UPDATE: Judges Allow City to Start the 14th Street Busway; Mayor Vows to Start Next Week

An appeal slowed down the M14 Busway, but a ruling on Friday may jumpstart it. Photo: Google Maps
An appeal slowed down the M14 Busway, but a ruling on Friday may jumpstart it. Photo: Google Maps

A panel of appeals judges has paved the way for the city to implement its plans for a car-free “busway” along 14th Street — and Mayor de Blasio says he won’t wait to improve the lives of bus riders.

In a 3-2 ruling handed down on Friday, the Appellate Division, First Department overturned an earlier order blocking the busway until a full hearing on Chelsea and West Village residents’ lawsuit against the city.

“The interim relief granted by an order of a justice of this court, dated Aug. 9, 2019, is hereby vacated,” the three-judge majority wrote.

Dissenting judges did not rule on the merits, but merely said they would prefer to keep the busway from being implemented while the larger case continues.

Hours after Streetsblog posted the first version of this story, Mayor de Blasio tweet that the busway will roll out next week. The Department of Transportation later confirmed the busway would start on Thursday. The agency’s web page provided all the details.

The ruling certainly does not end the lengthy saga of the city’s intention to create a 14th Street busway, which was unveiled last year as a response to the MTA’s plans to fully shutter the L subway line between Eighth Avenue in Manhattan and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn to make much-needed repairs to the tunnel. The MTA eventually abandoned the full-shutdown plan, but the city decided it would keep the busway, which would bar most cars along the roadway between Third and Ninth avenues (pickups and drop-offs would still be allowed).

A coalition of West Village and Chelsea landowners sued and won a restraining order barring the city from beginning the work.

On Friday, activists hailed the ruling.

“New Yorkers who ride the M14 are about to see their bus line transformed from one of the city’s slowest, into one of the fastest, practically overnight,” Transportation Alternatives’ Director of Advocacy Tom DeVito said in a statement. “This should bring an end to the legal shenanigans that have been holding up these improvements for months on end.”

This is a breaking story. Check back later for updates. Read the decision here or below:

Busway Ruling by Gersh Kuntzman on Scribd