Revisiting stories: the L Subway Shutdown in NYC and what to do
In the 2016 post, "RPA/Transit Riders Alliance proposal to respond to the L Subway shutdown includes a dedicated transitway on 14th Street in Manhattan" I recommended, based on the recommendations of the Regional Plan Association that to deal with commuters not able to use the L Subway during its maintenance shutdown to:
1. Make 14th Street in Manhattan a bus priority transitway, removing most automobile traffic, which is what RPA recommended
2. Using bi-articulated buses on a "temporary basis," because these large buses have capacity for up to 180 passengers. Although the RPA did not make this recommendation. Note that in the US such buses aren't allowed on public streets, although they seem to do just fine in other countries.
Based on this report from the Village Voice, "Are There Better L-Train Shutdown Solutions? City Didn’t Study Them," I would argue that NYC's failure to go to that length:
-- dedicated transit 24/7 instead of only some of time
-- and the use of the largest capacity buses possible
will come back to haunt them.
There are four major high profile sustainable mobility "experiments" potentially underway in the US, Canada, and London, which have the ability to shape the willingness and risk-taking abilities of other transit and transportation agencies to be innovative and daring in other settings:
1. The King Street streetcar prioritization in Toronto, Ontario ("King Street streetcar, Toronto (and Seattle's urban mobility planning)." Ridership has increased by 25%, on an investment of less than $2 million ("King St. pilot boosting streetcar ridership: TTC," Toronto Star)
2. The pedestrianization of Oxford Street in London, simultaneous with the addition of Crossrail service to the area and expected major increases in the number of daily visitors ("Oxford Street transformation to get underway by December 2018 as TfL and Westminster City Council launch consultation" and "Four changes that need to happen before Oxford Street can be pedestrianised," City A.M.; "London's Oxford Street bus routes cut by 40%," BBC; "Oxford Street stores call on Mayor Sadiq Khan to tone down traffic ban," Evening Standard)
3. Serious consideration of creating a congestion charge in New York City ("How much does it cost to unclog NYC's streets," Wired Magazine; "Congestion pricing plan for cabs, Uber, Lyft, outlined in NY Assembly budget proposal," <AM NY)
4. Dealing with the maintenance shutdown of the L Subway Line in NYC.
I am reasonably confident of the efforts in Toronto and London, but not New York City, especially because Mayor DeBlasio doesn't seem particularly motivated when it comes to transit or sustainable mobility matters, because the NY State Legislature isn't likely to support a congestion charge based on past actions and new reports say the legislature is still unfavorable ("Prospects dim for congestion tolls in New York City," AP), and Governor Cuomo is more interested in pushing a possible presidential candidacy and spiting Mayor DeBlasio.