Trio of council bills seeks to regulate last-mile trucking routes


The legislation, which is based on a bill sponsored last year by then-Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, would “daylight” truck-route adjacent intersections by removing curb parking space to increase visibility for drivers and pedestrians. Rodriguez now serves as the DOT commissioner.

Another bill, also sponsored by Avilés, would require the Department of Environmental Protection to designate “heavy-use thoroughfares” in each borough and install street-level air monitors at intersections along the roads. The monitors would collect data that could be shared with the council and mayor’s office to better regulate contaminants.

The trucking industry delivers 90% of the city’s goods on more than 120,000 vehicles daily. The city projects the number of trucks to grow by as many as 75,000 by 2045 if no action is taken. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, some 1.5 million packages were delivered daily in the city. The pandemic put the number of deliveries on steroids, with estimates of some 2.4 million in the past year. Market researchers at Rakuten Intelligence project an eye-popping 1 billion e-commerce packages will be delivered in the city between now and 2024.

The two bills are based on legislation originally penned by Antonio Reynoso, now the Brooklyn borough president. He emphasized that more clarity and regulation around the trucking facilities ultimately will make it easier for the city to accommodate growth.

“We need some level of information coming in from the city that would allow us to make better decisions,” Reynoso said, “so we can have better health in these communities and just have a better understanding of these last-mile facilities.”

A third bill, sponsored by Councilwoman Jennifer Gutiérrez, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, would require the DOT to make truck-route data more accessible through an interactive, web-based map.

The legislation is generally garnering support among leaders in the trucking industry, said Kendra Hems, president of the Trucking Association of New York, a trade group.

“We’re supportive of the idea,” Hems said, “because we want to ensure the truck routes that are in place are safe—that we’re considering all users and the most efficient routes for the industry.

“It’s important that we take a look at what’s working and what’s not working. Because, at the end of the day, I think we all have the same goal as far as making sure we’re delivering our goods as efficiently as possible and as safely as possible.”

Avilés said the debate around last-mile facilities is a part of a broader conversation about land use and building a healthier ecosystem for the city’s economic development.

“We need an economy that allows us to both produce jobs but also protect our health and well-being,” she said. “We shouldn’t have to choose between one or the other.”

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