Fresh Direct Counters Complaints With One Of Its Own: City Hasn't Responded To The Need For More Loading Zone Spaces

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There seems to be a delivery dilemma on the Upper West Side.

Drivers say Fresh Direct trucks are hogging the prime parking spots, forcing them to double-park, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported Thursday.

Deliveryman Anthony DiPace had his truck double-parked on Amsterdam Avenue near 82nd Street. He was not alone. Up and down the Upper West Side, FedEx, UPS and more do the same thing.

DiPace said he has no choice.

“It’s tough out here, you know?” he said.

Residents and merchants on the Upper West Side are annoyed by delivery trucks taking up parking spaces for long periods of time. (Photo: CBS2)

He was waiting for a legal two-hour spot that he thought was sure to open up soon because it was occupied by a truck from Fresh Direct.

But it only moved when a second Fresh Direct truck came to take its place.

“They should not be allowed to do that. Move your truck when you’re done loading. Get out of here,” DiPace said.

CBS2’s Carlin went to ask the Fresh Direct driver why the previous truck held on to the space so long — from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. — and then he took it over.

“I don’t wanna talk. I don’t wanna talk,” the driver said.

Upper West Side residents and merchants say e-commerce, with deliveries to our doorsteps, seem to make matters grow worse and worse.

“The street is almost completely taken up by trucks,” resident Marlene Rodriguez said.

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Even when they manage to find legitimate parking like at 93rd and Amsterdam, the trucks often stay for long periods of time, dropping anchor, and residents say it’s because they’re creating makeshift distribution centers.

At Tuesday’s meeting of Community Board 7’s Transportation Committee, Fresh Direct’s Larry Scott Blackmon, the company’s vice president of public affairs, tried to tackle neighbor concerns head on, saying the city has so far not heard the pleas for more loading zone spaces.

When Fresh Direct drivers must double-park, they join similar businesses in paying off tickets as a cost of doing business.

But what about taking over a single parking spot, all day long?

“I’ll tell you we adhere to all laws of parking. If it’s one hour standing, we move,” said Blackmon, adding when told by one man that’s not true, “I will tell you that we try our best.”

Residents want the city to fix this.

“It obviously requires good enforcement and some of you know we have been doing some experimenting with clear curbs in Midtown, and it’s a challenge,” Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

City leaders say they will pursue a plan for more dedicated spaces to combine with tougher enforcement.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said one possible solution is banning deliveries at certain times of the day.