DOT: Bike lanes make NYC roads better, not worse

Traffic in New York City is so bad that Fox 5 couldn't even shoot a simple street interview for a story about how bad the traffic is. A fire truck, a tractor trailer and a police car going in three separate directions interrupted our conversation. When we could get to the subject of bike lanes, this was what some drivers told us:

"The bike lane almost takes one whole lane so the cars that used to double-park are triple parking."

"The street should have another lane instead of a bike lane or a smaller bike lane."

A lot of things get criticized in this city and bike lanes are no exception. They do take up a lane and are a visible and easy target, but are they the root cause of the traffic woes plaguing the city?

Beresford Simmons of the Taxi Workers Alliance, who has been a cab driver for 44 years, said he believes bike lanes cause only a small percentage of traffic delays. Instead, he pointed to the addition of 35,000 Uber and Lyft cars to the roads in recent years.

Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg literally bears witness to where the rubber meets the road. Evaluating bikes lanes with her team, she dissected the true cause of our modern traffic ordeal. News flash -- it is not bike lanes.

Trottenberg said that the city is growing. In the last 20 years, the city's population has swelled by about 1.2 million people. That and record levels of construction and job growth have made roadways congested, she said. And with that congestion, some drivers told Fox 5 that bike lanes actually help.

An aspect of this is public safety. Years ago, about 400 bicyclists were killed each year. That is now in the 200s. Experts said this is really about creating a new transportation network that takes cars off the streets.

Peter Beadle of Community Board 6 is an advocate for bike lanes. He said criticism of bike lanes is simply a fear of what drivers don't know. Cyclists often send us photos showing dangers they face, such as vehicles camped out in the clearly marked lanes forcing them into traffic. While we were out for this story, plenty of drivers blocked crosswalks and intersections.

Beadle offered an olive branch to drivers. He said they should give bikes a chance and go for a ride to see if cycling can work as their mode of transportation.

That is part if the vision of the city's DOT commissioner. Trottenberg said that each cyclist means one less vehicle on the road. She said everyone in this dense city needs to share the road.

Now that we've heard from the experts, it is up to us to all get along.