1.5 Million Packages a Day: The Internet Brings Chaos to N.Y. Streets
Trucks, trucks and more trucks
As the delivery armada has ballooned, so, too, have the complaints.
Four delivery companies — FedEx, FreshDirect, Peapod and UPS — accumulated just over 515,000 summonses for parking violations in 2018, totaling $27 million in fines, according to the city. In 2013, those same companies received roughly 372,000 summonses and paid $21.8 million.
After one idling FreshDirect truck drew numerous complaints, Ben Kallos, a City Council member who represents the Upper East Side of Manhattan, said he contacted the police. It was towed away, only to have other trucks soon take its place.
“It’s kind of a game of whack-a-mole,” Mr. Kallos said. “They operate somewhere until we get complaints and then they move.”
Images and videos of delivery trucks blocking bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks are easy to find on social media. In some neighborhoods, Amazon’s ubiquitous boxes are stacked and sorted on the sidewalk, sometimes on top of coverings spread out like picnic blankets.
“They are using public space as their private warehouse,” said Christine Berthet, who lives in Midtown Manhattan. “That is not acceptable. That is not what the sidewalk is for.”
The total number of trucks on tolled crossings into New York City and within the five boroughs rose about 9.4 percent in 2018, to an estimated 35.7 million, from 32.6 million in 2013, according to transit data.
That increase in traffic has made the interchange of Interstate 95 and New Jersey Route 4, about a half-mile from the George Washington Bridge, the country’s most gridlocked stretch of highway for trucks, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.
“There is just not enough room for all the trucks that need to make deliveries, the cars that need to get past them and the people who live here,” Mr. Kallos said.