E-Commerce Is Clogging City Streets With Delivery Trucks

The Atlantic’s CityLab describes “a massive surge in deliveries to residential dwellings…creating a traffic nightmare.” An anonymous reader quotes their report:
While truck traffic currently represents about 7% of urban traffic in American cities, it bears a disproportionate congestion cost of $28 billion, or about 17% of the total U.S. congestion costs, in wasted hours and gas. Cities, struggling to keep up with the deluge of delivery drivers, are seeing their curb space and streets overtaken by double-parked vehicles, to say nothing of the bonus pollution and roadwear produced thanks to a surfeit of Amazon Prime orders… Often, the box trucks will double-park in a two-lane street if there’s no loading zone to pull into, snarling traffic behind them… “The streets were not designed for that kind of activity,” says Alison Conway, an assistant professor of civil engineering at the City College of New York.
Scott Kubly, director of the Seattle Department of Transportation, says “With the volume of deliveries, ticketing isn’t effective for us in terms of managing the street. UPS and FedEx will just negotiate a lump sum payment for all the tickets they get instead of fighting every ticket”… In 2011 in Washington, D.C., UPS alone received just shy of 32,000 tickets. Instead of adjudicating each ticket, many large cities will strike agreements or introduce programs through which delivery companies can pay off all tickets in one swoop.

The article points out online retails sales have grown 15% every year this decade in the U.S. — calling it the other side of the “retail apocalypse” that’s killing brick-and-mortar stores.


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