A controversial car ban on a one-mile stretch of Manhattan’s 14th Street went into effect on October 3rd, leaving many passenger car drivers and local businesses fuming and bus riders elated.
In an effort to ease congestion on traffic-clogged streets, the city is now limiting access to the major east-west thoroughfare between Third and Ninth Avenues from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to buses, trucks, and emergency vehicles. Personal vehicles are only permitted to drive down the corridor for garage access, pick-ups, and drop-offs, and are required to make the next available right turn. Starting December 2nd, those that don’t abide by the new restrictions will incur financial penalties at the hands of automated bus lane enforcement cameras. Between now and then, NYPD officers will be stationed along the route and on surrounding streets to educate drivers and issue warnings.
New York City transit officials recently announced the ban – billed as an 18-month pilot project – after a five-judge state appellate court panel ruled 3-to-2 against West Village lawyer Arthur Schwartz’s bid to stall the city’s “busway” project due to fears that the move would divert more traffic onto neighboring streets.
In response to the court ruling, Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in a statement, “This is a smart project that speeds up buses and leaves room for the drop-offs and deliveries the neighborhood needs. These are the changes we have to make as a city to fight congestion and give people transit options they can rely on.”
Prior to the ban, buses on 14th Street were traveling less than 4 mph and taking more than 10 minutes to travel those six blocks during the weekday rush hour. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority predicts the new restrictions will trim two to nine minutes off bus riders’ commute time.
And, even if your travels don’t take you to the Big Apple, the ban serves as an important reminder that a well-planned trip is safer and more profitable. Checking resources such as 511 Travel Information, the Federal Highway Administration National Traffic and Road Closure Information, and State Transportation websites and mapping out your destination before departing helps to ensure your trips go off without the confusion caused by changes in traffic patterns, or the inconvenient delays which can result from weather, construction, traffic jams or accidents.
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