One of many ideas to mitigate the forthcoming L train shutdown in 2019 (in addition to others such as the East River Skyway, more bike lanes, and even an inflatable tunnel) is to shut down 14th Street to vehicular traffic and make it a bus-only zone. The idea was first presented in June by State Senator Brad Hoylman, and now he and a group of his government colleagues have won a request to the MTA for a traffic feasibility study of the proposal that they say will “relieve congestion and improve traffic flow.”
The idea was actually first conceived by the Regional Plan Association in their April 2016 whitepaper “A New L Train For New Yorkers.” While Hoylman would like to see the entire thoroughfare closed to cars, the RPA advocated for a closure from Irving Place to 6th Avenue. The feasibility study, being done by the MTA in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, will look at the effects any closure will have on surrounding streets and for emergency vehicles.
Senator Hoylman released the following statement:
More than 50,000 people cross Manhattan daily on the L-Train below 14th Street. It’s crucial that we have a plan in place to accommodate these riders given the L-Train will be closed for 18 months starting in January 2019. I’m grateful the MTA has heard the concerns of riders, my colleagues and me and agreed to study the impacts of closing 14th Street to include the possibility of a dedicated bus lane and expanded pedestrian and cyclist access. I look forward to the results and partnering with the MTA, community boards, block associations, local businesses and other stakeholders to minimize the disruption from the Canarsie tunnel repairs.
The plan was also endorsed by Congressmembers Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velázquez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Richard N. Gottfried and Brian Kavanagh, as well as NYC Council Members Corey Johnson and Dan Garodnick.
The feasibility study is expected to be completed in the spring and will be set in place at least a year prior to the shutdown.
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