Commercial loading zones are rarely the first thought that comes to mind when walking through the public realm, yet their potential to efficiently support the last mile of a globally executed supply chain is imperative to the future of dense urban areas. They become more noticeable when urban mobility comes to a halt, and you must weave your way between automobiles piled into the intersection due to a delivery vehicle forced to park illegally you can spot halfway down the block. Researchers, technologists, private operators, and city agencies are all attempting to solve this friction at the curb.
When the current loading process breaks down, cities modify their approach to regulating this multi-jurisdictional space for delivery access. Private sector freight logistics and supply specialists also attempt to solve for these issues to ensure packages are delivered on time and reliably to their intended destinations. The changing dynamics of our congested streets are quickly becoming front and center issues to both public and private stakeholders across cities. The popularity of opening streets for people and other mobility uses, which has accelerated in response to the pandemic, presents a challenge to the current status quo but also opportunities. Modifying commercial loading zones to align with today’s mobility needs will ease frictions at the curb and improve equitable movement of people, goods and services. However, as stated in previous thought pieces, this needs to be approached holistically.
This is the fourth in a series of thought pieces by EA Creative Consulting focused on the future of urban mobility and how New York City (and other dense urban areas) can reposition themselves for innovative and sustainable growth. Bill 2277-A and 2279-A of the New York City Council, if passed, would expand, and lengthen the amount of loading space available for use across the city.
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