In July, DOT and MTA will start operating a new configuration on 14th street from 3rd to 8th Avenues, 5 AM to 10 PM as an 18 month pilot: one lane each way , located in the center will carry buses and trucks across the island. All other traffic will be permitted on one block only, that is will have to get off at the next intersection.
Such configuration was successfully implemented in Toronto and improved markedly the on-time performance of buses there. The difference here is that trucks will be permitted in the bus lane, so that they do not use the residential side streets, a good news for residents but not so good for riders.
Access to both curbs will remain, with 30 minutes ”Loading and Unloading” regulations. Vehicles and buses will be barred from turning left, except for the M7 bus at 7th Avenue. Right turn bays will free up the bus lane from turning vehicles.
Bus riders will benefit from off-board payment as do other SBS corridors on 34th and 23rd Streets , and bulb outs will be provided for easier boarding.
Unfortunately DOT has not yet provided a mitigation plan for the adjacent streets, the residents of which fear an onslaught of traffic diverted from 14th Street. We are told that DOT is ready to react promptly once issues are raised.
The Council Member has asked and the DOT has committed to provide a robust reporting during the 18 month-pilot to evaluate its viability. For the sake of everyone concerned, we hope this configuration works and actually speeds up the buses. Let’s wait and see.
Find more details in DOT presentation here.