Yesterday’s L prepare shutdown city corridor in Williamsburg was a comparatively staid affair in comparison with final week’s within the West Village. Most individuals testified concerning the want for good 24/7 bus service over the Williamsburg Bridge and secure biking infrastructure throughout the subway outage. Nobody expressed outright opposition to DOT’s plans for transitways and bike lanes.
The bombshell got here from MTA Chief of Operations and Planning Peter Cafiero, who mentioned that the J/M/Z will max out at 24 trains per hour within the peak path over the Williamsburg Bridge. That’s solely three trains per hour greater than present peak service, and, as Aaron Gordon reported within the Village Voice, it highlights a critical hole between the variety of displaced L prepare riders and the subway system’s capability to soak up them.
If it wasn’t already clear that floor streets must do critical heavy lifting throughout the L shutdown, there’s now not any doubt.
And but, the one that can train essentially the most management over the streets, Mayor de Blasio, stays caught in a state of feckless apathy concerning the upcoming cataclysm.
The issue isn’t that the town lacks a plan. NYC DOT has mapped out transitways on Grand Road, Delancey Road, and 14th Road, in addition to good bikeways on comparable routes. The Williamsburg Bridge will probably be reserved for automobiles with three or extra occupants, and one lane in every path will probably be solely for buses and vans (among the time).
The issue is that the plan doesn’t match the size of the disruption. And that’s the place management from de Blasio is sorely missing.
As a substitute of inserting HOV restrictions on all 4 East River crossings, the town is simply planning for them on the Williamsburg Bridge. As a substitute of bus lanes and HOV guidelines in impact 24/7, the town says they’ll solely be in place throughout “peak hours” which have but to be outlined. As a substitute of a car-free busway on 14th Road extending east to Avenue A, which advocates say will probably be obligatory to take care of quick, dependable service, the town’s busway plan doesn’t go previous Third Avenue.
De Blasio seems to view this all with a way of clueless detachment, not as a calamity for tons of of hundreds of those that he has to avert.
Earlier this month, de Blasio mentioned his aim on 14th Road is to “decrease the disruption… to the utmost extent potential.” In that context, “minimizing disruption” means appeasing the West Village residents who’re selfishly making an attempt to cease DOT’s transit and bike enhancements on and round 14th Road. He characterised the decision for a 24/7 busway as transit advocates “preventing for his or her place.”
“We predict there’s clearly a distinction between rush hour and the opposite instances a day,” the mayor advised reporters.
That’s been the sample all alongside for de Blasio, who’s spent the two-and-half years since information of the shutdown leaked twiddling his thumbs.
Again in 2016, the mayor’s preliminary response was to criticize the MTA and speculate that the shutdown was not truly obligatory. He argued that working buses successfully was the only accountability of the MTA, and he promoted citywide ferry service as an answer, regardless that it might carry solely a small sliver of L prepare riders.
De Blasio’s political intuition is to dodge all accountability for transit issues. And on most subway issues, he’s proper — it’s Governor Cuomo’s MTA.
However the L prepare shutdown will create transportation issues that gained’t be confined to the subways, and it’s the mayor who decides the best way to apportion area on NYC’s streets. De Blasio can’t dodge this transit downside. If the town isn’t ready to maintain folks shifting with out the L prepare, New Yorkers will probably be proper accountable him for it.