NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Commuter alert: The 14th Street busway launches today in Manhattan.
Passenger cars are no longer allowed to drive straight across the street, because the route is reserved for buses and trucks.
The changes took effect at 6 a.m.
Web Extra: DOT Commissioner Discusses 14th Street Busway
Some businesses in the area, like Crossroads Wine & Spirits, fear the 18-month pilot program will drive away customers.
"It affects the businesses because we don't have parking for our customers," Ray Raddy told CBS2. "It affects the businesses, and they say 18 months, but I don't think it will be completed in 18 months."
Only buses and trucks will be able to drive straight across the street. For everyone else, no through traffic is allowed from Third to Ninth avenues from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, including weekends. Plus, no left turns at any time.
14th Street will have one eastbound lane and one westbound lane for buses and trucks, then an outer lane on each side for commercial loading and unloading along with passengers pick-ups an drop-offs.
"Your taxis, your Ubers, you need to drop someone off, deliveries - those can all still happen on 14th Street. Likewise - because one concern we heard from side streets was will trucks divert – we're also going to allow trucks to go through," said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
The goal is to speed up service on the M-14 bus, which currently travels at five miles per hour. The city estimates speeds will increase about 25%, saving riders five minutes per trip.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: DOT FAQ On 14th Street Changes
"I think it's a good idea," bus rider Paula Feldman told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis.
"As a bus commuter, I'm fine with it. As a person who lives in New York City and has a car, it's a pain in the neck," commuter Barbara Ross said.
"I think it's worth doing it in the short term," said commuter Ethan Mass.
However, some ride-share and cab drivers DeAngelis spoke with said the changes make it difficult to get their passengers where they need to go.
There will be police and cameras to enforce the new rules. If you're caught, there's a 60-day grace period, then fines start at $50.
The DOT commissioner said it will be monitoring all of this and making changes throughout the next 18 months as necessary.
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