I read an article by Paul Steely White in the January 2017 issue of WestView about 14th Street, which promoted closing the street to private vehicles to form a “PeopleWay.” While I certainly appreciate Mr. White’s opinion, I respectfully disagree.
While making 14th Street a “PeopleWay” might be pleasant, and help some displaced by the work on the L subway line, it certainly won’t deter anyone already driving into and around the City from continuing to drive; there won’t be fewer private vehicles needing the roads. It will also fail to deter the use of taxis, limos, and Uber and Lyft-type cars, that will also require roads.
I understand that there are enormous problems created by closing the L line, but solving one problem by creating another does not seem to be the solution. Closing 14th Street, in my opinion, will only serve to move that traffic, loading up the smaller, narrower, and more residential streets around it. It will destroy the quality of life in many East, West, and Greenwich Village neighborhoods and create horrible traffic jams on streets forced to absorb a volume of traffic for which they were never intended. In areas near 14th Street, like 7th Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets, that house hospitals and emergency rooms, you have the additional problem of getting emergency vehicles through the inevitable gridlock on surrounding avenues and smaller streets.
I do not believe that you will be fixing a problem, but instead moving it and creating a more complex one in its place. Wider, two-way streets were carved into the City for a reason and have always helped move cars across town with more ease and less impact on smaller one-way streets. They still serve that purpose and help protect communities surrounding the wider cross streets.
—Debra Keller, West Village Resident