NY gov’t to flood downtown with electric cargo-haul bikes

By Brian Williams
January 13, 2020

NEW YORK — In their drive to get an edge on their competitors and boost their profits, Amazon has begun using some refitted electric bikes to replace delivery trucks on city streets here. Billed as a way to ease congestion and cut down on pollution, the company deploys 90 of these bikes for Whole Foods deliveries in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

As part of a pilot project sponsored by the city, UPS and DHL are getting into the act. This plan involves using some 100 bikes operating below 60th Street in Manhattan. Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told the media Dec. 4 that she anticipates this will be expanding “soon.”

The latest figures for the city government report almost 1.8 million vehicles drive in and out of Manhattan every day and 2.1 million vehicles are registered in the city. Traffic is most dense in the areas where the delivery bikes have been set loose.

In addition to being able to park in commercial loading zones, the bikes will be able to pull up onto the sidewalk. The bikes have a storage compartment that is loaded with hundreds of pounds of cargo when they set out.

Logan Powell, who has been doing bike deliveries for Breakaway Courier Systems for months, told the Gothamist that it would be easier if two-way bike lanes were formed on one-way streets. It would be much easier still if all traffic was obliterated!

Many e-tail orders never get delivered. In 2017, 365 million tons of cargo entered, left, or passed through New York City. Amazon and other online retailers simply drop packages off on the porches of homes, outside apartment doors or right  inside building lobbies.

On any give day, over 90,000 packages disappear or are stolen in the city. Nationwide, more than 1.7 million packages “go missing” every day.