Contest winners suggest a car-free 14th Street with shuttles and bike lanes during L train shutdown

April 11, 2017

Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has been trying to stay focused on grounded solutions–literally, as opposed to the tunnel and skyway ideas that are also being discussed–to mitigate the anticipated possible chaos when the dreaded 15-month L train shutdown hits. The organization is aiming for the ear of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the MTA which control street design and bus expansion, respectively. The group recently held an “L-ternative” contest seeking pedestrian-centered proposals for main transit corridors along the L line, such as 14th street, Gothamist reports. The winning proposal, called 14TH ST.OPS, imagines a (car) traffic-free 14th Street with a six-stop shuttle bus using dedicated lanes, plus protected bike lanes.

Winners will receive $5,000 and an audience with officials from the Department of Transportation, the MTA and the New York City Department of City Planning. In addition to a traffic-free 14th Street with shuttle buses and bike lanes, the winning design, submitted by Cricket Day, Becca Groban, Christopher Robbins and Kellen Parker, envisions a new cross-bridge bus that would be served by the shuttle, carrying commuters to and from Williamsburg via a dedicated lane over the Williamsburg bridge, plus Select Bus Service on 14th Street in both directions. The aforementioned shuttle would make a continuous loop during rush hour at four minute intervals. On the Brooklyn side, commuters would be able to reach 14th Street via their own new shuttle bus which would run in a dedicated lane over the bridge to Delancey Street; the shuttle would also make stops at the Delancey/Essex and Houston Street stations.

The plan also includes five new pedestrian malls along 14th Street. Robbins said, “Rush hour on the Williamsburg Bridge and Delancey Street is pretty bad now, so imagine it when an extra 250,000 people need to get into Manhattan for work. We think the entire plan is actionable because the city and state should take bold measures to address this crisis.”

Runners-up in the contest include one proposal, from PAU Studios, involving temporary elevated barriers between dedicated bike and bus lanes on 14th Street and another, by James Wagman Architect, that would ban traffic on certain blocks along 14th Street.

As 6sqft has previously reported, plans from advocacy groups like Riders Alliance have included a pedestrian-only “14th Street Transitway,” that envisions a 14th Street reconfigured for buses, cyclists, and pedestrians, with dedicated bus lanes for two proposed additional Select Bus Service lines, protected bike lanes and wider sidewalks; private automobiles would be banned and truck deliveries restricted. So far, city planners, politicians and advocates have been on board with the concept. The MTA has said it will “work closely with the City and State to develop routes and determine service levels needed to accommodate projected ridership” and has confirmed that it will run expandde service on the J, G and M trains during the L shutdown, adding more cars and more trains during rush hour.

[Via Gothamist]


Images and renderings by 14 ST.OPS via Transportation Alternatives.

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