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NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson calls for more bus-only streets in NYC

Posted at 1:32 PM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 13:32:42-04

MANHATTAN — Could more car restrictions be coming to New York City streets?

Parts of 14th Street in Manhattan are already virtually car-free for much of the day, and now City Council Speaker Corey Johnson is toying with the idea of expanding that to several other streets.

During an interview with WNYC, Johnson tossed the idea of closing 42nd and 34th streets to car traffic and focus more on public transportation.

"People are calling it the 'miracle on 14th street'," Johnson said about the change in traffic after the city implemented the "car ban" on the busy street. "When was the last time you heard anyone rave about getting on a bus and moving across town quickly?"

Under the new "busway" pilot program, no passenger cars will be allowed on 14th Street, between Third and Ninth avenues, seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Crosstown buses are traveling about 30% faster on 14th Street — they were once notoriously the slowest buses, according to the MTA.

Since closing off 14th street to car traffic, ridership has increased 17% on workweeks and about 30% on weekends.

Not everyone is on board with the idea of closing off two of Manhattan's busiest streets though. Commuters believe bus-only streets will cause more congestion.

"It's going to be a nightmare," one commuter said.