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14th St. Car Ban Should Be Permanent, Not Just During L Train Shutdown: Pol

By Noah Hurowitz | May 13, 2016 3:46pm | Updated on May 15, 2016 7:29pm
 State Senator Brad Hoylman asked the MTA to look into closing 14th Street to car traffic during the shutdown of the L train.
State Senator Brad Hoylman asked the MTA to look into closing 14th Street to car traffic during the shutdown of the L train.
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UNION SQUARE — The city should shut down 14th Street to cars even after L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn is restored following reconstruction work, according to State Senator Brad Hoylman.

The senator, building on an earlier report by a think tank, asked the MTA to look into the possibility of making 14th Street a dedicated bus and bike route to help ease the crosstown commute for people who might be left stranded if Manhattan L train service is shut down completely between Eighth Avenue and Bedford Avenue.

“I’d really like to see the possibility that you consider closing 14th street to traffic,” Hoylman said at at a public meeting in Manhattan on Tuesday dedicated to the agency’s tunnel reconstruction plans.

The crowd responded with enthusiastic applause. Encouraged by the crowd’s response, Hoylman took the idea farther

“And maybe after this is built we’ll consider keeping 14th street closed to traffic.”

READ MORE: MTA Chair Loses Cool When Commuter Calls Full L Train Shutdown 'Outrageous'

Hoylman’s comments echoed an earlier report from the Regional Plan Association, a Manhattan think tank, which originally floated the idea as one strategy among many to deal with the hundreds of thousands of daily L train riders who will need a new way to get around.

The report, released in April, suggested restricting 14th Street between Irving Place and Sixth Avenue in both directions to buses, bikes, and pedestrians. Trucks would have to make deliveries to 14th Street overnight, or use loading zones on nearby avenues that would take the place of parking spaces, according to the report.

The rest of traffic could travel east of Irving Place and west of Sixth Avenue, but only one-way towards each river, according to the report.

The MTA has proposed two plans to complete reconstruction work in the Canarsie Tubes that were damaged by floodwaters during Hurricane Sandy. The first plan would eliminate service between Eighth Avenue and Bedford Avenue for 18 months, while the second would involve shutting down one tube at a time and running shuttle service, but would last for three years.

The agency aims to award the repair contract by the end of the year so that construction can begin by 2019, according to MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.