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Study Finds Uber Not Worsening Traffic In NYC...For Now

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A study has found Uber is not making traffic in the city worse, but that may not be the case if the ride hailing service continues to grow.

The de Blasio administration commissioned the $2 million study, hoping it would back up their controversial push for capping the growth of the city's for-hire vehicle fleet, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported.

LINK: Read the full report

The study, which was released Friday, was conducted between August and October of 2015.

It found Uber's growth in New York City has been offset by declines in trips by yellow cabs.

"The study does not recommend a cap on for hire vehicles at this time," the report said. "While for-hire vehicles contribute to congestion, they have not driven the decline in Central Business District speeds that the City has recently experienced."

As CBS2's Sonia Rincon reported, some city officials did not think the study was a waste of money.

"It's a lesson that sometimes you don't rush to judgement before you know the facts," Comptroller, Scott Stringer said.

"Without the study people still would have been arguing. I think it's good now that there's no argument," Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) added.

However, if Uber's growth continues on the same path the study found its contribution to traffic congestion would increase, Diamond reported.

"If rapid e-dispatch growth were to reduce public transit trips, there would be additional modest growth in congestion across the Central Business District due to for-hire vehicles," the study found.

In a brief question and answer session with reporters at City Hall Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said they are reviewing the findings.

"I think there's a lot of causes of congestion," de Blasio said. "Obviously construction which has been very strong in the last couple of years is one of them, but we'll have more to say on where we'll go from here."

Anyone who has ever driven through Chelsea during rush hour knows that construction can contribute to congestion. On 10th Ave there is construction on both sides of the street squeezing traffic, and creating a bottleneck.

"In the core of Manhattan, traffic has always been insufferable," George Haikalis, Institute for Rational Urban Mobility said.

Haikalis leads the Institute for Rational Urban Mobility which supports congestion pricing, a toll for entering Manhattan below 60th Street which would pay for mass transit.

"If you have fewer cars there will be more room for buses, but also more room for pedestrians," Haikalis said.

The city is already trying to make room for buses without fewer cars, and drivers told CBS2 it seems like a lot of factors have been increasing traffic.

"Construction is horrible," John Catapano said.

"Accidents. There's always accidents. It's never Uber or yellow cabs, it's always accidents," Ivan Garcia said.

The study is expected to guide the city's regulation of Uber.

"I think we want to lok at different pieces of the industry and do it piece by piece," Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) said.

Paul Steely-White of Transportation Alternatives advocates tolls on the East River bridges.

"A fair tolling system that charges all motorists equally would thin traffic," Steely-White said, adding that it provide vital funding for mass transit alternatives.


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