St, 86 St, 110 St, 126 St, etc.

  • Vooch

    because NYrs have no concept of how successful pedestrian zones are in the rest of the world. Pedestrian zones increase commerce, property values, and safety. Pedestrian Zones have successfully solved the challenges of truck deliveries, medical emergencies, handicapped access, and car storage 50 years ago.

    Yet l, whenever pedestrian zones are proposed in NYC; we hear the same red herring arguments against them –

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

TA Calls for Grand Street to Serve People, Not Cars, During L Shutdown

|
Volunteers from Transportation Alternatives rallied on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge last night to call on the city to prioritize Grand Street for buses, bicycling, and walking when the MTA shuts down the western portion of the L train for 18 months to make Sandy-related repairs. Every day, New Yorkers make hundreds of thousands of trips on the […]

Brewer to DOT: Start Looking Into a Bus-Only 14th Street

|
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is calling on DOT to study making 14th Street a bus-only thoroughfare while L train service is disrupted during Sandy-related repairs. To allow for urgently-needed fixes to the L train tunnel, the MTA is considering either a full shutdown of service between Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue for 18 months, or a three-year […]

Scores of New Yorkers Turn Out to Reimagine 14th Street

|
A capacity crowd of around 80 people gathered at a community center in Chelsea last night to brainstorm the future of 14th Street. The forum was the second 14th Street PeopleWay workshop, hosted by Transportation Alternatives, to help prepare for the crush of people who will need a new way to get around when the L train tube under the […]

Mayor de Blasio Needs to Step Up to Keep L Train Passengers Moving

|
This morning the MTA announced that starting in 2019, it will close the L train between Eighth Avenue and Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg for 18 months to repair damage caused by Superstorm Sandy — surprising no one who’s been paying attention. For several months now, it’s been obvious that the MTA and the de Blasio administration will […]