NEW YORK—Cargo bikes are eco-friendly, smaller than a truck, and now get free parking in commercial loading zones, the Department of Transportation announced on Dec. 4.
Amazon, United Parcel Service (UPS), and DHL will put a total of 100 cargo bikes to the test in Manhattan’s most congested areas—a plan to reduce the city’s high number of incoming delivery trucks.
“And obviously that’s bringing a lot of new trucks to the streets—double parking, triple parking,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
The CEO of DHL said their cargo bikes can carry up to 300 pounds. He estimated that each bike would carry and deliver about 100 to 150 shipments per day.
Not everyone is convinced the solution will have a major impact.
“Letters, letters probably, but if they’re actual packages,” said Wendy Slater, a New Yorker, minutes after witnessing the UPS cargo truck cross the street. “It’s way too small.”
But others think the concept is interesting.
“Very unique,” said Rafael Romero, the founder of The Brooklyn Fashion Incubator. “I’ve not seen anything like it and it draws your attention.”
Besides the eye-catching design, the DOT Commissioner said she hopes the program will also improve safety. She said half of all cyclist deaths were caused by trucks.
Some companies have already made the shift in Europe and Seattle.
The city said it started with a pilot program to test the waters, and that the holiday season will determine how well the idea works.