Dec. 3, 2019 By Allie Griffin
Council Member Costa Constantinides, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and transportation activists joined together Monday to call for an end to the city’s program that lessens parking fines for delivery trucks.
On the steps of City Hall, the elected officials and activists demanded an end to the Stipulated Fine Program, which they say gives delivery trucks a free pass to block bike lanes, fire hydrants, crosswalks and handicapped parking spots for a discounted ticket rate, which can sometimes be as low as nothing.
Critics of the 15-year-old program say that it fails to hold truck drivers accountable for creating unsafe streets, filling them with unprecedented traffic that in turn fills the air with more harmful car exhaust.
There are more than 1,000 participants in the program–including companies such as FedEx, UPS and Verizon–who often block bike lanes. More than 52,000 violations were issued for blocking the bicycle lanes over a two-year period ending in July 2019, according to rally organizers. As a result, the program may have reduced nearly $800,000 in fines, they said.
More than one million packages are delivered throughout the city on an average day, according to officials.
The pols choose Cyber Monday to host the rally as the number of delivery trucks on the roads is expected to spike in the coming days as online shoppers take advantage of Monday’s deals. To deal with last year’s package rush, UPS alone hired an additional 10,000 seasonal workers nationwide, they said.
“Millions of packages bought on Cyber Monday will hit the streets over the next few weeks to create a safety nightmare,” Council Member Constantinides said. “We have seen more than 50,000 bike lane violations over a two-year period with little to no penalty for these companies.”
In October 2018, Constantinides introduced a bill to effectively abolish the Stipulated Fine Program and hold companies accountable for unsafe streets.
“Frankly, it’s sickening that we give delivery corporations a free pass to put people at risk,” he said. “Ending the Stipulated Fine Program will keep our cyclists and pedestrians safer, reduce the unprecedented traffic levels, and take useless, harmful truck exhaust out of our air.”
Speakers at the rally Monday said the program also causes greater air pollution with more and more delivery trucks on the road.