City's claims that bike lanes help traffic tested on 8th Avenue

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Jim Hoffer has the second part of his investigation (WABC)

After New York City's Department of Transportation claimed that bike lanes reduce traffic, we showed you how that claim was false, at least on Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side.

Tuesday, we applied the test to 8th Avenue. 11 blocks, to be exact, where the city says traffic is moving faster thanks to bike lanes.

"Test drive number #3, DOT says 11 blocks we can do this in 3 minutes and 10 seconds," we said as the day began.

That's the average time DOT says it should take to drive from West 23rd Street on 8th Avenue to 34th Street during the peak evening rush hour of 4 to 7 PM.

"We still have 4 more blocks to go and a wall of traffic in front of us", we said as our test run continued.

Seven times over two days, we drove the 11 blocks to see if we could duplicate the DOT's claims made in this newly released bike lane report.

In it, the city says new bike lanes and turn lanes have improved traffic flow by 14 percent during the evening rush hour.

According to the report, motorists can now drive the 8th Avenue stretch in 3 minutes and 10 seconds which we did only once. The other six test runs puts us in the thick of serious gridlock.

"5 minutes, 38 seconds, It's not even close to time DOT says. Makes you wonder when they did sampling? On a holiday?," we said.

On average, it took us seven minutes and 9 seconds to go the 11 blocks that's more than double the DOT time. The discrepancy similar to our findings during test runs on Columbus Avenue where on average, our trips took nearly twice as long as DOT claims it should.

"It's not my experience. There's frequent gridlock here. If there's a truck making a delivery on either side of the Avenue, you're sometimes down to one or two moving lanes," said Andrew Albert of Community Board 7.

In a statement from DOT, a spokesman says that "Our study found that on corridors with protected bike lanes, traffic flow was maintained or improved on average. On any given day, conditions are always changing and traffic flow can vary as a result."

But the huge difference between DOT's average trip times and our times have raised has some skepticism about claims the city is making concerning bike lanes and reduced traffic delays.

"We'd love to know where the statistics, how they were born and where they came from," Albert said.

The DOT says they used professional, independent traffic data collectors to conduct their sampling runs.

The city says left turn pockets have been key to the improved traffic flow on corridors with bike lanes.

Related Topics:
trafficinvestigatorstrafficbike lanesMidtownNew York City
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