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Dreaming Up a PeopleWay for 14th Street

2:31 PM EDT on March 31, 2017

The winner of the “L-ternative” competition proposes bus lanes, a two-way protected bike lane, and wider sidewalk zones for 14th Street. Image: Cricket Day/Chris Robbins/Becca Groban/Kellen Parker

While we're waiting to get a look at DOT and the MTA's forthcoming plans for the L train shutdown, Gothamist and Transportation Alternatives put on "L-ternative Visions" -- a design competition to envision 14th Street "as a people-first transit corridor."

On Wednesday the winner was revealed: "14TH ST.OPS" a bus- and bikeway with expanded sidewalk space, courtesy of a team that includes landscape architect Cricket Day and Village Voice city editor Christopher Robbins [PDF].

Their plan calls for a six-stop shuttle bus operating on dedicated lanes on 14th Street and a median-aligned two-way protected bikeway. Sidewalk expansions built with low-cost materials would provide space for activity out of the way of pedestrian traffic.

While the center-running bike lanes would position cyclists in between faster-moving buses, the advantage is that bike traffic would not conflict with the bus boarding process. "With our configuration, buses and pedestrians have direct connections without blocking any cyclist traffic," said Day.

The competition didn't ask for entries to think beyond 14th Street, but the plan also sketches out a bus service between Williamsburg and Union Square via the Williamsburg Bridge, Delancey Street, and Lafayette Street.

lternative-14thst.ops station map

The bus- and bike-only Lafayette Street/Fourth Avenue would connect to 14th Street via the redesigned southeast corner of Union Square. Broadway would no longer be a through-route for motor vehicle traffic, opening up space for two pedestrian zones: one linking Union Square to the triangle by Fourth Avenue, and one on the block of Broadway south of 14th.

Image: Cricket Day
Cricket Day/Chris Robbins/Becca Groban/Kellen Parker

To accommodate the increased cycling demand, the team also proposes converting the ground-levels of eight privately-owned parking garages on the corridor into Citi Bike "superstations."


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