NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The city may be praising faster commute times on it’s first major busway along 14th Street, but many small businesses there are complaining about the changes.
They say it’s killing their sales, CBSN New York’s Mary Calvi reported.
Business just isn’t the same as it used to be for Jason Farahan. The jeweler said sales at his 14th Street store are declining rapidly.
“Maybe 40 percent. It has just killed us,” Farahan said.
He said what caused this is due to the changes the city made to most of the street in October, turning it into a busway. It restricts local traffic, and eliminates street parking for potential customers.
“I used to get customers come in and out parked in front of the store and they can’t do that anymore. They have to park a few blocks away,” Farahan said. “I had a customer the other day, he told me that it took him 40 minutes to look for a parking spot.”
The new rules only allow buses, trucks, emergency vehicles, and drop-offs, so most stores have to rely solely on foot traffic. Recently, the city touted a surge in ridership and faster crosstown commute times because of the changes, saying some routes are nearly 10 minutes faster.
“I actually took it one way from the East Side all the way to Chelsea Market and it took me five minutes and we flew across town,” Chelsea resident Ron Carlivati said.
And while some pizza shops and a vintage store are seeing an increase in sales, most specialty store owners and managers CBS2 spoke to say this is bad for business. They are asking the city to re-think the plan, stressing just because they’re located in Manhattan, it doesn’t mean customers don’t drive to shop at their stores.
“We just have a had a lot more people come in more unhappy,” said Ronit Weisbaum, store manager at Cohen’s Fashion Optical.
The Department of Transportation and the Union Square Partnership now plan on looking into the matter. A representative told CBS2, “The agency will be gathering data and feedback so we can learn as much as possible.”
The busway spans from Third to Ninth avenues. The rules are in effect daily from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.