Thursday’s Headlines: Cargo Bikeapalooza Edition

Jose Polanco, a field service supervisor for DHL, shows off his company's version of the cargo bike. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Jose Polanco, a field service supervisor for DHL, shows off his company's version of the cargo bike. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
It's our December donation drive. Please give from the heart (and wallet) by clicking the logo above.
It’s our December donation drive. Please give from the heart (and wallet) by clicking the logo above.

Let the record show that December 4, 2019, was the day New York City took back its streets from tens of thousands of delivery bikes and unleashed a small army of workers on bikes!

Or, um, maybe not.

The much-vaunted New York City press corps ended up being fairly underwhelmed by Wednesday’s announcement — broken by Streetsblog — that UPS, Amazon and DHL would start delivering packages (make that a tiny tiny tiny fraction of their packages) by electric cargo bikes instead of by trucks.

Guse from the Newsuh, for example, was a door jamb to the tall man, pointing out how Mayor de Blasio is a hypocrite when it comes to electric bikes — cracking down on hard-working delivery men…except those with a UPS or DHL logo on their bike. Meanwhile, the Post continued its crusade against bikes in any form — even bikes that take a big truck off the street! — by deriding the efficient machines as “contraptions” that will somehow increase congestion. The Wall Street Journal made it sound like the city was making a mistake by giving away parking (rather than seeing free parking as an encouragement to deliver packages more efficiently, with less congestion, and in a cleaner manner than with trucks).

Meanwhile, Forbes was cautiously optimistic about the larger potential of cargo bikes, Curbed’s Amy Plitt offered a nice reminder that trucks cause pollution and congestion at the worst times, and Vin Barone at amNY used a five-letter epithet to put the cargo bike program in proper perspective: “Small.”

All of that said, maybe one of those delivery cargo bikes could replace this menacing Mad Max Amazon truck. (Gothamist)

In other news:

  • The Daily News did a tabloid classic: a second-day story on a cyclist who had been injured by a hit-and-run cabbie. Nice to see New York’s Hometown Paper finally take pedestrian and cyclist victims seriously, especially given that there are more people dying on the roadways than there are at the end of a gun.
  • New York has new subterranean rodent hero. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Coffee Rat. (NYDN, NY Post)
  • Transit workers and the MTA appear to have reached a contract deal. Terms were not immediately disclosed. (NY Post)
  • Several outlets covered the out-of-control driver who killed a woman in Downtown Brooklyn on Wednesday, but The Post misrepresented the street on which the woman was hit, suggesting that she caused her death by jaywalking (the road is a dead-end street off of a five-mile-per-hour “shared street”).
  • The City had a scoop about how the MTA and the city’s poor vetting process allowed more than a dozen felons to get jobs. The Post followed. (Irony alert: Streetsblog has been asking the Department of Education how it vets school bus drivers, but the agency refuses to discuss the process.)
  • And, finally, some personal trauma for some Streetsblogers with blue and orange in their veins. (amNY)

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Where Can Bikes Fit Into the Urban Cargo Delivery Market?

|
New York City should be an ideal place to ship cargo by bike. It’s dense, space is at a premium, traffic regularly ensnares delivery trucks, and customers demand near-instant delivery. Despite its advantages, pedal-powered freight delivery has remained a niche operation. A panel at a conference on last-mile freight delivery hosted by the University Transportation […]