NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City will allow delivery companies like Amazon, DHL and UPS to park cargo bikes in commercial loading zones to crack down on trucks and vans packed with online packages gridlocking streets.
The popularity of online shopping, particularly noticeable during the holiday season, has significantly increased the number of trucks on city streets - creating traffic and pollution.
Officials hope the Commercial Cargo Bike Program will reduce traffic by bringing an estimated 100 cargo bikes from major delivery companies to the city's most crowded streets in Midtown and Lower Manhattan.
"New Yorkers demand immediate results, whether that's getting a package delivered or getting around the city," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "This is an exciting new program that will help cut congestion on our streets and speed up deliveries, all while reducing vehicle emissions."
The cargo bikes will be permitted to park in hundreds of existing commercial loading areas typically reserved for trucks and vans.
The bikes will not have to pay meters, and smaller cargo bikes will be allowed to park on wider sidewalks.
It will be the first time the city has specifically promoted cargo bikes as an alternative to delivery trucks.
As has been the case with many of the city's recent traffic initiatives, this is already practiced in European cities like Paris, London, Dublin, and Hamburg, Germany, where UPS introduced cargo bikes in 2012.
Companies participating in the program must abide by:
--Size limits for sidewalk parking and that walkways be kept clear and in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Ac
--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.
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New York City to allow delivery companies to use cargo bikes in commercial loading zones