That Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall. Not only does she have to pay her hubby's DC rent (Senator Schumer rents from Representative George Miller), she has to explain to the City Council that they are wrong when thinking traffic is bad. amNew York reports that at a hearing, Commissioner Weinshall said, "You have SUVs, you got these minivans. I think the cars are getting bigger and there is a perception there is more traffic. We think it is still manageable. Remember even as more people are driving more people are taking mass transportation." Lady, bigger cars still make for problems! Didn't you read the Times article about drivers idling outside private schools?

According to the DOT, 980,000 vehicles entered Manhattan daily in 2000, but in 2005, the number is 943,000. Given the number of people in Manhattan who drive, we'd like to revisit the counting methodology. Weinshall did say that traffic due to construction could make it seem like it was more crowded, which is another duh, because, for starters, Houston has been torn up for a while and Lower Manhattan is a mess.

Why the hearing? The City Council wants to propose new "performance goals" for the DOT, "such as cutting commute times and easing traffic congestion." Which Commissioner Weinshall is opposed to. Well, we assume she wants to do those things, but probably without timelines and, God forbid, deadlines to do those things. And if you want another glimpse at how backwards the DOT can be, check out this post on Streetsblog: When the DOT wants to inspect an intersection, they drive through and don't get out, so they have no idea how pedestrians or bus riders or anything else deal with it.

Photograph at the Manhattan Bridge by Danny L on Flickr