Lawsuit fi led on lost M14 stops
The attorney responsible for the,
at least, temporary stalling of
the 14th St. busway plan, Arthur
Schwartz, has also fi led a lawsuit to restore
bus stops removed from the M14
The lawsuit, which is being brought
by the 504 Democratic Club and Disabled
in Action, argues that the removal
of the 12 stops causes an excessive
burden for residents with disabilities.
During a press conference on Wed.,
Aug. 14, at the corner of 14th St. and
Fifth Ave., near a former M14 bus stop,
Schwartz called the stops “critical” and
added that “under the city’s Human
Rights Law,” the city should accommodate
the needs of people with disabilities.
“In their request for speed, the M.T.A.
and New York City Transit, in its usual
manner, has once again forgotten about
the needs of people with disabilities
and the elderly,” Schwartz said.
Michael Schweinsburg, the president
of the 504 Democratic Club — a political
club whose members are disabled
— called the plan a “disaster” for people
with with disabilities, seniors and
Earlier this year, the Metropolitan
Chelsea activist Paul Groncki was one of the neighborhood leaders
who spoke in support of restoring the lost M14 bus stops at the lawsuit’s
announcement last week.
Transportation Authority announced
its plan to remove 14 stops on the
M14A and D bus routes and switch
all the buses to Select Bus Service, in
order to boost the route’s notoriously
slow speed. According to an M.T.A.
study, the M14A/D is the city’s secondslowest
bus route and the second most
heavily used, with an average of 27,000
PHOTO BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH
But after outcry from residents with
disabilities and the elderly, two stops, at
Grand St. and Pitt St., were restored.
The M.T.A is standing its ground on
the bus-stop removals, arguing that the
S.B.S system helps all riders.
“We will defend against this lawsuit
vigorously on behalf of bus riders, who
deserve a modern and reliable service
that moves people effi ciently,” said Tim
Minton, M.T.A. communications director.
“Rider advocates observe that
it can be faster to walk than take the
bus — we’re fi xing that. The bus system
is fully accessible and far better for
the environment than driving in private
cars and taxis.”
According to an M.T.A. spokesperson,
the city’s bus stops are, on average,
750 feet apart, a shorter distance than
in most other cities, with nearly half being
closer together than 750 feet.
But many of the press conference’s
attendees stated that the distance between
the bus stops is too great, whether
for those on foot or in wheelchairs.
Schwartz is also currently representing
Village and Chelsea block associations
in a separate lawsuit calling
for the 14th St. busway project to be
Last Fri., Aug 9, the Village attorney
fi led an appeal that successfully stalled
the busway. Under the busway, only
buses, three-axle trucks and emergency
vehicles would be allowed to use 14th
St. between Third and Ninth Aves. as
a through street between 6 a.m. and 10
p.m. Opponents fear that closing the
street to cars, vans and small trucks
would force vehicles onto neighborhood
side streets, causing congestion, noise,
air pollution and vibrations from excessive
traffi c, among other problems.
Gardens rally nixed after hopeful delay
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
Local community gardeners
breathed a sigh of relief Saturday
afternoon after learning a looming
deadline for a relicensing agreement
for the city’s GreenThumb gardens had
Gardeners had been set to rally on
City Hall’s steps Monday at 10 a.m. But
in an e-mail on Friday, Bill LoSasso,
the director of the city’s GreenThumb
program, notifi ed garden leaders that
the signing deadline had been pushed
back a month.
The relicensing agreement involves
GreenThumb gardens operating on city
Parks Department property.
Gardeners had been alarmed at new
regulations proposed by GreenThumb,
fearing it could mean the green oases
would, at a minimum, lose their community
spirit or, in a worst-case scenario,
potentially be lost to development.
The fear was that GreenThumb would
be moving from basically a support
system for the gardens into more of an
One proposed update to the Gardeners’
Handbook, for example, on
“garden abandonment,” notes that a
garden’s licensing agreement could be
Barbara Cahn showing off the compost hopper for the LaGuardia Corner
Gardens’ clippings and other organic matter.
revoked if the space is not maintained,
if correspondence is not answered, or
if required public hours are not kept
and required events held. Another
proposed new rule would require that
GreenThumb be notifi ed in advance of
any large event that a garden plans to
On Saturday afternoon, Charles Krezell,
the founder and president of Loisaida
United Neighborhood Gardens
FILE PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
a.k.a. LUNGS, announced the rally’s
cancellation on the LUNGS Facebook
“We are very happy that GreenThumb
has extended the license agreement
deadline to Sept. 20,” Krezell wrote.
“We hope to continue negotiating in
good faith. We all love our gardens
and want to continue to have a good
relationship with GreenThumb and the
Parks Department. …
“We are very grateful for the vigorous
support by our community gardeners.
We continue to recognize that
our strength is in unity; and our goal is
to continue to help New York grow.”
Elizabeth Ruf Maldonado, a member
of LUNGS and of the East Vilage’s De
Colores Garden, said there has been a
tangible fear among the gardening community
about the proposed changes.
“I feel like the new restrictions
would have limited gardens’ ability to
be autonomous and keep their community
character and identity,” she said.
“The restrictions would have been prohibitive
and would not have been in the
original spirit of the gardens. It sounded
like it was a slippery slope toward
losing control” of the green spaces,
Pamela Pier is the owner of Dinosaur
Hill toy store in the East Village and a
member of Green Oasis/Gilbert’s Garden.
On Friday, a day before Krezell’s
announcement that Monday’s rally had
been nixed, she was feeling anxious
about the threatened rule changes.
But in an e-mail after getting word of
the relicensing agreement’s postponement,
Pier said, “What a relief that
Green Thumb is — hopefully — going
to work with the gardens on this.”
Schneps Media TVG August 22, 2019 3