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M14 mystery abounds as SBS ticket vending machines arrive

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Perhaps we’ll have a little more clarity later today — two days before the L-train slowdown starts — on the status moving forward of a) the dedicated busway originally slated for 14th Street and b) the SBS stops for the M14A and M14D.

Transit watchers expect Mayor de Blasio and the city to disclose its plans for 14th Street today.

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UPDATED 6 a.m.

Vin Barone at amNewYork has this scoop:

The de Blasio administration will ban private through-traffic on 14th Street between Third and Ninth avenues as part of a new pilot street design to help speed up buses during the L train’s Canarsie tunnel reconstruction, according to a draft release of the plans obtained by amNewYork.

But the changes won’t come until June…

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City agencies had already taken the first steps to make 14th Street a car-free busway for most of the day. However, with the full L-train shutdown called off by Gov. Cuomo in early January, those plans were put on hold.

In a series of tweets yesterday, one local transit authority made the case for how important buses will be to help people get around in the next 15-18 months…

And seizing on this moment…

Meanwhile, it’s still a big mystery what the MTA intends to do with the M14A/D. As previously reported, proposals to eliminate a handful of stops on Avenue A and Avenue D to accommodate express service have been met with opposition from residents and local elected officials.

In a Daily News article published yesterday, CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzger “accused the DOT and MTA of a lack of transparency.” As of the paper’s deadline, neither agency had informed her of a final plan.

Local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera has suggested an M14 SBS with supplemental local service similar to the M15.

As several EVG readers have noted, the MTA has already been installing SBS ticketing machines along the M14A/D routes with a goal of beginning service by June.


[Photo from April 11 on Avenue C by Shawn Chittle]


[14th Street at 1st Avenue]


[14th Street at Avenue B]

We spoke with several residents who expressed their annoyance that the SBS machines started arriving just two days after the MTA and DOT held a meeting at the 14th Street Y to gather community feedback on the proposed changes to the M14A and M14D bus routes. “I guess they had their minds made up already,” said one reader in an email.

For their part, the MTA has this to say about the route:

If you ride an M14 bus, you’ve likely experienced a longer than expected wait at your stop, a longer than expected trip once you’re on your bus, buses that arrive in bunches and off-schedule, or some combination of the three. During the busiest travel times, M14 A/D buses spend about 60% of their trips stopped at bus stops or stopped in traffic. We’ve got a plan to fix this and keep buses moving — we’re partnering with the New York City Department of Transportation to launch Select Bus Service on the M14 A/D.

Select Bus Service (SBS) is a package of improvements designed to target and correct the situations that slow buses down and make service unreliable. Citywide, customers tell us they are more satisfied with their SBS bus than their local or LTD (limited) bus. We’re committed to bringing these improvements to the M14 A/D and the 27,000 customers who use these buses by June 2019.

For further reading:

M14 Select Bus Service, Busway Needed at Start of L Train Reconstruction, Manhattan BP Says (amNY)

• City Drags Feet on Plan to Move Riders on 14th St. During L Train Slowdown (Daily News)

• MTA Says Buses Are The Best Bet on 14th St. During the L Slowdown — But Busway Remains In Flux (Streetsblog)

• Never Stop Stopping: Removing Bus Stops Isn’t Easy — In New York City or Anywhere Else (Streetsblog)

• As L Hell Begins, Some Aren’t On Board With the MTA’s Plan For Buses (Bedford + Bowery)





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