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14th Street will be mostly closed to cars during the L train shutdown

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason

The looming L train shutdown, which has been stalking the nightmares of north Brooklyn commuters like a public transit Masque of the Red Death, has claimed another scalp: Car traffic on 14th Street. Luckily, the loss of automobiles in Manhattan is a little hard to mourn. 

The Daily News reports that the city has decided to turn the busy thoroughfare, currently served by five stops along the L line, into a busway for 17 hours a day. The street will be mainly bus-only from 5am until 10pm, seven days a week, as the MTA completes its 15 months of rehabilitation work on L line’s Canarsie Tunnel.

The ban won’t be in effect on the entirety of the street. The limited access will apply to eastbound lanes on 14th Street from Ninth to Third Avenue and westbound lanes from from Third to Eighth Avenues. The Department of Transportation has said that it will allow car pick-up and drop-off service on the street during those times. (Though they don’t really explain how they’re going to enforce that.) 

Other L-pocalypse survival tactics that will be implemented during the shutdown include carpool restrictions on the Williamsburg Bridge during the same period, requiring three or more passengers in a car to cross. (That will be partially to open up traffic to the roughly 70 buses per hour that are set to start shuffling commuters across the bridge.) Two separate one-way bike lanes will also run in Manhattan along 12th and 13th Streets.

A coalition of neighborhood groups along 14th Street are currently suing the MTA noting that the "fabric of their neighborhood" will be disrupted by the increase in buses, street closures and limited traffic. The public transit advocacy group Riders Alliance, though initially pushing for a 24/7 busway along the Manhattan street, has signaled that they’re happy with the newly announced plan.

Roughly 225,000 daily commuters currently rely on the L train to get across the East River while 50,000 people use it solely to get across town within Manhattan.

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