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In Park It, Trucks: Here Come New York’s Cargo Bikes, Winnie Hu and Matthew Haag report on relaxing rules on cargo bikes:
New York will allow Amazon, DHL and UPS to park cargo bikes in commercial loading zones as a way to get some trucks off the city’s gridlocked streets.
It will be the first time the city, long home to bike messengers, has specifically promoted cargo bikes as an alternative to delivery trucks.
As many as 100 pedal-assisted cargo bikes operated by Amazon, UPS and DHL will be allowed to park in hundreds of existing commercial loading areas that are typically reserved for trucks and vans. Unlike those vehicles, the bikes will not have to pay meters.
Smaller cargo bikes will also be allowed to park on wider sidewalks, and all the bikes can travel along the city’s growing network of more than 1,400 miles of bike lanes. The bikes will be concentrated in the most congested parts of Manhattan, from 60th Street south to the Battery.
Cargo bikes have been rolled out in a growing number of cities, including Paris, London and Dublin, as online shopping has soared and led to concerns over congestion and climate change. UPS operates dozens of cargo bikes in more than 30 cities after introducing them in Hamburg, Germany, in 2012.
“Around the world, we have seen how freight companies use cargo bikes to move goods around dense urban neighborhoods more efficiently,” said Polly Trottenberg, New York’s transportation commissioner.
Replacing trucks with cargo bikes, she said, would also help make roads safer. Trucks have been involved in 13 of the 27 crashes that have killed cyclists this year, according to city data.
The human toll of delivery trucks in crowded urban areas should be first on the list, but at least people are keeping their eyes on the issue.