Appeals Judge Slams The Brakes On 14th Street Busway

An appeal has slowed down the M14 Busway yet again. Photo: Google Maps
An appeal has slowed down the M14 Busway yet again. Photo: Google Maps

Self-styled progressive lawyer Arthur Schwartz got a judge to slam the brakes on the 14th Street Busway again, just days before the pilot transit corridor was supposed to launch.

The coalition of wealthy West Village and Chelsea landowners, who lost their court bid to stop the Busway on Tuesday afternoon filed a hurried appeal that was granted by the Appellate Division on Friday, NY1 first reported.

According to the court papers, Schwartz’s plaintiffs, who are among the wealthiest people in the city, argued that Justice Eileen Rakower was wrong in allowing the Busway to proceed because the city did not actually take the required “hard look” at possible impacts of the car-free Busway that is necessary under state environmental law.

The Department of Transportation maintains it did conduct a traffic simulation that showed 1,000 vehicle trips per day would be diverted from 14th Street onto the surrounding blocks of West 12, 13, 15th and 16th streets — the main concern of Schwartz’s clients. The affidavit from DOT Deputy Commissioner for Traffic Eric Beaton called the modeling of 1,000 diverted trips a “conservative” outcome that didn’t take into account the potential for massively increased bus ridership as speeds on the horrendously slow M14 improved.

Beaton called that the necessary “hard look,” and Rakower agreed. But the Appellate Division disagreed, delaying the Busway again.

Activists were outraged.

“For every day that the 14th Street busway is on hold, M14 rush hour commuters lose two weeks worth of time that they will never recover,” Danny Pearlstein of the Riders Alliance said in a statement. “Time wasted stuck behind cars in stalled traffic is time away from family, friends, work, and New York’s civic life. “The irreparable harm to tens of thousands of transit riders that comes of obstructing badly needed bus service improvements mounts with every single day of self-serving litigation from wealthy and powerful precincts surrounding 14th Street.”

Thomas DeVito of Transportation Alternatives added, “Relief remains out of reach for New Yorkers who ride the M14 — the slowest bus in the city — thanks to yet another round of legal maneuvers from a small group of wealthy, well-connected West Siders. These so-called progressives’ effort to stymie the plan to speed up bus service on 14th Street is a bad-faith effort to preserve a cars-first status quo, and frankly, a waste of time. This tiresome, tedious effort to circumvent the democratic process delays tangible improvements to the commutes of tens of thousands of working New Yorkers. It’s despicable, and we’re not going to accept it.”

Schwartz was pleased. He said Friday’s ruling will delay the Busway for “months” as the appeal is heard.

  • William Lawson

    Enough is enough. We need to stage a massive protest outside this nasty little shit’s brownstone. We cannot let despicable people dictate the future of this city. He belongs in a trash can, not the West Village.

  • ohhleary

    It’s time to shame Arthur Schwartz in every possible way. Demand that WBAI drop his show. Tell the NY Progressive Action Network to strip him of his post. Remind the TWU Local 100 that he’s taking jobs away from their members. Hit him where it hurts. He is human garbage and should be cast off into oblivion as long as he continues to push this anti-progressive nonsense.

  • Joe R.
  • Ian Turner

    Slower buses lead to a need for more bus drivers, not less, because if a single run takes longer then you need more total buses in order to deliver the same service frequency.

  • thomas040

    Stupid idiots.

  • vnm

    Wait, WBAI carries a show hosted by Arthur Schwartz??? I thought WBAI was progressive radio. Now it feels more like anti-progressive, NIMBY-crank radio.

  • Robert Lancer

    Can bus riders sue Arthur Schwartz?

  • William Lawson

    Ha I did almost say Oscar the Grouch.

  • Resident

    Arthur Schwartz should only be known for screwing over New Yorkers. That’s it. That’s his entire reputation. He has no regard for his fellow citizen. Only cares about his parking.

  • bolwerk

    Meh. We need a political regime where this kind of stuff doesn’t work, or where actions like this somehow rebound back upon the person who initiates them. In the time this kind of litigation takes to be heard, something as simple as an at-grade busway should already be complete.

  • I just sent a nice email to NYPAN requesting that they take action against him and explaining how his actions are anathema to their ideals as a progressive organization

  • Andrew

    That’s correct, assuming a fixed frequency.

    But, in fact, improving bus service yields increased ridership, which triggers increased frequency.

    Perhaps the TWU would prefer to see a need for a lot of bus operators because buses are slow. I’d much prefer to see a need for a lot of bus operators because buses are popular.

  • PDiddy

    The funny thing is, that bus lane is going to increase the value of those properties. These idiots are actively acting against their own interest because they do not understand how cars sunder value.

    In the mean time, DOT needs to start metering all street parking in the areas it foresees doing similar infrastructure changes like this. Then they can jack up the price of the parking and make it a pointless battle for these idiots who keep blocking the project.

  • GuestBx

    Transit advocates should protest in front of his home.

  • paulb

    I imagine Schwartz is laying plans to shut down congestion pricing.

  • AMH

    Bingo. The TWU treats everything as zero-sum, so I’m sure they see slow buses as a good thing. They rail against things like OPTO instead of campaigning for more frequent service, i.e. jobs. On the positive side, they do recognize that off-board fare payment is good for driver safety.

  • Daphna

    Shame on the judges in the Appellate Division for granting Schwartz’s appeal and thus preventing a vital street improvement at the expense of the many for the preferences of the few.

  • BklynPete

    WBAI stopped being “progressive” at the end of the 20th Century. Anyone with revenue – see Gary Null — can have a home at WBAI, and a whole lot of their so-called talent include cranks of all varieties. I pretty much only listen to Leonard Lopate.

  • BklynPete

    Can anyone connect the dots between Schwartz & de Blasio’s numerous campaigns and PACs?