To mitigate the nightmare commuters will face during the 15-month L-train shutdown, the MTA and the Department of Transportation presented four possible alternatives that would make a portion of 14th Street a car-free busway. Streetsblog NYC reported that during a Manhattan Community Board 6 meeting on Monday, the agencies laid out the following options: a standard Select Bus Service (SBS) along 14th Street, enhanced SBS that includes turn and curb restrictions, a car-free busway in the middle lanes along 14th and a river-to-river car-free busway. Agency officials predict between 75 and 85 percent of the daily 275,000 daily L riders will use other subway lines, with bus service possibly absorbing between 5-15 percent of displaced trips.
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.