This is going to change things … expeditiously!
In a bombshell rule changed announced in a tweet this morning, the Department of Transportation revealed that starting in 30 days, truckers can no longer double-park if they are making “expeditious” deliveries — vague, easily-flouted language that had effectively made it impossible to crack down on double-parking.
To be clear, the importance of the rule change is buried in bureaucratic language massaged by teams of lawyers, but here are the basics:
- The old rule allows truckers to double-park “while expeditiously making pickups, deliveries or service calls.” The new law says truckers can double-park “for no more than 20 minutes while actively engaged in loading or unloading goods, tools, materials, or other items for the purpose of making pickups, deliveries or service calls.”
The old rule had no language about trucks that block roadways. The new law makes it clear: “No person shall double-park a commercial vehicle when it blocks the only lane of travel in the same direction. No person shall stand, stop or park a vehicle on a street at any time in such a manner or under such conditions as to leave fewer than 10 feet of roadway width available for the free movement of vehicular traffic.”
- The old rule bars commercial double-parking in a Midtown zone bordered by 14th Street, First Avenue, 60th Street and Eighth Avenue. The new rule expands the zone all the way to 12th Avenue. As now, the new rule allows double-parking on Sundays.
- The old rule would allow a vehicle or “combination of vehicles” to double-park in Midtown if they were making “expeditious” deliveries. The new rule takes out the permission for companies to use multiple vehicles and also reiterates that the delivery workers must be “actively engaged in loading or unloading goods, tools, materials, or other items for the purpose.”
The rule change dates back to a “Clear Lanes” promise quietly unveiled by Mayor de Blasio back in October, 2017. The mayor is also expected to announce more truck restrictions in the coming days.
Cycling advocates hailed the new rules, given that double-parked trucks have forced riders into traffic, where several have been killed, but also cautioned about its limits.
“We strongly support DOT’s rule change,” said Jon Orcutt of Bike New York. “But as with anything in NYC traffic law, it’s will only be as significant as the enforcement that follows. When Tolstoy said, ‘Writing laws is easy, but governing is difficult,’ he was clearly thinking about the streets of New York.”
The reference is to famed Russian author Lev Tolstoy, who serialized his most famous novel “War and Peace” in 1865, when double-parking meant horses and carriages. His later non-fiction work, “What is to be Done?” could certainly be seen as a warning about the capitalist, delivery-enabled future.
“But yet the village is the source of all wealth and it is only there that real wealth is to be found: grain, and timber, and horses, and everything,” he wrote. “Why come to town to obtain what is in the country?”
Streetsblog has reached out to DHL, Amazon, UPS and the United States Postal Service — repeat offenders — and will update this story if we hear back. This is a breaking story.
New City Rule Tells Truckers: Don’t Even THINK of Double-Parking Here!