SPECIAL SECTION: 34th Street Transitway

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

By: Marisa Bulzone, Chair, Transportation Committee

MHNA hosted a 34th Street Transit Town Hall at The Armenian Evangelical Church located on September 23rd. Click here to read coverage of the meeting.

Despite numerous meetings and promises that residential concerns will be considered, the Department of Transportation plans for the 34th Street Transitway seem to be proceeding apace. Despite the fact that no impact studies have even begun, the project has, as of early July, been awarded an $18 million federal grant.

As it now stands, the Transitway would create a two-lane, bi-directional bus lane aligned against one curb of 34th street. The remainder of the street would be used for one-way traffic, running outbound from midtown: westbound from Sixth Avenue, and eastbound from Fifth Avenue. Plans for the closing of 34th Street to all but bus traffic between Fifth and Sixth Avenues to allow for the creation of a pedestrian mall are, at this writing, under continued discussion.

The impact of the Transitway on our neighborhood is clear: Access to residential buildings and businesses on one side of 34th Street will be severely restricted and the overflow of traffic onto the side streets north and south of 34th Street will make our abysmal traffic situation even worse. This plan will result in 35th, 36th, 37th, and 38th Streets being the only tunnel-to-tunnel through streets

What We're Doing

MHNA Trustees have been in discussion with DOT planners for many months now, expressing our disapproval. We have--and continue to--express our opinion to our neighborhood elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels. We are in constant communication with the affected Community Boards as well.

MHNA knows that there are many less-impactful ways for the DOT to improve bus service on 34th Street; ways that do not include radically and recklessly changing traffic patterns on an already stressed local streets.

Our Petition Drive

Knowing that numbers speak louder than words, MHNA has launched a petition drive stating our opposition to the current plans for the 34th Street Transitway.

MHNA is working with neighborhood co-op and condo boards and management companies to place petitions against the proposal in lobbies and to inform residents of public forums.

If you would like to post a petition in your building, please email MHNA at info@murrayhillnyc.org or call 212-886-5867.

Working with local and elected representatives: We are working closely with Community Boards 4, 5, and 6 to ensure that community concerns are addressed. CB6 has already adopted a resolution supporting our insistence on a detailed Environmental Impact Study and we expect CB 4 (which represents the west side) to follow suit. CB 5 has thus far taken a neutral position on the plan.

Watch our website (www.murrayhill.org) for updates on Community Board meetings and schedules agendas. Strength in numbers at these meetings matter.

We have a newly established sub-committee of 34th Street residents (both east and west) and with them we are meeting with elected officials indvidually to voice community concerns.

Join us! Call, email, or send a letter to our elected representatives to let them know you oppose this plan. Refer to the list of elected officials in this section for addresses.

Community Outreach Committee

MHNA has three representatives on the Community Outreach Committee established by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s office. At each meeting, we continue to press our community’s concerns.

MHNA is holding a Transportation Town Hall on September 23rd, inviting all elected officials and representatives of DOT to address community concerns in a public forum that is controlled by residents and business owners--not the DOT. If you would like to speak at this meeting, watch your mail for a form to pre-register. But most importantly, come to the meeting--and bring your neighbors.

Sign a petition, contact our elected officials, and attend public meetings. Talk up the issue and let friends and neighbors know what’s going on. The fight to stop the Transitway is in our hands.

The DOT Plan

The plans under consideration for the so-called 34th Street Transitway would create a two lane, bi-directional bus lane aligned against one curb of the street. The remainder of the street would be used for one-way traffic, running outbound from midtown: westbound from Sixth Avenue, and eastbound from Fifth Avenue. Between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, the only buses would be allowed as through traffic, with the remainder of the space used for new pedestrian spaces. Loading and parking activity would be available along at least one side of each block at all times.

For complete information on the plan, click on the link below under related sites.


Community Board 8 Resolution on 34th Street Transitway
Download Petition in Opposition to 34th Street Changes
Letter from Christine Quinn to DOT
Letter from Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney to DOT
Letter from Council Member Daniel Garodnick to DOT
Letter from Scott Stringer to DOT
NYC DOT Responds to Murray Hill Questions
Proposed Traffic Plan for Murray Hill


Contact Elected Officials
Department of Transportations Plan for 34th Street
Sign Online Petition
Stop the 34th Street Transitway

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