Monday, December 9, 2019

Mayor de Blasio Announces Commercial Cargo Bike Program to Reduce Delivery Congestion

NYC DOT Facebook Page Photo

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that New York City will launch an initiative to encourage freight companies to reduce delivery-related congestion through the use of cargo bicycles. The Commercial Cargo Bike Program, introduced in time for the holiday shopping season, should reduce traffic by bringing an estimated 100 cargo bikes from major delivery companies to the city’s most crowded streets in midtown and downtown Manhattan.

“New Yorkers demand immediate results – whether that’s getting a package delivered or getting around the city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This is an exciting new program that will help cut congestion on our streets and speed up deliveries, all while reducing vehicle emissions.”

“This new program will help reduce truck traffic on some of the busiest streets in New York City, making our city safer and cutting down on vehicle emissions,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “We look forward to working with our partners in the private sector during this holiday season and are eager to see the results of this pilot.”

“DOT is excited to announce this pilot to make freight deliveries in NYC safer and greener by encouraging the use of pedal-assist cargo bikes instead of trucks,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “With trucks involved in a disproportionately high number of cyclist fatalities in New York City this year, we are especially interested in the safety benefits this pilot can bring to our streets. We thank UPS, DHL and Amazon for their participation and invite other interested freight companies to join and help us make this pilot a success.”

The program’s goal is to better understand whether cargo bicycles can successfully fit into the City’s streetscape. Companies participating will monitor and send data to DOT about the speed, parking, use of bike lanes, and size of the cargo bicycles. DOT will use the information to consider adjustments of its rules regarding cargo bicycle’s speed, parking rates, and size. 

NYC DOT Facebook Page Photo

The focus area of the program is Manhattan south of 60th Street—the same area to be covered by Central Business District Tolling starting in 2021—with the potential to expand depending on initial results. Cargo bikes are permitted on city streets, but the new program clarifies the operating parameters for cargo bikes used for commercial purposes. DOT is coordinating with NYPD regarding monitoring and enforcement protocols.

DOT has targeted some of the largest operators, including UPS, DHL, and Amazon, but any freight company is allowed and encouraged to participate in the program. Companies participating in DOT’s program must abide by:
  • Size limits for sidewalk parking and that walkways be kept clear and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Requirement for contact info and identification on the cargo bikes.
  • Requirement that the bikes not exceed speeds of 12 MPH. 
  • Safety training sessions for cargo bike operators.
  • Requirement that the bikes be stored overnight inside company facilities.

The program will initially be six months and may be extended for additional six-month increments depending on the results of the initiative. Companies interested in participating should contact NYC DOT at Freightmobility@dot.nyc.gov.


The de Blasio Administration has introduced a number of recent initiatives aimed at reducing congestion and improving commutes, especially for bus riders. In 2019, DOT announced expansion of its Off Hours Deliveries program, encouraging businesses to move deliveries to overnight hours.  As part of the Administration’s Better Buses plan, DOT has worked with MTA on improvements to several major bus routes, including the creation of the first-ever “busway” along Manhattan’s 14th Street.  The NYPD has also announced units dedicated to increased bus-lane enforcement.


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