NYC DOT and MTA NYC Transit Continue Successful Rollout of 14th Street Transit Priority with New Bus Boarding Platforms and Sidewalk Widening

New Bus Boarding Platforms on 14th Street
New Bus Boarding Platforms on 14th Street

To further improve bus speeds and bus customer experience on 14th Street, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) announced the next phase of the 14th Street Transit Priority pilot with the installation of new bus boarding platforms at seven M14 A/D Select Bus Service stops. Bus boarding platforms provide a dedicated space for customers to board the buses, making access easier and safer from the sidewalk to the bus. Construction will begin Nov. 7 and is estimated to be completed this winter.

NYC DOT also announced the successful transformation of 14th Street just south of Union Square into permanent pedestrian space this week ahead of the Holiday Market to enhance pedestrian safety.

“The combination of SBS with NYC DOT’s Transit & Truck Priority put our customers and buses first, and these new bus boarding platforms further enhances that,” said MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford. “We’re excited to work with NYC DOT to bring their bus design best practices to M14 SBS customers as part of our plan for the route and our overall commitment to bus riders in the Fast Forward plan.”

“DOT has installed bus boarding platforms, where bus riders have found that a wider sidewalk makes hopping on a bus even faster and more convenient,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Especially along 14th Street, where our busway has helped spur dramatic increases in M14 ridership, this should be another step that should help our month-old pilot work even better. Meanwhile, just south of Union Square, we are also finishing work that will allow both the M14 and the enormous Holiday Market to function even more safely. Thanks as always to our partners at New York City Transit, as well as to Con Edison, with whom we are working closely to ensure that these new platforms do not interfere with their critical utility work along the street.”

The dedicated space also provides more waiting and boarding space for bus customers, freeing up more sidewalk space for pedestrians. They also benefit customers by streamlining bus operations by eliminating the need for the bus to pull in and out of a stop at the curb. This operational efficiency can speed up buses — on average, buses can take 20 seconds to more than 1 minute during peak hours to re-enter the bus lane from a stop.

The 14th Street bus boarding platforms, which are examples of an international best practice in bus route design, are part of NYC DOT’s 14th Street Truck & Transit Priority (TTP). NYC DOT designs, owns and operates them, with several successful installations throughout the city, including on the M23 SBS, M15 SBS, and routes along Seventh Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. MTA NYC Transit will install the bus boarding platforms on 14th Street, and NYC DOT will inspect and maintain them.

Construction will take approximately six days at each bus stop with crews working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If a platform installation is completed ahead of schedule at each stop, the contractor will start work on the next stop on the schedule. Crews will work on no more than two bus stops at a time, and never consecutive two bus stops at the same time. In the next week, bus stop construction will begin at the westbound M14 SBS stop at Seventh Avenue, with the westbound stop at Fifth Avenue planned next. Other platforms will be constructed along the route over the next several months.

Customers are advised to use the next closest stop for M14 A/D SBS service during construction. Signs will be posted at each bus stop, and digital screens and announcements on buses will provide guidance and directions during the construction. A webpage will also be updated here as the construction schedule progresses: https://new.mta.info/M14SBS/service-changes

NYC DOT also announced that work will be completed this week on the painted pedestrian space in the area just south of Union Square, expanding pedestrian space in a former westbound traffic lane. Later this month, the Union Square Holiday Market opens in the adjacent space, creating high pedestrian volumes in the area, which also includes a NYC Transit subway entrance. New bollards and security barriers are expected to be fully in place this week.

With the SBS treatments implemented in July 2019, augmented by the 14th Street Transit Priority lanes in October 2019, M14 A/D SBS ridership has increased and bus travel times have decreased in the portions of 14th Street with the priority lanes in effect. As previously announced, on weekends, ridership is up 37 percent year over year September 2018-2019. On weekdays since the TTP was implemented, weekday ridership has increased by 17 percent.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said: “I applaud the NYC DOT and MTA NYC Transit for their commitment to enhancing the bus customer experience on 14th Street. The investment in new bus boarding platforms and pedestrian spaces will make travelling by bus safer and more convenient for everyone, and I look forward to seeing continued improvements for commuters and pedestrians along 14th Street.”

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said: “The initial success of the 14th Street Transit Truck Priority has been one of the most exciting transit developments in the city in the last few years, and these new bus boarders should continue to improve the experience. These platforms will make waiting for and boarding the bus easier and safer in addition to creating more badly needed space for pedestrians. I look forward to their debut on 14th and hopefully to continued good news and positive data about the busway.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer said: “The reviews are in, and the 14th Street busway has been a huge success. Ridership is up, travel times are down, and the 14th Street area is more pleasant and lively for all who traverse it. Even with all this success, I am encouraged to see the Department of Transportation working to continue to improve on this bold idea. Boarding platforms will help to further improve service and increase pedestrian space in the area and I welcome their addition.”

Council Member Keith Powers said: “The 14th Street busway pilot has been a runaway success. Since 2017, I have advocated for a true People’s Way and pushed for more along the corridor following the launch, including investments in pedestrian space and calls for additional features to truly enhance the thoroughfare. I am thankful to DOT for heeding these requests and investing in the potential of 14th Street.”