Generic white delivery truckBy Dawn Miller

I’ve developed an odd new habit the past year. When walking, biking, or riding shotgun in the car, I take photos of delivery vehicles double-parking. At times I capture drivers trying to maneuver around the double-parked vehicles, sometimes ever-so-carefully nosing into oncoming traffic. I also take photos of delivery vehicles blocking crosswalks and ADA ramps. If I’m fast enough, my photo captures the pedestrians who’ve been forced into traffic to move around these vehicles.

I also notice the delivery trucks that have managed to find a pretty good place to pull over.  Sometimes it’s in designated loading space. Sometimes it’s not, but the location is reasonably safe and not interfering with anyone else’s safe travels. I want to give these drivers a socially distanced high five, but they would probably think I was nuts.

Although there’s a natural tendency to ascribe a person’s choices to their individual character or values, my belief is that there isn’t a major difference in moral character between drivers loading legally as compared to those loading illegally. I don’t believe the crosswalk blockers care less about pedestrian safety than other drivers do. What they are doing is reacting to their environment: the pressures placed on them by their employers, and the availability and discoverability of safe and legal loading options.

The good news is that as public servants and parking industry professionals, we have tools to improve this environment. We can use pricing, smart regulation, and technology to create the best set of options we can for commercial drivers, making their jobs easier while improving mobility for everyone else. As more and more people have begun to understand  the impact of deliveries on our streets, it is an ideal time for us to implement best practices and new technologies.

Dawn Miller is vice president for policy and partnerships at Coord. She will present on this topic at IPMI’s Mobility and Innovation Summit, online, Feb. 24-25.  For details and to register, click here.