Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A Real Gem from NYC's Sadik

Nobody has been harsher on the congestive traffic mavens  than we have here at the Alliance-and DOT's traffic planning in Flushing has also been subject to  justifiable ridicule since it takes place within the context of overdevelopment. That being said, NYC traffic commissioner Sadik-Khan deserves high praise for at least one of her new initiatives-as the WSJ reports: "New York City wants to unclog streets by getting trucks that deliver food, clothes and sneakers to make more drop-offs to businesses at night. Twenty-five businesses and eight trucking companies started doing many of their deliveries after 7 p.m. and before 6 a.m. in October as part of a federally funded pilot program that offers incentive payments for participants and trucks equipped with Global Positioning Systems so their speed could be tracked."

How's the pilot going? "The truckers saw benefits like faster-moving trucks, fewer parking tickets and lower fuel usage. All of the participants have continued doing overnight deliveries since the pilot program ended in January, according to Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. The city on Thursday will roll out a push to get more companies to deliver at night. If the effort succeeds, it could mean fewer trucks idling in traffic lanes outside businesses and circling blocks looking for parking spaces during rush hour."

Just a fabulous concept-one that we, and Congressman Weinersuggested during the mayor's ill-fated effort to get a congestion tax passed. The current program incentivizes business to help, not only themselves, but the serious congestion that delivery trucks generate in Manhattan. Getting the retailers to adapt is, however, still a work in progress: "Joe Killeen, the managing partner at the South Kearny, N.J., trucking company New Deal Logistics, said his trucks can get to retailers in SoHo and on Fifth Avenue from New Jersey in 28 minutes at night. During the day, a run into Midtown can take an hour and a half longer. He volunteered for the city's program...While truckers like Mr. Killeen see cost savings from night deliveries—an average of $44 an hour, according to the city—convincing retailers and restaurants to accept deliveries at night is more difficult. Many don't want to pay an extra employee to stay late or come in early to sign for shipments."

But this is in every one's best interest-and reducing delivery costs can more than offset extra personnel costs for the retail trade. The city needs to devise some more efficient incentives so that everyone in the distribution chain gets on board with enthusiasm. But, so far from what we see, this is one really good idea.