DOT chief says "we need to re-evaluate" traffic patterns after bike lane investigation

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Jim Hoffer and the investigative team have the details on a bike lane report with numbers that don't add up. (WABC)

There's new information on an Eyewitness News Investigators exclusive.

Days after an Eyewitness News investigation, the DOT Commissioner says they need to go back and reevaluate traffic patterns.

This admission comes after Jim Hoffer's investigation, testing the city's claims that bike lanes reduce traffic.

"And you weren't happy with Jim's report?" Eyewitness News anchor Diana Williams asked.

The Commissioner of the City's Transportation Department came on "Up Close with Diana Williams" public affairs show to respond to an Eyewitness News investigation that challenged her own report on bike lanes. The study claimed that traffic delays have dropped as much as 35% on Columbus Avenue since bike lanes and 14% on 8th Avenue. Eyewitness News spent three days running our own tests and came up with average run times double those reported in the DOT study. The Commissioner conceded our investigation may have uncovered a flaw in their findings.

"I was not happy when I saw the footage and I turned to my team and said, 'Look we need to go out and take another look,'" said Polly Trottenberg, NYC DOT Commissioner.

The Commissioner says she did not know how much the traffic study cost the DOT, but did say that they've been using the contractor American Traffic Information for years. One of their findings that traffic delays have dropped dramatically during morning rush on Columbus was based on just six test drives. That's something Diana Williams pressed the commissioner on.

"On the data it says you do two runs per hour on a single day, that's six runs. Jim did 11. Is that enough?" Williams asked.

"Look, that's a fair question, and as I say that's why I want my folks to go back and take another look," Trottenberg said.

The Commissioner seemed to hold firm though on bike lanes not being at fault for any traffic bottlenecks.

"The issue here is how the roadway has changed; particularly I can see commercial activity. I don't think it's the bike lane. On both those avenues we haven't reduced the number of traffic lanes," Trottenberg said.

But it's clear for anyone to see that the bike lanes have forced trucks making deliveries along these heavily commercial avenues further out into the traffic.

"Do the bike lanes make it harder?" Eyewitness News Investigative reporter Jim Hoffer asked.

"Obviously there's less space," a truck driver said. "The bike lane is very hard, very hard for drivers. I'm sorry delivery, it's very hard."
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trafficcommutingnew york citybike lanesinvestigationinvestigators
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