TransAlt protests outside 14th St. busway foe’s home

TransAlt's Tom DeVito leading the crowd of about 50 protesters in chanting outside of attorney Arthur Schwartz's home. (Photo by Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech)

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | After hearing shouts, Arthur Schwartz stepped out of his W. 12th St. brownstone and began offering pastries to a crowd of roughly 50 protesters that had gathered around his stoop.

Arthur Schwartz offers pastries to protesters outside of his home. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)
(Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

The protesters, most of whom were from Transportation Alternatives, called on the West Village attorney to “drop the suit” that, last Friday, resulted in an Appellate Division court issuing a stay that blocked the start of the 14th St. busway.

Tom DeVito, director of advocacy for Transportation Alternatives, left,  speaks to the press about what he called Arthur Schwartz’s “frivolous lawsuit” on behalf of Village and Chelsea block associations. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech).

The busway is the city Department of Transportation’s proposed 18-month pilot program, in which only buses, three-axle trucks and emergency vehicles could use the major crosstown street as through traffic between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The plan is intended to mitigate any negative travel impacts caused by the L-train “slowdown” due to subway-tunnel repair work and, in general, to speed up straphangers’ commutes.

TransAlt’s Tom DeVito leading the crowd of about 50 protesters in chanting outside of attorney Arthur Schwartz’s home. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

Schwartz represents a broad swath of Chelsea and Village block associations and condo boards that fear that closing 14th St. to cars, vans and small trucks would force the vehicles onto neighborhood side streets, causing congestion, noise and air pollution, and vibrations from excessive traffic, among other problems.

Schwartz referred to the protest as “thuggery” that had nothing to do with honest political discourse

Tom DeVito, director of advocacy for Transportation Alternatives, speaking shortly before the protest ended, said the busway advocates will keep up the pressure.

“We will keep on fighting and not stop,” he vowed.

A protesting “millionaire” sported a top hat and moustache in a dig at Arthur Schwartz, who is a successful attorney representing municipal unions, such as the city’s Transport Workers Union. The Village activist also recently cashed in on a Village brownstone he bought for cheap decades ago. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)
A police detail assigned to the protest made sure things stayed under control. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

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