Let’s get this straight right off the bat because there is a lot of misinformation out there; Double parking is completely legal for commercial vehicles expeditiously making deliveries or service calls outside of Midtown Manhattan. This is codified in the New York City traffic law and came about through public hearings, debates, and votes. Or as it’s commonly known by, the democratic process. Double parking makes sense because this means trucks aren’t constantly circling around looking for parking or staging for spots to open. Traffic and commerce may continue to flow, which is in society’s best interest.
But now the city has a problem on it’s hands. Due to ill-advised street redesigns, over development, neglect of our public transportation, and the rise in for hire vehicles, congestion has reached a breaking point. Rather than attack the real causes of congestion, they do what comes easy, scapegoat trucks. That is why they purposefully spread the misinformation of double parking, the city is blaming congestion on double parked trucks, which again, outside of Midtown is legal. But what if by simply painting lines and removing a few parking spots they take away the ability to double park? The city has done an end run around the legal, democratic process and instituted de-facto policy changes by edict.
New York City’s drive to eliminate legal truck parking is abundantly clear while analyzing the Yellowstone Boulevard to Union Turnpike street redesigns along Queens Boulevard. To most, this is about the removal of parking to install bike lanes, but bike lanes really aren’t the issue. As you can see below, there is plenty of space to stick a bike lane that doesn’t take away the trucks right to legally double park. This was specifically designed in a way where truck parking becomes impossible. The truck can either block traffic or park in the dedicated bike lane, both of which are violations or go around the block to the residential areas which would be an illegal off truck route violation and add two points to the driver’s record.
The Forest Hills plan is even more egregious than most because the Department of Transportation (DOT) decided that as part of this plan, they are going to mandate truck loading zones along the commercial side streets. This was not part of the initial proposal or outreach meetings. DOT never sought input from trucking industry representatives. They did speak to some local merchants who were naturally more concerned with losing customers’ parking than accommodating deliveries.
In general, the problem with dedicated loading zones is keeping them clear of vehicles that shouldn’t be there. Usually this is cabs and app based for-hire vehicles waiting to pick up a fare, or placarded government workers. With the loss of parking on Queens Boulevard, we also expect cars to stand in these zones as a passenger quickly runs to the store to pick something up. Also, with loading zones, often trucks must stage because there are other trucks in the zones, or circle around looking for parking. These are the problems that double parking helps solve. Another problem is that this will increase the movement of freight on sidewalks and through streets on pallet jacks and hand carts. This is unsafe for pedestrians and increases the security risk to the freight. Lastly, we get to the issue of tickets. Since double parking tickets are legal, they are dismissed with proper proof. Now with designated zones and designated times there is a plethora of new tickets for traffic agents to write. These increased costs are a strain to the trucking companies which will ultimately be felt by merchants and the customers.
This plan comes on the heals of the “pilot” congestion pricing ticket blitz concocted by the Mayor’s office. The city keeps talking about safety, but they never seem to promote education, properly conduct outreach, or even respect actual laws. They just want to punish and tax. This plan won’t promote safety, is bad for trucking, wrong for local business, and will disenfranchise communities.