22-8.14 – Report: New last-mile distribution center planned for 5714 1st Ave.

Post: 22-8.14 – Report: New last-mile distribution hub planned for 5714 1st Ave. 

Real Estate Weekly reported on August 14 that a new last-mile distribution center is planned for 5714 1st Ave. in Sunset Park. 

According to the publication, the approximately 100,000 square foot building has been bought by DIB Development Group for $19.9 million. 

The article also includes this quote from DIB’s president, Roland Dib: “In the age of last mile distribution, this new acquisition is an excellent hub for medium to large size companies to operate out of in order to reach the high demand NYC and five-borough market.”

You can read the full story here: https://rew-online.com/dib-development-group-acquires-sunset-park-industrial-building-for-19-9-million/

– Posted by JVS on 8.18.22, backdated to 8.14.22


12.30.21 – “RXR, LBA Logistics lead filing flurry with $123M for massive Gowanus industrial portfolio”

As reported by The Real Deal:

The largest transaction by far in terms of square footage came from a partnership between RXR Realty and LBA Logistics. The firms acquired more than 760,000 square feet of industrial space in Gowanus from Buckeye Partners, a Houston-based logistics company. The eight-building portfolio set them back $123 million, but gives the firms access to waterfront industrial land in a neighborhood swarming with new investment and development.

RXR and LBA are making a huge play for outerboro logistics space, having previously teamed up on a 1.1 million-square-foot, five-story logistics center at 55-15 Grand Avenue in Maspeth, Queens. The firms financed the Gowanus purchase with a $73.8 million mortgage from Bank OZK, according to public records.

Three of the parcels reached six-figure square footages, with the largest sprawling 270,600 square feet and running directly into the Gowanus Canal.

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 3.17.21, backdated to 12.30.21

12.15.21 – “Coalition Launches Fight to Regulate Last-Mile Trucking Facilities in New York City”

The below press release was issued by Earthjustice on 12.15.21:


December 15, 2021

Coalition Launches Fight to Regulate Last-Mile Trucking Facilities in New York City

Advocates from across the city call on city planning commission to manage rapid growth of last-mile trucking facilities


Michael O’Loughlin, NYC-EJA

Eli Judge, NYLPI

Nydia Gutiérrez, Earthjustice

New York, NY —Today, the Last-Mile Coalition, a new city-wide coalition of environmental justice and public health advocates, launched its campaign to regulate last-mile trucking facilities in New York City (NYC). The coalition is calling on the NYC City Planning Commission to pass a Zoning Resolution Text Amendment to mitigate the explosive growth of last-mile trucking facilities — warehouses where packages are sorted and sent out for distribution.

Currently, last-mile trucking facilities do not undergo any public review process or environmental review. Because last-mile trucking facilities are not defined under zoning law, the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) treats them as “warehouses” that can be constructed “as-of-right” in manufacturing districts and C8 commercial districts. This has resulted in the disproportionate placement and concentration of these trucking facilities in communities of color and low-income communities, which has led to increases in truck traffic and emissions in these neighborhoods.

The Last-Mile Coalition is urging the City Planning Commission (CPC) to amend the text of the Zoning Resolution for last-mile trucking facilities so that they undergo a review process and provide opportunities for the City to evaluate adverse impacts, while also providing ample opportunities for affected communities to provide public comments. In addition, the Zoning Resolution Text Amendment would define last-mile trucking facilities based on size and the number of vehicle trips per day.

The amendment would require last-mile trucking facility developers to seek a special permit from the CPC, which would require developers to show the facility’s impact on traffic congestion, potential air pollution in surrounding disadvantaged communities, and compliance with waterfront district zoning requirements and New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act emissions reduction mandates. The amendment will also prevent the clustering of last-mile facilities in frontline, disadvantaged communities and encourage facilities to use renewable energy sources for onsite and operation activities.

“More and more last-mile warehouses are entering our city, while the communities affected — often Black and Brown communities — have no voice in the process. These residents are the ones impacted by the increased traffic and noise pollution, and drop in air quality, as more facilities are opened in the same neighborhoods,” said public advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “The City Planning Commission must ensure these warehouses have to go through a process that takes into account community concerns and possible safety and environmental impacts. If we let these facilities continue to multiply without community input and involvement, we will continue to see more and more of these warehouses being built in the same areas, exacerbating their negative effects.”

“I fully support the Last-Mile Coalition’s call for the City Planning Commission to manage the rapid growth of last-mile trucking facilities,” said Brooklyn Borough President-elect Antonio Reynoso. “At present, low-income communities of color are being overburdened with last-mile facilities and the pollution and truck traffic that come along with them. By implementing a review process through a zoning text amendment, we can ensure the fair share distribution of last-mile facilities while also requiring facilities to meet environmental standards.”

“The imminent arrival of six last-mile distribution centers to Red Hook and Sunset Park is a threat to environmental, economic, and racial justice for the working families who call these neighborhoods home. We need oversight and input from the local community for changes of this concentration and scale,” said Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes. “It is no coincidence that this is happening near a public housing community and an immigrant community of color. We must call on our City and State agencies, as well as our elected officials, to use all tools at their disposal to address this urgent phenomenon.”

“I’m proud to stand together with UPROSE, my colleagues, fellow electeds, activists, and community organizations in calling on the city to implement a special permitting process for new last-mile fulfillment centers. The explosion of last-mile distribution centers across the city and in our District 38 highlight how out of touch big corporations such as Amazon are. We have been left to breathe diesel exhaust and exacerbated traffic conditions. The proposed special permit would allow for greater oversight over who gets to do business in our communities. We advocate working with partners who will develop our working waterfront in a way that’s consistent with the demands of climate change and community-driven plans such as the GRID,” said Councilmember-elect Alexa Aviles.

“The explosion of last-mile facilities across the city translates to a rise in vehicular traffic and carbon emissions that exacerbate air pollution, as well as lead to detrimental noise and safety concerns in historic environmental justice communities that already experience high levels of congestion and other environmental harms. We affirm and reiterate the right to clean air and healthy, healthful environments, and call on the city to ensure that the rapid growth of these facilities does not continue unchecked and that community voices and concerns are heard and prioritized when it comes to decisions that have deep impacts on physical, mental, and environmental health. We can no longer allow the interest and profits of large corporations to come before the well-being, thriving, sustainable, and resilient visions and goals of our communities,” said Daniela Castillo, Green Light district manager.

“The rapid growth of the logistics industry and online retail in recent decades has substantially increased the volume and frequency of freight flows in New York City. In turn, this has resulted in an explosion of last-mile trucking facilities throughout the city. These facilities are being cited in environmental justice communities. These are the same communities that have suffered from poor air quality due to decades of environmental racism and continue to be disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. These communities bear the burden of consumer habits for faster deliveries that have led to increases in vehicle traffic, a rise in carbon emissions, and further air pollution. The City needs to step in to regulate these sites to undergo a public review process and prevent clustering of these sites in frontline communities,” said Kevin Garcia, transportation planner for the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.

“The rapid and unchecked growth of last-mile trucking facilities concentrated in historically marginalized communities are threatening to not only exacerbate the climate crisis and health disparities, but inhibits frontline communities from accessing investments to implement a Just Transition. We are calling on the City to protect environmental justice communities and stop allowing huge corporations to make unlimited profit with no regard for local communities or our climate future,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE.

“The syndemic that we are living in has exposed us to new threats. A city that is now dependent on thousands of deliveries per day for necessities, would eventually lead back to the very places where the most trash is dumped, where the biggest trucks sit in traffic for hours on end, and where there is little oversight on corporations that do not have the best interest of the community, no matter what the ads say. Hunts Point, and communities like ours, are once again in the crosshairs of developers with agendas that will expand traffic and pollution into our streets in the name of convenience and employment.” said Danny R. Peralta, executive managing director of The Point CDC.

“Environmental Justice communities are already being choked out by toxic air pollution, toxic police, and toxic policies — they must not bear the brunt of more hazards or assaults on their health and public safety,” said Anthony K. Rogers-Wright, director of environmental justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “The City and associated agencies must demonstrate that Environmental Justice is not a rhetorical paperweight or talking point as much as it’s a verb, a set of actions manifested by self-determination in the form of enhanced public participation initiatives and commonsense amendments to the current Zoning Resolution that reflects the will of the people. New Yorkers overwhelmingly voted to amend the state’s Constitution and mandate that all residents shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment. It’s time to put these words into action, Environmental Justice communities matter just like the Black and Brown lives that call them home.”

“Rapid, unregulated development of last-mile warehouses is concentrated in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods, the same communities that have been historically overburdened by toxic air pollution from diesel trucks and congested traffic. Together with the Last-Mile Coalition, we are calling on New York City to use its zoning powers to ensure communities learn about these facilities’ pollution, traffic and safety impacts before they are built, and have a voice in siting decisions and mitigation measures,” said Alok Disa, senior policy analyst at Earthjustice. “The City must act now to manage the rapid growth of Last-Mile trucking facilities, ensure equitable siting, protect environmental justice communities from toxic air pollution, and promote the use of zero-emission trucks in line with New York’s climate mandates.”


— Posted by JVS on 12.18.21, backdated to 12.15.21

7.2.21 – Joint CB6/CB7 meeting on last-mile distribution centers on July 22

The below email was distributed by CB7 on 7.2.21: 


The Special Subcommittee on Last Mile Trucking Facilities joint committee meeting with CB6 will be held on Thursday, July 22, 2021 @ 6:00 p.m. via Zoom. 

Proposed Draft Agenda  

  • Welcome from the CB6/CB7 Committee Chairs who organized the meeting – why are we doing a joint meeting on last mile facilities?  
  • Introduction to the joint CB7/CB6 members – what is your interest in this joint committee? (3 minutes each) 
  • Welcome to members of the community – Public Comment (3 minutes each) 
  • Recap from Community Board 7’s Special SubCommittee Last Mile meeting – what did we learn then from our speakers and what questions were raised?  
  • What do we know about last-mile in the district? An invitation to speakers – elected representatives, NYC Department of Transportation, UPROSE, Red Hook Initiative, etc.   
  • Questions from Community Board members  
  • Questions from members of the community – Public Comment (3 minutes each) 
  • End 
Zoom webinar details below:
Hi there,
You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Jul 22, 2021 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Special Subcommittee on Last Mile Trucking Facilities
Register in advance for this webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

You can also view this meeting on our YouTube Channel:
— Posted by JVS on 7.2.21

6.14.21 – Distribution center information from Rep. Nydia Velázquez’s office

Dan Wiley, the District Director for Southwest Brooklyn for Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, recently shared the below email and photographs with a group of individuals discussing the last-mile distribution centers planned for Red Hook and Sunset Park. I was one of the individuals on that email thread. Mr. Wiley subsequently confirmed to me that his email could be shared and posted online, though he noted that some of the information needed to be updated. 

Mr. Wiley’s email is below: 



Here’s my report on that I’ve been involved in so far on this:

Last Friday, we had a Red Hook walking tour organized by Council Member Menchaca’s office with the new DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman and that involved reps from agencies NYC EDC, DCP, DOB (Commissioner), Port Authority, CB6 and 7 and Red Hook Initiative (which runs the Red Hook Farms) to begin the coordination conversation on all the last-mile e-commerce facilities popping up.

The Commissioner agreed to some sort of follow up meeting next month on next steps.

I’d been working with Renae in Carlos’ office over the last year. We were trying to gauge how to push transportation studies on truck routes and waterborne that the companies and agencies might support. UPS had made some public statements about supporting, but after putting their site out to market and challenges with getting agency particularly NYC DOT buy-in which still had its smart truck study they wanted done first, that was put on hold.  And Last November after opening some protected bike lanes with DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg on Flatbush an 4th Aves, I was able to secure a meeting with her with my boss Congresswoman Velazquez, CM Lander and Menchaca on Last-Mile-Fulfillment centers in Sunset Park and Red-Hook on November 13, 2020. Polly was open to more engagement on the issue, but left the agency shortly thereafter (and by April was sworn in as Deputy Secretary of Transportation At US DOT) and we were in limbo again.

Renae had developed the attached summary trying to get a picture of all the proposed last mile development sites in the district in Nov 2020.

In February Renae and I did some joint phone calls on to get some of the specifics, square footages and timeframes on Amazon’s planned e-commerce logistics facilities to be developed.  The first Amazon call was with Jessica Schumer, Manager, Economic Development and Jeff Cleland, State Transportation Public Policy just after Thanksgiving last year.  Jessica and Jeff were not forthcoming when Renae and I spoke with them as the deal for Red Hook hadn’t been inked at that time and they couldn’t speak to any plans. 

But in February, when the news broke that Amazon had finalized a deal, we did another call with Jessica and Jeff where they were able to tell us some specifics on square footages to be developed and nature of the three location operations. We also had a call with Dov Hertz who is developing the Fed Ex Sunset Industrial Park site as well as Amazon Fresh and one the two AMZL sites, we haven’t spoken with Thor Equities developing the 270/280 Richards.

Here is my update annotation (in red) on Renae’s map below reflecting my understanding from our conference calls with Amazon and Dov Hertz from February. (Renae has since moved on.)

I shared this on the CB7 zoom and tried to at the last CB6 General Board meeting but didn’t have the sharing capability on its zoom, so share here:

Map by Renae Widdison of CM Menchaca’s office from Nov 2020 with my update annotations overlayed in red reflecting my understanding from February conversations with Amazon and Dov Hertz. 

(Note that the black original type on square footage next to zoning is just the lot size (not the developable area allowed which you can see on the tables in the attached pdf Renae put together.)

I’ve just shared this map with my red notes with Jessica Schumer at Amazon to check if the numbers are accurate and get any updates she can share. 

In reaching out to Jessica at Amazon, I’ll let her know we are looking for more info for some community discussion going on next week and that both Community Boards are getting involved, but not inviting them to anything yet, figuring the community needs to have its own discussion first.

The latest interagency tour to put this problem on the map and DOT’s willingness to circle back on next steps next month along with other agencies to cooperate is a good development.

So having the broader community conversations now is good…

Planned or Likely Logistics Properties - Rep. Nydia Velázquez


June 2011 CM Red Hook walking tour




— Posted by JVS on 6.14.21

5.14.21 – “STREETS WEEK! New Truck Management Report is Heavy on Historic Details; Light on Future Plans”

As reported by Streetsblog NYC:

The Department of Transportation says it has a plan to mitigate congestion and reduce the number of crashes on city streets caused by the commercial trucks that deliver 90 percent of our goods, but the 104-page proposal falls short of actual details needed to solve the problem, advocates say.

The new report, “Delivering New York: A Smart Truck Management Plan for New York City” (released on Thursday, Day Four of the mayor’s Streets Week!), is heavy on fascinating details about the simply massive system that delivers everything from everywhere to every location, thanks, mostly to 120,000 trucks entering or leaving the five boroughs every day. The report even explains how a banana gets from Central or South America to your door. It’s a good read.

But the report offered few hard details on how the city intends to actually improve the streetscape. Words like “encourage” (or “encouraging”), “promote,” “support” and other phrases such as “the city must do…” suggest city action, but those terms vastly outnumber words of actual action, such as “the city will…” or “the city has…”

That said, the report is “a step in this direction,” said Kate Slevin of the Regional Plan Association.

“The New York metro region must have a comprehensive plan for goods movement in order to continue reducing emissions and repurposing street space,” she said. “The plan has great components — like encouraging more cargo bikes for last mile deliveries and increasing the number of truck loading zones – but how effective it ultimately is will be determined by the details of the implementation process.”…

The report revealed that simply e-commerce deliveries inside New York City increased to 500 million in 2018, up 13 percent from just one year (!) prior. That number will go up 100 percent to 1 billion e-commerce package deliveries by 2024 at the current growth rate…

New York, you may have noticed, is built on water — yet 8 percent of goods are floated here. And just 3 percent arrive by rail — and the result is a burden on the city’s already-clogged streets and crumbling infrastructure such as the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway

And when asked Thursday about the report, which has been in the works for five years, Mayor de Blasio said he agrees that the city needs a fix, though he was vague on specifics.

“This is about getting away from the way we have been doing things. We’re going to use more rail. We’re going to use the water more. We’re going to use bike cargo more. We’re going to do things differently,” he said. “And we’re going to focus on getting deliveries out of rush hour, into overnights, reduce congestion, reduce pollution. There’s a lot of work to be done. But what’s important here is the city wants to push for all these alternatives and use every tool we have.”…

The plan follows FreightNYC, a trucking scheme launched in 2018 by the city’s Economic Development Corporation. That plan sought to “modernize the city’s freight distribution system through strategic investments in maritime and rail infrastructure, as well as the creation of new distribution facilities.”

That plan called for relatively small investments and predicted relatively small gains: A $25-million “hub and spoke” marine freight system and a $15-million rail transfer center will reduce truck modal share by about 5 percent, bringing it down to 85 percent…

Elsewhere in the report, DOT says it will continue to expand its commercial cargo bike pilot program that launched in 2019 and is so far only operational in Manhattan, as well as its off-hour delivery program from an initial 500 deliveries to 1,500…

And the DOT said it would expand the Neighborhood Loading Zones program that launched as a pilot in 2019 to help decongest residential streets that are increasingly clogged by the explosion of deliveries to individual homes…

“It’s rich with data and ideas, but as DOT is not a lawmaking or law enforcement agency and the commercial distribution of goods by truck is a fractured industry, implementation of the ideas will remain a challenge without teamwork,” said Matthew Carmody, vice president of Traffic and Transportation Engineering at the engineering consulting firm AKRF. “DOT does their best to encourage smart mobility of goods by piloting e-bike freight, overnight delivery, and other programs, but the business of transporting goods by truck is highly reactive to timing and driven by low profit margins and tight competition.”…

Streetsblog reported in March that new last-mile distribution centers slated for Sunset Park and Red Hook will mean an influx of trucks in the neighborhoods, and an increase of crashes along with it. At the time, DOT declined to provide specifics about its plans to ensure pedestrian and cyclist safety along an already deadly corridor, saying it would be “releasing new initiatives on truck management soon.”

This report is indeed that long-awaited response, but it added Third Avenue in Sunset Park — an already treacherous roadway, where at least six people have been killed since 2019 — as a proposed new truck route. Parts of Second Avenue, New Utrecht Avenue, and 86th Street in Bay Ridge are also listed as new truck routes.

Those roadways are part of a total of 25.3 miles of proposed new truck routes, including some in Queens on what looks like Rockaway Parkway (the report is not clear). The city also plans to remove a minuscule 1.63 miles of truck routes in all the boroughs except Staten Island

Bay Ridge Council Member Justin Brannan was, frankly, livid.

“There’s no way we will allow a truck route with 18-wheelers rumbling through some of the most crowded and dense pedestrian parts of Bay Ridge where all of our mom and pop stores are,” said Brannan. “This plan is insane and clearly drawn up by folks who couldn’t find Bay Ridge on a map if they were standing on the corner of 75th Street.”

DOT says the proposed changes must go through a formal rule-making process, which will include a public comment period, but Brannan says he’ll ready to fight it.

“No way we let this happen,” he said.

Read the full story here. 

— Posted by JVS on 5.15.21, bakdated to 5.14.21

5.9.21 – Suggested CB7 actions and information requests re: last mile distribution centers

  1. Ask all local elected officials to publicly document all contact they have had with the developers behind these projects, as well as future tenants, and what they have learned from those contacts.
  2. Ask all local elected officials to publicly state their position on these developments: How do they think they will impact Sunset Park and Red Hook? Do they support the projects as proposed? What actions, if any, do they believe should be taken going forward? (Recent comments from Councilperson Menchaca’s office are available here.)
  3. Continue conducting site visits to collect data on the traffic impact of existing distribution centers in NYC. (A recent example of data collection is available here.)
  4. Ask DOT if the agency has collected any data on the traffic impact of distribution centers in NYC. (A past FOIL request suggested that no studies had been completed as of July, 2020. A recent request for studies pertaining to four Amazon facilities around NYC will not be returned until September.)
  5. Ask DOT for the status of the traffic study for 640 Columbia St., and to share the study if it is available. (A recent FOIL request for this study will not be returned until September.)
  6. Ask DOT to clarify whether it intends to conduct site-specific transportation studies on other last mile centers in CD38.
  7. Ask DOT to explain how the Smart Truck Management Plan will impact the operations of distribution centers, either at the centers themselves, or at points of delivery around the city.
  8. As DOT to clarify why it did not move forward with a traffic study focused on the UPS site in Red Hook, as proposed by the office of Councilperson Menchaca in 2019. (From Councilperson Menchaca’s spokesperson Anthony Chiarito in April: “There was some initial interest from DOT, but ultimately they told us they were working on a more comprehensive Smart Truck Management Plan, which was due for publication end of 2020. But it hasn’t been published yet or shared with our offices.”)
  9. Ask DEP if the agency has collected any data on the environmental impact of distribution centers in NYC. (A recent FOIL request for information on Amazon distribution centers in NYC will not be returned until September.)
  10. Ask UPS to clarify why it is exploring a buyer for its Red Hook property.
  11. Councilperson Menchaca’s office recently said that it has investigated three potential legislative actions: a) creation of a “special permit” for last mile facilities; b) “creating a new license which DCWP administers for last-mile delivery”; and c) a “moratorium” on all new last mile facilities. Ask the Councilperson’s office to explain all three options to the public.
  12. Ask Councilperson Menchaca’s office to explain whether any of these courses of action would apply to distribution centers that are already planned or under construction. (From spokesperson Anthony Chiarito in April: “A special permit would not apply retroactively. The Zoning Resolution of the City of New York does not allow it, but also it would likely invite lawsuits, since property owners would argue it was a “taking” i.e. an infringement on their constitutional property rights. But it would apply to any future property. I have to check about licenses, but I think they could be retroactive, possibly with a stipulated grace period for existing facilities to get one. I’m not sure a moratorium could shut down already existing facilities, but perhaps. Something else I can get back to you on.”)
  13. Ask elected officials to clarify if a recently announced legislative package regarding the logistics of deliveries around NYC would impact the operations of distribution centers themselves, as opposed to operations at the point of delivery.
  14. Ask elected officials to clarify if future legislation could increase the regularly standards applied to distribution centers.
  15. Ask state officials to clarify whether any state agency has or will issue permits for CD38 distribution facilities. (Section 7 of the CLPCA states the following: “In considering and issuing permits, licenses, and other administrative approvals and decisions, including but not limited to the execution of grants, loans, and contracts, all state agencies, offices, authorities, and divisions shall consider whether such decisions are inconsistent with or will interfere with the attainment of the statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits established in article 75 of the environmental conservation law. Where such decisions are deemed to be inconsistent with or will interfere with the attainment of the statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits, each agency, office, authority, or division shall provide a detailed statement of justification as to why such limits/criteria may not be met, and identify alternatives or greenhouse gas mitigation measures to be required where such project is located.”)
  16. Ask academics who study last mile distribution centers to explain ways of mitigating the negative impacts of these facilities.
  17. Ask environmental justice organizations like UPROSE for suggestions on how to mitigate the negative impacts of these facilities.
  18. Reach out to UPS and all other developers behind these projects, as well as announced tenants like Amazon, and ask them to provide detailed information on the projected traffic, air quality, and economic impacts of these projects. (Last July, an Amazon spokesperson declined to address several related questions, but did provide information on the company’s announced commitment to decarbonize its operations by 2040.)

— Posted by JVS on 5.9.21

4.21.21 – Release: “Speaker Johnson Announces Package of Bills to Support Smart, Safe and Sustainable Deliveries in New York City”

The below press release was issued by City Council Speaker Cory Johnson on 4.21.21. A PDF version with links to the legislation was shared with me by Councilperson Carlos Menchaca’s office, and is available here. Councilperson Menchaca’s office shared that document as a follow-up to a CB7 meeting on 5.6.21 about the last mile distribution centers planned for CD38.

# # # # #

Speaker Johnson Announces Package of Bills to Support Smart, Safe and Sustainable Deliveries in New York City

City Hall – City Council Speaker Corey Johnson  announced today that the Council will introduce and hear a legislative package for smart, safe, and sustainable deliveries sponsored by Speaker Johnson Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez, Antonio Reynoso, Carlina Rivera, and Keith Powers.

It includes a bill to create a pilot program for micro-distribution centers to stop trucks from using our sidewalks and streets for hours on end to unload their goods, as well as a bill to expand commercial loading zones citywide. Another bill calls for the City to redesign its truck routes to make them safer and less polluting, especially in Brown and Black environmental justice communities. A detailed list of the package, which includes six bills and one resolution, is below.

The Council is also announcing today it is commissioning a study by transportation economist Charles Komanoff to evaluate the feasibility and benefits of  charging vehicles delivering e-commerce products for time they occupy our streets and roads.

In recognition of how disruptive online retail has been to our streets and brick-and-mortar stores, the study will explore how a congestion-based charge can promote shifts from e-commerce back to New York City’s local businesses. The study will also explore ways to “right-size” delivery vehicles and packaging, and encourage smarter last-mile logistics in order to reduce emissions, congestion and waste. Fees from these potential policy changes could be used to finance transportation improvements.

About 90% of the 365 million tons of cargo brought into New York City each year comes in by truck. By 2045, trucks will be carrying upwards of 540 million tons of cargo into the City each year, creating even more conflicts and competition for space on our streets.

Many of these trucks are performing essential services for New York City’s residents and businesses, but they can also have serious negative impacts on our neighborhoods with respect to congestion, emissions, and health and safety hazards, with a disproportionate burden falling on low-income communities of color. Trucks account for roughly 13 percent of the City’s transportation emissions, 12 percent of vehicle traffic, and at least 12 percent of pedestrian deaths as the result of traffic crashes.

In recognition of growing conflicts on our congested streets, the Council reviewed the sustainable freight solutions from cities around the world, including  LondonParisOsloBuenos Aires, and D.C. to find proposals that could work in New York City.

Drawing from those best practices, the Council’s Smart, Safe & Sustainable Deliveries legislative package will create sufficient, dedicated space for commercial vehicles to get trucks and packages out of our City’s bus lanes, bike lanes, and sidewalks. It will also ensure trucks are paying their fair share for curbside parking, and increase the efficiency of commercial deliveries to better serve our small businesses and residents.

“Even before COVID-19 led to an explosion in online shopping, we had more truck traffic in New York City than our congested streets could handle. But the City hasn’t holistically addressed the increasing amount of truck traffic we’re seeing, or the problems of idling and double parking. We need to get trucks out of our bus and bike lanes and to incentivize safer, low-emission modes of transportation, and reduce vehicle miles travelled. We also need to ensure these e-commerce businesses are paying their fair share, which is why we’re commissioning a study on how the City can use congestion pricing models to shift some of this online shopping back to the stores we know and love, while reducing truck trips and emissions. I’m proud of this package, and confident we can make our streets safer and less congested while working to help our local businesses,” said Speaker Corey Johnson. With this package of bills, the Council has also committed to pass Intro 1141-2018, relating to the City’s stipulated fine and commercial abatement programs, which allows participating freight companies to pay a lower amount on parking tickets they accrue while making deliveries. With a commitment to amend and pass this bill, the Council will ensure that the City is prohibited from reducing trucks’ fines where such reductions undercut the City’s vision zero and accessibility goals.

Smart, Safe, & Sustainable Deliveries Bill Package

1.     Sustainable Micro-Distribution Centers (the Speaker):  This bill would require DOT to pilot a dozen 800 square-foot micro-distribution centers for the purpose of transferring goods from commercial vehicles to sustainable modes of transportation such as electric vehicles, cargo bikes, and hand trucks for the end of its journey. The micro-distribution centers will create dedicated space for delivery companies to stage deliveries and optimize last-mile routes, while simultaneously getting them off of the streets and sidewalks, incentivizing sustainable modes of transportation, and improving street safety. One year after the implementation of the pilot, DOT would be required to make recommendations for the program’s expansion.

2.     Commercial Loading Zone Reform (Council Member Powers): This bill will require all commercial loading zones to be metered to ensure commercial vehicles are paying their fair share for their use of the curb, extend the number of hours that commercial vehicles can park in loading zones from 3 to 8 hours to reduce the practice of unnecessary idling, hovering, and double-parking to avoid fines while drivers make deliveries, prohibit placard parking in commercial loading zones below 60th street in Manhattan, and require the maintenance of temporary commercial loading zones where construction staging occupies or otherwise prevents the use of existing commercial loading zone.

3.     Expand commercial loading zones citywide (Council Member Reynoso): This bill would require DOT to ensure that no less than 25% of available curb space is dedicated to loading zones in both densely populated neighborhoods and neighborhoods with commercial and manufacturing uses. This standard would ensure that DOT assesses the need for additional commercial vehicle loading zones and creates sufficient space for deliveries and servicing trips in the City’s densest neighborhoods.

4.     Require large commercial buildings to submit and implement “Delivery and Servicing Plans” (Council Member Rivera): This bill would require owners of large commercial buildings to submit and implement Delivery and Servicing Plans to the Department of Buildings (DOB) on an annual basis. At a minimum, the building owners would be required to provide access to on-site loading and unloading locations and storage rooms, and implement either a delivery reservation system or off-hour deliveries for the building’s suppliers and vendors. In addition, the building owners would be required to survey tenants to identify and implement other truck traffic mitigation measures, including but not limited to the consolidation of vendors, cooperative procurement and the use of off-site consolidation centers. The bill would also require DOB to create an Office of Sustainable Delivery Systems to provide technical assistance to building owners, including a step-by-step guide, with respect to developing, amending, implementing and evaluating the plans.

5.     Require the construction of secure package rooms in new and significantly renovated residential buildings (Council Member Reynoso): This bill would require developers of new residential buildings  to create a secure package storage area on the ground floor of the building. This requirement would also apply to residential buildings undergoing significant reconstruction or renovations.

6.     Require DOT to redesign NYC’s truck routes (Council Member Rodriguez): This bill would require DOT to redesign the City’s truck routes in partnership with key stakeholders and opportunities for public comment to improve safety, increase visibility, reduce traffic congestion and emissions, increase efficiency, reduce vehicle miles traveled, and reduce negative health and safety impacts on residents and workers.

7.     Resolution in Support of the New York State Legislature’s Legalization of Cargo Bikes (Council Member Rodriguez): This resolution would support the New York State legislature’s legalization of cargo bicycles to promote the adoption of safe and sustainable modes of delivery on New York City streets, while reducing congestion, vehicle miles travelled, and emissions.

“The quick and efficient movement of freight is critical to both the City’s economy and quality of life,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Too often our streets get clogged and our bike lanes get blocked due to double parked delivery vehicles, creating dangerous and frustrating conditions for cyclists and vehicles. Furthermore, idling delivery vehicles, and the vehicles that get trapped behind them, pollute our air with hazardous pollutants. The introduction of today’s package will go a long way toward rationalizing how our street space is allocated, improving the ability of freight, cyclists, and vehicles to move through our streets, as well as the quality of our air. I applaud Speaker Johnson for pushing forward with this important package and I look forward to its swift passage.”

“I consistently hear from constituents regarding the onslaught of deliveries and package sorting on our streets and sidewalks. Commercial Loading Zone Reform will make the delivery process more efficient, ensuring there is enough dedicated space for deliveries while requiring trucks to pay their fair share for using street space. I am glad to partner with Speaker Johnson on legislation that addresses a pain-point for many New Yorkers,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “The increase in online shopping and deliveries brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has only made it clearer that the way we handle freight and shipping in most American cities just isn’t working for our 21st century economy. That’s why I’m proud to join Speaker Johnson and my colleagues in supporting this legislative package, which includes my bill to require large commercial buildings to develop ‘Delivery and Servicing Plans.’ These building-wide plans will ensure that deliveries to tenants are managed more efficiently and limit impacts to our streetscape, our neighbors, and our environment,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.  

“Proud to join Speaker Corey Johnson in introducing 2 bills ensuring our trucks are running more sustainably and safely in New York City. By requiring DOT to partner with stakeholders and the public to redesign our City’s truck roads, we’ll be improving safety, increasing efficiency, reducing traffic and emissions produced by trucks, among much more. We need a transportation plan that prioritizes the safety of pedestrians and cyclists,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “Intro 1141, will ensure that trucks are respecting the city’s vision zero and accessibility goals. Trucks should not be illegally parked on our bus or bike lanes, blocking pedestrian ramps, or parked on spots reserved for people with disabilities. I look forward to continuing to work alongside Speaker Corey Johnson, my colleagues at the Council, and advocates to ensure we’re making the City the safest most pedestrian, and cyclists-friendly city in the nation.”

# # # # #

— Posted by JVS on 5.8.21, backdated to 4.21.21

4.17.21 – Data: 26-15 Boody St. measured at 0.83 vehicle trips/minute

Amazon operates a last mile distribution center at 26-15 Boody St. in Queens. The facility is 83,000 square feet, according to Qns.com.

On 4.17.21 (a Saturday), I counted vehicle trips into and out of the facility from 1:20pm to 2:40pm. During those 80 minutes, I counted a total of 67 trips, for an average rate of 0.83 trips per minute. The data I collected is available here, and is also presented below. As you can see, 32 of the trips occurred during the first 20 minutes. After that, the traffic slowed significantly.

snip (19)

— Posted by JVS on 4.17.21

4.10.21 – Menchaca spokesperson says Councilperson “is against last-mile occurring without any real community oversight, participation, or control”

Below is a series of emails I recently exchanged with Anthony Chiarito, a spokesperson for Councilman Carlos Menchaca. The emails concern the five last-mile distribution centers planned for Council District 38 (four in Red Hook, and one in Sunset Park). Mr. Chiarito confirmed that the emails were on-the-record, though he noted that, “they reflect my words not the Council Member’s.

Email from JVS to Councilperson Menchaca’s office, March 28: 

I had one other distribution center-related question. I read this in today’s WSJ: 

“Because of Red Hook’s zoning, delivery hubs can be built with no special permits or environmental-impact studies required. Mr. Menchaca and other locals have been calling on the city to amend the neighborhood’s zoning. They are also pushing for a comprehensive traffic study and a moratorium on new last-mile warehouses until the potential impact on the neighborhood has been studied.” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/last-mile-amazon-and-ups-hubs-raise-concerns-in-brooklyn-enclave-11616932801

I would like to know what specifically the Councilman has asked for regarding: 
– amendments to the neighborhood’s zoning
– a comprehensive traffic study
– a moratorium on new last-mile warehouses

Also, I would like to understand which government agencies these requests have been made to, and whether there’s any associated documentation you could share. 

Response from Spokesperson Anthony Chiarito, March 30:

Hi John, the Council Member has been asking the Department of Transportation to do a traffic study of how last-mile delivery will affect Red Hook since at least 2018. More than a traffic study is needed of course – a fuller understanding of how last-mile will impact health, businesses, and industrial objectives are also necessary, but we thought getting a traffic study at minimum would be doable.

However, DOT was moving slower than we hoped, so around Feb 2019 we asked DOT if they would supervise a traffic study conducted by local non-profits with funding from UPS, as a way of getting some baseline data on just the impact their one warehouse would have on the neighborhood. There was some initial interest from DOT, but ultimately they told us they were working on a more comprehensive Smart Truck Management Plan, which was due for publication end of 2020. But it hasn’t been published yet or shared with our offices. Meanwhile, as you know, Amazon and other last-mile delivery companies are buying up properties all over NYC. 

So we continue to push for seeing the final Smart Truck Management Plan and any other studies/reports associated with last-mile delivery. On the zoning amendment/special permit front, Council Member Menchaca supports the City creating a special permit for last-mile delivery and requiring private property owners to obtain the permit if they seek to use last-mile facilities in certain zoning, similar to how the City created a special hotel permit. We have had some conversations with the Land Use Division about it, specifically around how to create the permit and the practicalities associated with that. It would require a ULURP application, because it is a zoning change, and the attending EIS would cost tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars. For that reason, the de Blasio Administration has no interest in doing it since it’s not already a priority for them, unlike the special hotel permits they created. And the Council rarely submits their own ULURP applications, because of the EIS costs. The Speaker would have to prioritize it, and so far, he’s noncommittal, which has been frustrating. Another option is creating a new license which DCWP administers for last-mile delivery. But here the only hoop a company would have to jump through is administrative, whereas seeking a special permit would entail ULURP each time, meaning public hearings, so it’s less ideal.

A moratorium is something Council Member Menchaca believes strongly in should the Administration prove incapable or unwilling to study the impacts of last-mile delivery. But because of DOTs responsiveness, and because DOT appears to have put a lot of work into the Smart Truck Management Plan, he’s not ready to make this demand primary unless the Plan appears totally inadequate or poorly executed.

I recommend you contact DOT and UPS to confirm what I’m saying about conversations regarding these topics. And of course if you or anyone else in the district has ideas for how we can confront last-mile delivery we would love to talk about it.

Follow-up email from JVS to Councilman Menchaca’s office, March 30:

1) Has DOT explained if the Smart Truck Management Plan will include new regulations for last-mile facilities? If so, were you given any information about what those regulations would be? And would they need to be passed by the Council and signed by the mayor, or would they go into effect through another mechanism?

2) You mentioned three potential courses of action: creation of a special permit; a new license administered by DCWP; and a moratorium. If any of these approaches became law, would that apply to the five last mile facilities already planned or under construction in CD 38? Or would they only apply to future facilities?

Response from Anthony Chiarito, March 30:

1) We are unsure if the Smart Truck Management Plan will include regulations for last-mile facilities. Our impression was that the study would primarily identify new routes to reduce truck traffic and more locations to accommodate loading/unloading. You could consider those regulations in a sense, as DOT would command where and how trucks travel. But the most important thing is that the study would collect enough citywide data to create a baseline understanding of how much freight these new facilities will create to justify new regulatory policies. See here and here for presentations we received to get a sense of how DOT conceives the study. 

To answer your general questions about how such regulations could be implemented, it depends on what they are for whether the Administration could act unilaterally or require Council legislation. For instance, the Mayor can regulate where trucks load/unload and what routes they must take through DOT. The Mayor can also direct the City Planning Commission to submit a ULURP application to create a special permit, just as they did for the special hotel permit. The Council can also do this, or pass legislation to impose something like a license. Any legislation would either require the Mayor’s signature, or if after 30 days the Mayor does not sign it or veto it, the legislation automatically becomes law.

2) A special permit would not apply retroactively. The Zoning Resolution of the City of New York does not allow it, but also it would likely invite lawsuits, since property owners would argue it was a “taking” i.e. an infringement on their constitutional property rights. But it would apply to any future property. I have to check about licenses, but I think they could be retroactive, possibly with a stipulated grace period for existing facilities to get one. I’m not sure a moratorium could shut down already existing facilities, but perhaps. Something else I can get back to you on.

Response from JVS to Councilperson Menchaca’s office, April 2:

…At the end of your first message, you wrote, “if you or anyone else in the district has ideas for how we can confront last-mile delivery we would love to talk about it.” Is it therefore correct to say that the Councilman is against these last-mile projects and would like them to be halted, if possible?

Response from Anthony Chiarito, April 4:

…He is against last-mile occurring without any real community oversight, participation, or control. Right now, the City has no sense of what the effect of these facilities will be nor has the City honored the requests of Red Hook residents and organizations to study their potential impact. Without that understanding, he cannot endorse what is happening.

— Posted by JVS on 4.10.21