Group calls for bike path, car ban along 14th Street during L train shutdown

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UNION SQUARE, Manhattan — With the huge L train renovation project looming, ideas are being discussed to alleviate the pain for commuters.

An interesting proposal is being discussed for the stretch of 14th Street in Manhattan that the L line runs along.

A think tank is suggesting a ban on cars between 14th Street and Irving Place and 14th Street and Sixth Avenue. The area would be restricted for bikes, buses and pedestrians only.

The L train is in dire need of repair. Right now, there are two options on the table.

The first plan calls for the closing of both tracks for 18 months. This would mean no L train from 8th Ave in Manhattan to Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn.

The second plan would close one track, then the other while running a shuttle between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The wait time for the shuttle would be at least 15 minutes and this option would take three years to complete.

But riders are crying foul.

"You have to reroute all the way around that causes extra time make u late for work for church I don't feel it's right," said Bruce Livermore of Brooklyn.

Another woman said she would have to take a cab.

Roughly 400,000 riders use the L train in Brooklyn and Manhattan every day. About 50,000 use the Manhattan section which would be completely closed under Plan 1.

City officials are looking for alternatives.

One idea is increasing city buses along the busy stretch of 14th Street to make up for the L train shutdown.

As part of the L train shutdown, a report by think tank group Regional Plan Association is asking city officials to consider shutting down 14th Street between Irving Place and Sixth Avenue to cars.

Trucks would have to deliver in this area overnight.

Outside the proposed ban zone, traffic on 14th Street would only be allowed in one direction.

From Irving Place and 14th Street, you would only be able to head east and from Sixth Avenue and 14th Street, you would only be able to go west.

Bicyclists PIX11 spoke to were in favor of adding a path.

"Cars are one of my biggest problems they get so intense get road rage. Taking off some cars will be some help for bikers," said biker Manosha Oya.

But for a business that exists on vehicle traffic, it's not such a good idea.

"It's gonna affect my customers," said Luis Villacres, manager for Imperial Parking Systems.

His garage is on 14th Street between Fifth Avenue and University Place.

Under a ban, cars would not be allowed into the street where the entrance to his garage is.

He also says this is the first he's hearing of the proposal. He doesn't know how he and his boss will survive.

"If the street closes, he is probably gonna close the garage."

PIX11 reached out to the Department of Transportation about a potential car ban on 14th Street.

A DOT spokesperson responded, saying "DOT looks forward to working closely with the MTA regarding all options."

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