Noticing the rise in e-commerce supply visitors, then-mayor Invoice de Blasio allotted $38 million within the November 2021 funds to transport these packages through the “blue freeway”––by ferry as a substitute of by truck. “Probably the greatest methods to combat local weather change is to get away from a society and economic system dominated by huge vans,” he stated in late 2021. “[A]nd that’s simply the reality in New York Metropolis and America at the moment: the reign of the 18-wheeler. It’s supreme; it’s all over the place, and it’s a hazard to our future.”
Different makes an attempt to cut back delivery-truck congestion have popped up. There are cargo bikes, for instance, and a possible $3 surcharge on each “nonessential” bundle delivered. Lockers are additionally a key participant; they assist deal with the “final mile” drawback—or the final leg of the supply course of—by centralizing drop-off places to avoid wasting the door-to-door toil. Amazon-exclusive lockers reside in 7-Elevens, Ceremony-Aids, Entire Meals markets, and Chase Banks. Retailer-agnostic locker providers, equivalent to Stowfly, additionally exist. The corporate’s lockers will be discovered at a spread of places together with smaller mom-and-pop shops. Stowfly CEO Sid Khattri says the method solves two issues directly: centralizing e-commerce supply whereas serving to native companies “make additional revenue and get foot visitors at a time when bodily retail is dying.”
It’s useful to step again and put the parcel drawback in historic context, says David Vega-Barachowitz, an affiliate at WXY, an structure agency in New York Metropolis. The town’s bundle drawback is not only about congested streets or inefficient distribution of assets, he says. Slightly, it’s one other disaster of comfort, akin to when, within the Fifties, suburban purchasing facilities started competing with metropolis downtowns. “We reside in a metropolis whose essential pitch is the power to stroll out your door, get a carton of milk, go to a bookstore, go to a film, and many others.,” he says, “and comfort tradition is threatening all of that.”
Arthur Getman, director of analytics on the New York Metropolis Division of Transportation, agrees. “Lots of people coming to New York deliver the mentality of the ‘American Dream,’” he says, however right here’s the issue: that dream is essentially primarily based in suburbia. The town simply doesn’t have the house for that—for everybody to have their home, their garden, their automotive, and their stuff. With its public transportation, bike lanes, sidewalks, parks, and residence buildings, New York Metropolis is made to share.
As everybody from metropolis planners to residence constructing managers copes with the rise of e-commerce, Holguín-Veras, after poring over the info for years, can’t assist however ask: “Of all of the purchases made, what % of these are actually pressing?”
Sarah Simon is a contract multimedia journalist primarily based in New York Metropolis.