In an effort to reduce congestion and vehicle emissions from delivery trucks, New York City launched this month its Commercial Cargo Bike Program that aims to replace delivery trucks with electric cargo bicycles in one of the busiest sections of the city.
For the next six months, UPS, Amazon, DHL and other package delivery companies will be allowed to park in commercial loading zones usually reserved for just commercial trucks and will not be required to pay meters for parking there during deliveries, according to a New York Times report. Additionally, the Times reports that smaller cargo bikes will be allowed to park on wider sidewalks, and that all bikes will be allowed to use the city’s bike lanes.
A tweet from NYC Council member Brad Lander shows an example of what the pilot program aims to fix with a photo of a delivery truck blocking the sidewalk, bike lane and street to make deliveries.
This is W 52nd St right now. @FedEx is blocking the sidewalk, bike-lane, and street as though they own at all.
— Brad Lander (@bradlander) December 4, 2019
A press release from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio says that the bikes will be required to stay under 12 miles per hour and will be held to size limits for sidewalk parking. The program also requires that the bikes be stored overnight inside company facilities and cannot be left in public. De Blasio estimates that 100 cargo bikes will be used during the program.
Participating companies will be required to monitor their bikes and send data to the NYC Department of Transportation about the speed, parking, use of bike lanes and size of the cargo bikes. NYC DOT will then use that information to consider any adjustments to the speed, parking rates and size requirements of the bikes going forward.
The pilot program is limited to Manhattan south of 60th Street, but it may be expanded as more information from the companies is reported.
NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson says more than 2 million deliveries are made in the city daily.
“There’s no doubt the rise in deliveries has caused chaos on our streets, but there are plenty of thoughtful solutions out there to make our streets safer and more sustainable,” Johnson says. “I’m excited to see DOT exploring this new technology which will help bring NYC’s freight and delivery systems into the 21st Century.”
DHL Express Americas CEO Mike Parra says the company has had success in Europe with their cargo bikes with each bicycle taking at least one conventional cargo delivery van off the streets. UPS began using cargo bikes in Seattle last year.
The Trucking Association of New York did not respond to requests for comments on the cargo bike program.