M14 Express Bus Will Be Pokey For a Little Bit Longer

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Select Bus Service has been operating on Grand Street for a few weeks, and we thought it would be running a bit faster starting today. But it is not to be.

On Friday, a state appeals court judge blocked the city from debuting the 14th Street busway, which had already been delayed once due to a lawsuit from neighbors in Chelsea, the West Village and Flatiron. The 18-month pilot program to restrict most cars on 14th Street is intended to put the “express” in the new express bus service.

In response to the latest legal setback, Danny Pearlstein of Rider’s Alliance, said:

The 14th Street NIMBYs behind this lawsuit fashion themselves latter-day Jane Jacobs. But they are actually belated Robert Moses, promoting private cars, driving, choking pollution, and debilitating congestion to the exclusion of public transit and transit riders. Just like last year, this week’s lawsuit to stop 14th Street bus lanes would deny riders better service and obstruct efforts to cut carbon emissions.  This lawsuit from self-styled progressives might well have been filed by the Koch brothers, who also run public campaigns against transit. Better transit is essential for working people who suffer long commutes from affordable neighborhoods around the city. The plaintiffs are making phony environmental arguments that actually ask tens of thousands of New Yorkers to waste more time in transit.
The city plans to appeal. On Twitter, Mayor de Blasio said, “Unbelievable. This surprise eleventh-hour decision, forced by a few, means that come Monday, thousands of New Yorkers won’t get the faster and more reliable buses on 14th St. they were expecting. We’ll fight to get this done for bus riders.”

Arthur Schwartz, the attorney behind the lawsuit, defended his campaign against the busway, “For those who think that this is just selfish neighbors, we live here, we breathe the air, our buildings rattle and vibrate and we have to deal with horns and honking.”

The M14 Select Bus runs from 8th Avenue, across 14th Street, then to Avenue A and Essex Street before turning and heading East on Grand Street.