Manhattan County launches “war” against roadblocks caused by delivery trucks

To the chaos of traffic, the lack of parking spaces and narrower streets for pedestrians and drivers, It is added that the ‘boom’ of electronic commerce is daily causing delivery vehicles block sidewalks, bike lanes, and even bus stops in New York City

In the Big Apple currently circulate an average of 2.4 million packages daily, sent to residents and businesses, but also obstructions on public roads often grow exponentially per square mile. And already some elected leaders are promoting measures to “unload” the streets.

This week, the Manhattan Borough PresidentMark Levine raised his hand to put a stop to congestion that these delivery units are increasingly generating.

“Online shopping is not going away. So we must think ahead and take action now, to make e-commerce corporation package distribution more efficient, ecological and safe”, I consider.

Given this concern, this official presented a technical report to try to several clear steps to return the streets and sidewalks to New Yorkersfocusing attention on the consequences that these “illegal parking spaces” generate for residents with mobility problems, pedestrians and cyclists.

In addition, Levine is putting the accent on the ecological issue.

“These gas-guzzling delivery trucks also generate significant air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, which harms the health of New Yorkers and accelerates climate change”, he highlighted.

Mark Levine is the Manhattan Borough President. (Photo file El Diario)

A “package” brought by the pandemic

Although it is not a new reality for the residents of the Big Apple, walking through streets where trucks unload hundreds of boxes, the pandemic further fueled the surge in online shopping.

“People were afraid to go to the stores because of COVID-19. They even started ordering a lettuce and a tomato. But many know They got used to this lifestyle and they don’t even want to move. But receive it at home. And that brings its consequences,” he says. Joaquin Machadothe doorman of a residential building in the Avenida Central Park West.

One of those consequences, described by the Puerto Rican worker, is that he joins his daily routine receive and distribute hundreds and hundreds of boxes. And also be careful that the door of the building is not obstructed, when they are left by the truck.

According to some data, almost 500,000 more packages are being distributed in the Big Apple in recent months, if compared to the time before the pandemic.

“80% of deliveries are to residential customers, compared to 40% before the COVID-19 outbreak,” estimates a study from Jose Holguin-Veras and Cara Wangprofessors at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who work on transportation issues, cited by The New York Times (TNYT).

The same investigation ensures that the daily grocery deliveries have more than doubledrestaurant and prepared food deliveries are up 12 percent and household goods deliveries are up 24 percent.

“That is the reason why every day it will be more difficult for those of us who like to walk to be on the sidewalks. many times you have to be dodging trucks with boxes that clog the streets, taking care of the cyclists who ride like crazy and also of the garbage. Everything is a disaster, ”she comments. Argentinian Loisa Schwart, resident of 75th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattanone of the areas where the largest rush of delivery trucks is seen filling the streets and competing for parking spaces, which are already limited.

It is detailed in the Manhattan Borough President’s report that thousands of workers are always “under pressure” to deliver merchandise very quickly. (Photo; F. Martinez)

It’s worse in Manhattan

The report presented by Levine states that of the 25 Most Congested Neighborhoodscaused by the ‘deliveries’ of electronic commerce companies, 22 are located in this county and 18 are concentrated in the center known as Midtown.

In the first place, it is highlighted that the delivery units create transit plugs, by occupying spaces on the roads, while they park illegally when they arrive at the delivery-destination.

It is detailed in this study that drivers “are always under pressure to fulfill orders on time, to keep their jobs.” And often they can’t find parking or curbside space to accommodate your packages.

Thus, to avoid delayed deliveries or lossesor having to drive around until parking is available, many double park or park in bus lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks for unloading, sorting and delivering packages.

Trucks are often left blocking these areas for hours, resulting in long delays for drivers, emergency vehicle operators, bus passengers and cyclists.

Drivers: Regulate cyclists!

A worker at a tech delivery company, who preferred to keep his identity confidential, shared with The newspaper that drivers, before being hired, receive a lot of information and training from their company, to “avoid accidents and discomfort” on the streets of the Big Apple.

“No one is going to stop this! And we must take into account the thousands of jobs that this industry generates. Everything possible is done to deliver quickly, without blocking anyone. Let’s hope they don’t take measures that cut jobs and charge more costs to customers,” said the worker.

Another delivery worker consulted charged the cyclists: “The The great causes of traffic chaos are those who ride like crazy on bicycles. They walk on the fences. They do not respect the lights. They have cycle paths and they go through the center of the streets. They run over the elderly. But we have a City that always only puts them as victims. It’s not the trucks. It is the bicycles that must be regulated”.

Based on City balances, 80% of deliveries are in residential areas. (Photo: F. Martinez)

What do the companies do?

To deal with this staggering consumer demande-commerce companies and associated carriers, have been looking for alternatives in the last two years.

For example, Amazon revealed that it has purchased more than 50 installations during the pandemic to support its fulfillment operations in the city, at least 12 of which are warehouses in the five boroughs.

There are also more than a dozen mega-warehouses currently under construction in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx for carriers including UPS, FedEx y DHL.

The shortage of warehouse space, the rising cost of leasing that space, and the complex logistics and costs associated with last-mile deliveries have caused many companies to open micro-logistics centers in residential and commercial areas of the citywho also have their “enemies” in some neighborhoods.

But in this case, it’s not about any Clear action to stop traffic obstructions.

“We are excited to continue investing here, adding new delivery stations, our goal is become part of the fabric of New York City, embracing the people, the needs and the spirit of the community,” Deborah Bass, an Amazon spokeswoman told TNYT.

The other problem: road safety

The project called “Challenges before the delivery of electronic commerce” from the Manhattan Borough President’s office, stresses that when trucks park illegally, cars and buses are forced to maneuver around them in narrow and busy streets.

“In this dynamic, the access of emergency vehicles is obstructed, cyclists are forced to join the vehicle traffic on the sidewalks and block the vision of pedestrians. When accidents happen, too are much more likely to cause serious injury or death“, they stand out.

Last year, a DHL unit struck a pedestrian at 73rd and Broadway. A few months later, a delivery man died in an accident involving a delivery truck illegally parked on First Avenue.

“These heartbreaking deaths, are just two examples of other tragedies product of pedestrian and cyclist accidents, where this type of delivery truck has been involved in recent years,” the report cites.

In this scenario, the president of that county has come up with a plan to decrease this chaos. To address these challenges, it includes 12 general recommendations.

Among its initial proposals is to find alternatives to completely eliminate the unloading of packages on streets and sidewalks. Proposes that these operations be transferred to the future to more suitable locations.

“Underutilized private parking lots must be converted into e-commerce fulfillment centers. in these spaces large loads must be prepared”remarked Marc Levine in the presentation of his plan.

It also proposes that these deliveries are more “sustainable” to encourage carriers to use smaller and more ecological fleets. He also estimates that the Traffic Police will put a tougher hand with fines, based on the New York City parking laws.

What are the technical recommendations?

  • Convert underutilized private parking lots in electronic commerce fulfillment centers, exploring the use of the routes used in the coasts for the preparation of the load.
  • Grow the network of hotspot locations in family stores.
  • throw a locker pilot program for public transport packages.
  • Encourage carriers to use smaller, greener delivery fleets.
  • Apply rates of variable congestion chargesdepending on vehicle size, type and time of day
  • Increase enforcement of violations of illegal parking in cargo areas
  • Before and after the pandemic:

    • 15% annually increased e-commerce sales in NYC since 2009.
    • 41% of New Yorkers received deliveries at home at least several times a week according to the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT)
    • 1.5 million packages andDelivered to all five boroughs daily in 2019.
    • 14.2% to 21.6% increased online shopping habits from March to August 2020 during the start of the pandemic.
    • 130% increased deliveries Groceries increased and prepared food deliveries grew by 28.6%.
    • 80% of these deliveries were homecompared to an estimated 40% before the pandemic.

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