City transportation honchos will be transforming the streets of Bay Ridge with a fleet of new loading zones in the coming weeks — taking away parking spaces to allow temporary drop-off zones in an effort to deter double parking.
“The growth of e-commerce deliveries on residential streets and for-hire vehicle trips throughout the city have changed the way New Yorker’s use our curbs,” the city Department of Transportation’s website says. “As demands on the City’s limited amount of curb space continues to grow, trucks, delivery vehicles, and personal vehicles need safe ways to access the curbs while not blocking traffic, including on bus routes or in bike lanes.”
The new dedicated spaces for temporary idling will count toward a law enacted by the City Council in November 2021 mandating that the DOT install 500 neighborhood loading zones on residential streets across the city. There are currently 146 such spaces already in place throughout the Five Boroughs.
Neighborhood loading zones are mostly in effect between 7 am and 7 pm on weekdays, and otherwise serve as a regular parking spot.
When in effect, the spaces are intended to be used by vehicles expeditiously dropping something off, such as groceries or passengers.
“Passenger vehicles can’t park there, you have to expeditiously, and that is the key word expeditiously load or unload,” said Dean Rasinya. “Which basically means you can’t leave your car, you can’t park there, walk into the doctor’s office to drop somebody off and come out again, you are subject to violation, so you can as long as you are with your vehicle loading or unloading.”
Unlike typical “No Parking” signs, the DOT’s markers for neighborhood loading zones are blue, with a cartoon image of a person carrying a box, with text announcing the space’s intended purpose.
When neighborhood loading zones were introduced in nearby Park Slope in Jan 2021, neighbors claimed they were blindsided with the new installation and the disappearance of parking spaces, which they say occurred overnight.
This time, the city transportation agency presented the neighborhood loading zone plan to Bay Ridge’s Community Board 10 in June 2021, and subsequently opened up an online suggestion portal to field location from the community — which they received a total of 86 suggestions from the community.
Using a combination of the community’s input and their own analyses, the DOT returned to the board’s Transportation Committee in January with 31 locations focused around narrow streets, roads with bike lanes, and heavily populated residential blocks throughout Bay Ridge — saying the new zones would prevent double parking, and therefore congestion.
While the project does not require the community board’s approval to move forward, the Transportation Committee received the full board’s consent to issue a letter to the city transportation agency with a list of requests on the rollout of the new loading zones.
The letter will ask the DOT to consider rolling out the project incrementally over several months, shortening the zones’ active hours to 8 am to 6 pm, reducing the number of sites to one neighborhood loading zone per block, conducting a public outreach campaign on the new program, better signage, implement loading zone coloration at the curb, and releasing a data feedback report to the board six months after installation.
Installation of the new loading zones was expected to commence this month, according to the community board, but the project has been moved to early spring and will be rolled out incrementally as the community board has requested, according to a transportation department spokesperson, who added that the rest of the board’s asks are still under consideration.
The plan raised only small discussion from the board, with only one member of the community board voicing her suspicions that it won’t curb double parking for deliveries, and instead will only further limit parking spaces for residents.
“I look at this and I say okay more places not to park and who is going to make these trucks that are making deliveries go to those spaces, especially Amazon trucks. They’re in private cars now they just stop wherever,” said Barbara Vellucci. “And I just think it’s going to be more spaces for us not to go into, and it’s not going to do anything for the deliveries, they’re not going to pay attention to it.”
Update (Feb. 8, 11:25 am): This story has been updated to include additional information provided by the city Department of Transportation.