NYC’s 14th St. car ban could be delayed until next year after latest legal action
August 12, 2019
The legal battle over the city’s plan to restrict car traffic on 14th St. could drag on until next spring, according to the lawyer leading the lawsuit to block the new regulations.
State Appellate Division legal procedures will dictate the length of the delay, said Arthur Schwartz, who represents several community groups that sued to block the new driving rules.
“Normally I have six months to file a brief,” said Schwartz. “If they (the judges) don’t set an earlier schedule, I don’t have to file for six months, and the city gets another month. It could take eight months from August (to be resolved).”
Appeals court judges on Friday forced the city Department of Transportation to indefinitely halt the new driving rules while they decide the case.
The appellate judges’ stay came three days after Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Eileen Rakower green-lighted the plan, five weeks after the regulations were originally scheduled to take effect.
DOT spokesman Scott Gastel said the city will move quickly on the case, and has not discussed a settlement. The city is “confident that the Appellate Division court will recognize that petitioners have scant likelihood of success in overturning Judge Rakower’s sound decision,” Gastel said.
The new rules would require passenger cars on 14th St. between Third and Ninth avenues to take the first right turn unless they are heading to a parking garage or making a drop-off. Motorists who fail to turn right would be ticketed.
Schwartz also contended to The News that bus service is significantly faster on 14th St. because the crosstown M14 bus has been converted to select bus service, which requires riders to pay before they board.
“They’ve probably achieved 90% of what they wanted to achieve anyway,” he said.
Transit advocates who have been fighting for the 14th St. traffic restrictions said Schwartz’s lawsuit is an attack by privileged Manhattan residents against lower-income bus riders.
“The plan is to make our streets more efficient, more equitable and safer,” said Riders Alliance spokesman Danny Pearlstein. “These people are standing in the way because of how wealthy and powerful they are.”