Paul Steely White’s effort to defend his indefensible proposal for the deceptively named “PeopleWay” on 14th Street, published in the April issue of WestView, ignores the desires and needs of the large majority of people who would be most directly affected.
First, it is incredibly short-sighted to think that “buses, biking and walking” would provide sufficient means of transportation for the mass of people commuting across 14th Street to get to work, schools, hospitals, professional appointments, shopping, and so on. A study by the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation found that the Union Square subway station ridership totaled over 35 million in 2015, which doesn’t even include the ridership of the other 14th Street stations.
The self-serving polls cited by White are hardly representative of the millions of people who would be affected by his proposed changes. Moreover, his proposal totally ignores the needs of the elderly and the disabled, who often must rely on non-public forms of transportation.
Second, the argument that the local block associations’ opposition is based on a lack of information patronizes those residents who know their streets—and 14th Street—far better than the group of ideologues who are seeking to take advantage of the painful 15-month interruption of L Train service to advance their agenda. We on Washington Place have had experience with a street closure, and other community organizations have also experienced the effects of closures. The soothing and reassuring words about the impact of such closures on the surrounding streets certainly does not match our experience.
White’s proposals for deliveries on one of the City’s premier commercial streets range from the impractical to the laughable. Does he really believe that a system incorporating delivery by hand trucks can supply the massive number of goods that are received by the stores on 14th Street? We are living in the 21st century, not the 19th.
These are some of the reasons that led the Washington Place Block Association to join with other area block and community associations in strongly opposing this proposal.
President, Washington Place Block Association