On 14th Street, there are new rules of the road: the city launching its pilot program of banning cars to boost the speed of the slowest bus in the city the M14.
The resulting drop in traffic is striking, according to people living in the area.
“It's so empty, it's nice,” said one person.
Most bus riders definitely seeing a difference.
“Before this new system, it was a mess. So I think they're doing a good thing,” said one bus rider.
The new traffic rules limit 14th Street between Ninth and Third Avenues to buses and trucks, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.
Cars are allowed only to make pick-ups or drop offs, but then they must make the next available right turn.
Traffic agents were out in force on Day one to make sure drivers comply, but for now no tickets will be issued for 60 days to give drivers time to adjust.
The big fear heading into this grand experiment: drivers banished from 14th Street would adjust by using other crosstown streets instead of causing mammoth traffic jams.
But in the opening hours of the car ban, traffic on those side streets was busy, but mostly moving.
Attorney Arthur Schwartz, a Chelsea resident who sued the city to stop the busway plan, called it "overkill."
The lawsuit from a coalition of Chelsea neighborhood groups is pending, with arguments expected to pick back up this January, but in the meantime, the city has the green light on its experiment for 14th street, for at least 18 months.