Blaming traffic congestion on delivery trucks, City Councilman Mark Levine introduced a bill on December 16, 2015 to require the New York City Department of Transportation to study the issue. Among other things the traffic study is to consider implementing measures to reduce daytime truck deliveries. The study would be conducted on streets in Manhattan south of 59th Street and in Western Brooklyn.
Didn’t we do this a few years ago? In 2010 the NYC DOT ran a pilot program that tested off-hour deliveries. During this program, trucks received less tickets and were able to move around more freely but scheduling such deliveries was difficult. Part of the pilot program compensated shops for the extra costs associated with late night deliveries. Once the program ended, the money ran out and many of the late night deliveries stopped.
Now, what exactly is the benefit of another study when the bill creating the study already concludes that trucks are the cause of congestion? The bill itself says “the Department of Transportation shall conduct a study of traffic congestion resulting from truck deliveries…” Why is the trucking industry yet again the scapegoat for the City’s traffic ills? Between the loss of traffic lanes and legal parking spaces, the instillation of bike and bus lanes, the increase in for-hire vehicles, and seemingly endless construction, the truck delivery sector suffers just as much as any other stakeholder.
The idea that the only thing trucks provide to New York is traffic shows a disappointing lack of economic understanding.