Noting the increase in e-commerce delivery traffic, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio allocated $38 million in the November 2021 budget to deliver these packages over the “blue highway” — by ferry instead of truck. “One of the best ways to combat climate change is to move away from a society and economy dominated by big trucks,” he said in late 2021.[A]That’s the truth in New York City and America today: 18-wheelers rule. This is paramount; it is everywhere and a threat to our future. ”
Other attempts to reduce congestion on delivery trucks have emerged. For example, with cargo bikes, there may be a $3 surcharge for each “non-essential” package delivered. Lockers are also key players; they help solve the “last mile” problem – or the last stop in the delivery process – by centralizing drop-off locations to save the hassle of home delivery. Amazon-exclusive lockers are located at 7-Eleven, Rite-Aids, Whole Foods Markets, and Chase Banks. Retailer-agnostic locker services also exist, such as Stowfly. The company’s lockers can be found in a range of locations, including small mom-and-pop stores. Stowfly CEO Sid Khattri said the approach solves two problems at the same time: centralizing e-commerce delivery while helping local businesses “earn extra revenue and gain foot traffic at a time when brick-and-mortar retail is dying”.
David Vega-Barachowitz, a partner at the New York City-based architecture firm WXY, said it helps to take a step back and put the parcel issue in a historical context. The city’s package of problems isn’t just crowded streets or inefficient allocation of resources, he said. Instead, it’s another convenience crisis, similar to the 1950s when suburban malls began to compete with city centers. “We live in a city whose main selling point is being able to walk out of your door, get a carton of milk, go to the bookstore, go to the movies, etc.,” he said, “and the culture of convenience is threatening all of that.”
Arthur Getman, director of analytics for the New York City Department of Transportation, agrees. “A lot of people come to New York with an ‘American Dream’ mentality,” he said, but here’s the thing: The dream is largely suburban.The city doesn’t have enough space – everyone can have it Their Room, Their grassland, Their car, and Their thing. With its public transit, bike paths, sidewalks, parks, and apartment buildings, New York City is shared.
With the rise of e-commerce, which everyone from city planners to apartment building managers is dealing with, Holguín-Veras asks after years of poring over the data: “Of all the goods purchased, how much is there? Is it really urgent?”
Sarah Simon is a freelance multimedia journalist in New York City.