UNDER WITHERING CRITICISM, FRESH DIRECT EXECS DEFEND COMPANY’S ‘TRUCKED UP’ PARKING METHODS

FDtruck
A FreshDirect truck parked at 98th street and Amsterdam Avenue. Photo by Joy Bergmann.

By Joy Bergmann

Fresh Direct operations honcho Ian Moran was likely wishing for deliverance of a different sort while fielding questions about his company’s business model from Community Board 7’s Transportation Committee Tuesday evening.

“Could your business exist if you were operating according to our traffic laws?” asked committee member Richard Robbins.

Robbins, other CB7 members and local residents have criticized Fresh Direct’s “depot” distribution model in which 24-foot trucks occupy commercial parking spaces for long periods – up to 8 hours – while runners distribute groceries in a multi-block radius.

Fresh Direct has three such depots on the UWS. Though the exact spots rotate, trucks tend to cluster near 108th and Amsterdam, 87th and Broadway, and 60th and Broadway, the company said.

Given that commercial parking regulations limit such spots to stays of one or sometimes three hours, and Fresh Direct trucks occupy the spaces for much longer, running diesel-powered refrigeration units throughout that time, “Could your business exist if you weren’t doing that?” repeated Robbins.

“Absolutely not,” said Moran. But, “the alternative is I put nine (smaller, 16-foot, single-worker, routed) trucks on the side streets,” for every depot truck. This smaller truck model would be similar to what UPS uses and would result in multiple trucks needing to double-park during an eight-hour shift.

A lengthy discussion regarding the “new math” of these logistical choices ensued. WSR has chosen not to attempt to transcribe it other than to echo committee member Suzanne Robotti’s assessment, “It’s trucked up!” Interested readers may view it starting at time-code 2:11:10 of the meeting video here.

Plenty of Upper West Siders clearly love Fresh Direct’s convenience and just-in-time freshness. Commercial loading zone capacity has not kept up with our Internet economy’s expanding delivery demands. The company has “looked into” possibly renting storefronts to serve as its depots. But, as committee co-chair Daniel Zweig pointed out, those are zoned for retail establishments, not warehouses.

Moran emphasized Fresh Direct’s desire to be an asset to the community. With the depot model, “We’ve reduced the number of trucks on the streets, contributing less emissions, reducing congestion and noise,” he said, adding that his trucks do not idle, have technology that shuts off engines after three minutes. Any drivers who idle face termination. The noise people might hear from trucks is the sound of a separate, smaller engine powering the refrigeration unit, he said.

CB7 member Mark Diller took issue with that, saying the company is violating the spirit of the idling law by running a refrigerator that may create more emissions than, say, a passenger car with an idling motor.

“We are 100 percent compliant with the idling laws as written,” countered Moran.

Moran conceded that parking violations are the cost of doing business with the depot model. When commercial loading zones have time limits, “We try to stick to that. And when we fail, we get a ticket…an expense we’d rather not have.” But also a lesser expense than ordinary folks might pay for a similar infraction.

Not mentioned during the meeting was Fresh Direct’s participation in the city’s “Stipulated Fine Program”, which – according to proposed legislation to end it – is a two-tiered justice system for parking tickets allowing commercial vehicles to be fined at reduced or even zero rates, if companies agree not to contest the tickets.

“Like many New York City companies, we are involved in the program,” confirmed Amanda Cortese Vogel, a public relations director at Fresh Direct. The company would not disclose the number of tickets it received in 2015.

Committee co-chair Andrew Albert attempted to bring the group to some cohesive conclusions, “We’ve raised a lot of good issues here.” Albert urged the three attending Fresh Direct representatives to, “Make it more school friendly and neighborhood friendly. Vary the (depot) locations. And tell drivers not to double-park.”

Richard Robbins found such directives inadequate. “We shouldn’t turn a blind eye to those violating our laws and driving our supermarkets out of business.”

Supermarkets, Robbins noted, that pay rent. By his math, each depot truck consumes 256 square feet of streetscape [24 foot trailer, 8 foot cab, 8 feet wide]. With commercial rents running at $250 per square foot, he calculated that each truck would be paying $64,000 a month in rent if operating as a retail enterprise.

NEWS | 82 comments | permalink
    1. ron shapley says:

      In the end of arguments, you have to concede, New York is a shithole !!

    2. Our 1961 zoning laws are obsolete and do not cater to new business models. We add to the problem by implementing amendments to prevent the popular new business models.

      In most cases older buildings cannot have loading docks that accommodate delivery businesses in residential districts. We need more varied types and larger retail space at competitive prices.

      The government solution is always way behind in solving the problem and may create unintended consequences which can worsen conditions in the community.

    3. Zulu says:

      You’re barking up the wrong tree here. Fresh Direct is playing by the rules. If having parked trucks on the streets with running refrigeration units going all day long is what you want to eliminate you have to change the rules.

      Some of the rules that need to change:
      -Allow warehouse operations within the city, particularly for food distribution.
      -Increase non moving violations to dissuade double parking and overextended parking on commercial areas.
      -Institute congestion pricing and tolls on the east river bridges.

      Fresh Direct is not going away, they are making money filling in a niche in the market. And they are doing it legally also. Change the rules and you change the behavior.

      • dannyboy says:

        Legally?

        Then why all the Summonses?

        • Pedestrian says:

          Exactly!

        • Zulu says:

          Well yes, legally is a bit of a stretch. But you would have to agree that parking summonses are not really a crime, right?. They’re indeed gaming the system and the system appears to be catering to them by lowering the penalties for their infractions. So if people want change they have to pressure City government and not Fresh Direct. Particularly since it appears that the City is endorsing their business plan by giving them a break on the summonses.

          • dannyboy says:

            “Well yes, legally is a bit of a stretch. But you would have to agree that parking summonses are not really a crime, right?.”

            It is not legal. FD is not ethical. Refrigeration units too????????????

            I’d suggest boycotting, but just too many people want to get their food from the computer.

    4. Eddie says:

      I don’t really like the sight of these big trucks idling and taking up space. But I also want my Fresh Direct groceries to be reasonably priced and delivered quickly and fresh. Similarly, people constantly complain about the delivery guys on bikes riding too fast, yet if their Chinese food is 2 minutes late they throw a fit. You can’t have your egg rolls and eat them too…

      I think encouraging Fresh Direct to take one of the many empty stores in the neighborhood would be an ideal solution, but as noted in the article, this would likely involve some rezoning. Of course, the narrowing of Columbus and Amsterdam for bike lanes has made trucks loading and unloading on those blocks even more difficult, but that is a different conversation.

    5. Eli says:

      Easy solution to this, and many other problems; market rate parking for everyone, as alluded to in the article.

      • dannyboy says:

        Your neighbors are already competing with these parking violators.

        And now you want parking to go to only people with money?

        • anon says:

          parking goes to whoever will pay the going rate for it. This is NYC, not the suburbs. Having a car here is a luxury and not one, that as a taxpayer, I’m interested in subsidizing for anyone (rich, poor or anywhere in between).

          • dannyboy says:

            There a public areas that shouldn’t be monetized.This “money governs everything” is disturbing.

            • Zulu says:

              I disagree. As far as parking is concerned employing a market rate strategy (where the price of street parking varies based on demand)everyone benefits.
              There are many articles and case studies on this subject. Here’s one for reference: http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2014/04/3-enormous-benefits-charging-right-price-parking/8772/

            • dannyboy says:

              Zulu, again I am surprised that you provide links in the Comments. This is a Quality-of-Life Issue. Parking has existed since people stopped walking everywhere (think hitching posts, camel stations). Money is not always the optimal method of providing common amenities (think parks, sidewalks, etc).

            • Zulu says:

              Why are you surprised that I’m providing references? You’re not known for sarcasm so I’m miffed.
              I agree that it is a quality of life issue and hence my prior comments on directing the concerns to City Council. Unfortunately, it’s money that pays for parks and sidewalks. In the article I referenced it talks about how market rate parking precisely improves quality of life by reducing congestion and eliminating the need to endlessly circle around blocks to find a parking spot.

            • dannyboy says:

              Zulu, you are correct, I am not known for sarcasm, so I’ll expand on my statement. I enjoy our conversations, so I was surprised to find you linking to some academic study. Personally, I would prefer to read your comment.

              Our streets and sidewalks are public spaces. I am against putting a toll on their use. Rationing is fairly done on a’first’come-first-served’ basis.

              Monetizing public resources is a slippery slope. And “there goes the Neighborhood”.

            • dannyboy says:

              I can expand further to ensure you are not miffed by my Comment:

              “Unfortunately, it’s money that pays for parks and sidewalks.” – Zulu

              It is Public Money that pays for parks and sidewalks. No entrance fee to parks and no tolls to sidewalks.

            • Zulu says:

              I seriously doubt that implementing market rate parking meters will lead to entrance fees to public parks and tolls on sidewalks. I don’t think there is any precedent in any American city of this issue. Is that what you mean by “there goes the neighborhood”?

              Market rate parking meters has worked very well in San Francisco and Chicago. Both very dense cities like NYC. I think everybody can agree that NYC has a traffic problem. Traffic causes pollution which in turn causes health impacts on the population. A huge quality of life issue. Unfortunately, the Most vulnerable are the young and the elderly. So why not implement a solution that can alleviate the problem? After all, isn’t revenue from parking meters public money too?

            • dannyboy says:

              No, that is not what I meant by writing “There goes the neighborhood”. You did hit it on the head by offering S.F. and Chicago as your models. Chicago has $5 (and up) parking meters, now PRIVATELY run. So, not only can’t residents afford their own street, the money goes to profiteers.

            • dannyboy says:

              That Comment Sounded Like PR for Wall Street. Here’s some of that research stuff that you enjoy:

              “Chicago didn’t want to have to raise the taxes on real estate, especially on all of the expensive commercial real estate there. So the budget ran up a deficit. They needed money to pay the bond holders. And so they sold off the parking rights to have meters, you know, along the curbs, for the Chicago streets. Well, the result is that they sold to Goldman Sachs 75 years of the right to put up parking meters. So now, the cost of living and doing business in Chicago was raised by having to pay off the parking meters. If Chicago is going to have a parade or something, and block off the traffic, Chicago has to pay Goldman Sachs what it would have made if there wouldn’t have been closed off for a parade. And all of a sudden it’s much more expensive to live in Chicago because of this.

              “Chicago, which sold off its roads and its sidewalks and its parking meters to Goldman Sachs and to Wall Street, and all of a sudden the prices of parking, of driving, of living in Chicago went way, way up…

              “For example, now when Chicago does street repairs or closes streets for a festival, it must pay the private parking meter contractor for lost meter fares. Those payments put the contractors in a much better position than the government. It gets payments, even though Chicago did not get fares when it had to close streets…..

              “If you want to drive a car on a road, well, we’re putting up toll booths on the roads; we’re turning the roads into toll roads. If you want to park your car, we’re now putting parking meters on the sidewalks and the parking meters’ revenue’s sold off in Chicago to Wall Street for the next 30 or 40 years to get money to pay the interest to Wall Street now.

    6. Bruce Bernstein says:

      the article says that FreshDirect is NOT following existing parking rules.

      • Nathan says:

        Sure they are, though they’re gaming the rules. The rule is you can’t park somewhere otherwise you’ll get a fine. And they’re paying their fines. It’s not their fault the fines aren’t high enough to prevent them from sitting on a space for 8 hours.

        • sam says:

          exactly. They’ve done a cost-benefit analysis and determined that the cost of the fines is worth the benefit of being able to “park” on the street for that length of time.

          It’s what plenty of businesses do. We find it morally repugnant when such “costs of doing business” weighs such costs against, say, human lives, but traffic fines are really small potatoes in comparison.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          If a company continually violates the law and decides instead to pay the fine, they are not “following the rules.”

          let’s take as an example someone who continually jumps the turnstyle in the subway. Once every 100 times he/she gets caught and pays the fine. He / she comes out ahead.

          i don’t think anyone would say that the person was “following the law.”

          • Independent says:

            Off-topic but that reminds me of the time, almost a year ago now, that I saw a boy who looked to be around 13 or 14 duck under a turnstile with impunity. What was remarkable about it is that this boy was accompanied by a man who appeared to be his father and both of them appeared well-dressed, perfectly normal and at least middle-class. I can easily imagine this boy being already well on his way to a white collar criminal career.

      • Zulu says:

        It also says that the city is looking to reduce the parking fines to delivery vehicles.

        • PedestrianJustice says:

          Actually it says that some delivery vehicles already pay reduced fines. The State legislation is to eliminate different fine structures for commercial vehicles.

    7. geoff says:

      whatever UPS is doing surely can be done by any truckers who need to park while swampers deliver packages.

      • Upper West Side Wally says:

        And do not forget the idling and/or intersection blocking trucks from the USPS, FedEx, Verizon, TimeWarner, MTA, DHL, White Rose, and all those idling trucks at our all-time favorite ‘mom-and-pop stores’. Yes, they all provide a service to residents, so singling out Fresh Direct is a bit disingenuous.

    8. Pedestrian says:

      Corporations like Fresh Direct are abusing the laws and their employees as well as our neighborhood streets and yet nothing happens. They have the pen edits of ousting our streets as unpaid distribution points while local grocery doors have to pay rent and taxes and salaries. Why is the city so supine? I could posit as reading but the current on going investigations might give people a suspicion if not a clue.

      Imagine you order food and it sits in an open truck or on the street for hours. Doesn’t anyone think of these things.

      No bricks and mortar means no jobs. Wake up UWS you are part of the problem!

      • Pedestrian says:

        I see a number of crazy auto inserts that make no sense. My point is small businesses have obligations but Fresh Direct avoids all of thoses and uses our streets rather than paying rent. It’s time we started thinking about our small business community before its all gone.

    9. Debbie D. says:

      There is a market for this kind of service, otherwise it wouldnt be doing so well. It isnt going away. We can gripe about how its driving supermarkets away, but we arent keeping up with reality. Things are changing, traditional supermarkets in NYC arent as viable anymore. Ordering groceries, stores that fill specific markets (Trader Joes, Whole Foods) are going to reduce the number of supermarkets we have. Its life.

      Having these guys sitting there parked is not ideal. Clearly this is a problem, and none of the suggest solutions are working. Telling them “not to double park” is not going to work, look at the other millions of delivery trucks double parking.

      Realistically, I dont know what the solution is. Using storefronts sounds good, except then you have the double-parking problem all day in front of the store. Raising the price of violations will only raise the price of groceries. The company will still make enough $$ not to care. There has to be some solution that Fresh Direct sees as reasonably viable as well.

      And, to whoever talked about taking away jobs, who do you think is working for Fresh Direct? Those are good jobs (same for Amazon Fresh and Google Shopping).

      • Cato says:

        Very good points. Well said.

      • dannyboy says:

        “Those are good jobs (same for Amazon Fresh and Google Shopping).”

        Are they comparable to your “good job”? How do they compare to the Mom & Pops?

        • Zulu says:

          dannyboy, I don’t think it’s a matter of comparing which is the better job. I believe it’s a matter of adapting to a changing market. There’s a demand and somebody is going supply it. Unfortunately, in the process of doing business there are a number of citizen raised concerns that have enough weight that they should be addressed. This is where government needs to step in and work it out for everybody. That’s part of what government should do. We can cry until we’re all blue in the face but Fresh Direct and every other business with a similar business model will continue to operate as we turn into ground stumping blue berries.

          • dannyboy says:

            But Zulu it IS “a matter of comparing which is the better job”.

            You must know that this sort of centralization is causing payscales to decline to the minimum.

            • Zulu says:

              Well, it’s not like the mom and pop shops are known for providing career enhancement jobs either. If anything given the size of Fresh Direct I believe they have to provide health insurance to their employees. Can the mom and pop shops do that?

            • dannyboy says:

              Zulu, the ownership of small stores is economically more attractive than being a delivery person.

              As an example, the green grocers that were found along Broadway every few blocks provided a living income to owners. Owning a store is economically better.

              But you can encourage having delivery persons with Obamacare, if you believe that is a viable economic model.

              I don’t; which is why I shop at Schatzie the Butcher, Joon the Fish Market and Daily Farmers’ Markets.

            • Zulu says:

              It’s economically better for the owners, yes. But not everybody has the money to set up shop. Obamacare may or may not be sustainable, time will tell, but for the time being delivery personnel are employed and earning a living.

            • dannyboy says:

              Zulu, I support ownership of small businesses over large corporation with NO INTEREST in our neighborhood. You see it in FD’s unwillingness to stop violating our laws.

              You seem satisfied that ” for the time being delivery personnel are employed and earning a living.” I am not. FD has replaced scores of green grocers along Broadway. The UWS was well known for it’s food stores. Now we have a persistent law-breaking corp, indifferent to the harms perpetuated on the neighborhood, with the same food as any burb. I wish you had experienced Broadway’s food offerings.

        • sam says:

          what do you consider a “mom & pop”? Fairway? which is in bankruptcy after that ill-advised IPO and expansion? Food emporium? also bankrupt (or close to it) and completely gone from the city? the 1950s relic Pioneer? The bodegas, which despite their price gouging have largely been driven out of the UWS by designer t-shirt and mustard stores that no one shops in?

          I mean, those were the “local” places around me. And I seem to recall that several of them were investigated by the DOL and sued in a massive class action because they didn’t bother to pay the delivery people anything (ANYTHING!) for years, forcing them to rely solely on tips. So, you know, the nobility of the local store can be a bit…overrated.

          • dannyboy says:

            Dear Sam,

            No, I do not consider Fairway, Food Emporium or Pioneer as Moms and Pops.

            I would include Bodegas however, but differ with your assessment for their demise.

    10. lynn says:

      “Imagine you order food and it sits in an open truck or on the street for hours. Doesn’t anyone think of these things.

      No bricks and mortar means no jobs. Wake up UWS you are part of the problem!”

      The food is in refrigerated truck. The refrigeration units are running, and the engines are not idling. And as someone else just pointed out, FD provides employment for thousands of people.

      This is one of the most frustrating ‘arguments’ that I’ve read on this board, and I don’t understand how a FD truck parked anywhere is negatively impacting your personal lives.

      UPS trucks also sit on corners for an entire day and they’re ticketed and they pay those fines, yet I don’t see anyone here calling for a ban on package deliveries. Why are so many people annoyed that some of us are having our food delivered?

      • Cato says:

        Exactly. So many people are trying to find a solution, but no one has identified what the problem is.

        Other than the two or three people who would like to park their personal cars where the FreshDirect truck is parked, who is being harmed by the truck?

        I’m not one of those who advocate eliminating cars from Manhattan (though that’s a different issue). But there are far more people — residents of our neighborhood — being served by having the FreshDirect truck stationed in that space than would be served by making the space available for private cars.

        I can complain about changes in the neighborhood with the best of them, but I just don’t see what the gripe is here.

      • dannyboy says:

        Because the truck that is delivering your food is double-parked for hours. Read the article…then you won’t be so frustrated.

        • lynn says:

          I know where the truck parks that delivers my food and it is not, nor has it ever been, double parked nor is remotely near anyone’s window. Btw, this is the 2nd time a photo of an offending FD truck has been posted on the WSR and neither one of them has been double parked.

          • dannyboy says:

            Change “double-parked” to “ILLEGALLY parked”. Better?

            “I don’t understand how a FD truck parked anywhere is negatively impacting your personal lives.” The article, which I did read, indicates that our representatives have determined that FD violates our traffic laws. Evidently you are OK with that because, as you comment: “some of us are having our food delivered”!

            • lynn says:

              Once again, UPS sits on the corner all day and gets ticketed and pays the fines, as does FD. With everything going on in this neighborhood it’s beyond me why this has become an issue.

            • dannyboy says:

              A couple of reasons:

              (1) Violating the laws is not a business practice to be encouraged.

              (2) Turning our public spaces over to private use by commercial enterprises is not to be encouraged.

    11. Mary says:

      A truck, parked under your window for 8 hours, running diesel refrigeration units (without covers) is AWFUL!

      Why can’t the city help FD rent storefront depots?

      The drones are coming…

      • Zulu says:

        Part of the problem is that the city has systematically pushed food distribution centers out of the city to make room for higher tax paying developments. That’s why I keep saying that shaking the finger at Fresh Direct is not going to get anything changed. The finger needs to be shaken at City Council.

        • dannyboy says:

          I have Commented in the past about this ill-advised policy. Our food distribution will be at risk if this policy continues.

          P.S. I buy food at the Farmer’s Markets.

    12. Big Earl says:

      Could your business exist if you weren’t doing that?
      Absolutely not.

      So your business won’t survive if you abide by the laws. Great business model. Good riddance then! But where oh where could I ever get food if it’s not delivered to me? I’m gonna starve. What should I do? Go to a supermarket? A bodega? Life is soooooooo complicated.

      • Zulu says:

        Life is in fact complicated. This article is proof. Almost nothing is black and white as you implied by insinuating that food purchases can be or should be made simply by taking yourself to the local grocery store. Sure, that’s an option and a lot of people choose that method (myself included). However, the mere fact that there are close to nine food delivery businesses that service the city with this business model should be proof enough that there is a very strong demand for it and that the market is changing. Check this article out: http://www.ediblebrooklyn.com/2015/grocery-delivery-services-new-york-city/

        Fresh Direct might be the most prominent but they are definitely not the only one.

        • dannyboy says:

          “However, the mere fact that there are close to nine food delivery businesses that service the city with this business model should be proof enough that there is a very strong demand for it and that the market is changing.”

          So let ’em break the laws!!

          • Zulu says:

            Come on dannyboy, it’s an agreement with the city, you know that. The FD representative even mentioned that they are enrolled in the program. The city condones this activity.

            • dannyboy says:

              Zulu stop exaggerating! This has not been “agreed” nor “condoned”. You need to update the Community Board 7 if you have a copy of this secret agreement.

            • Zulu says:

              I’m not exaggerating it’s in black and white in the article above. Copy and pasted below for your convenience:

              “Not mentioned during the meeting was Fresh Direct’s participation in the city’s “Stipulated Fine Program”, which – according to proposed legislation to end it – is a two-tiered justice system for parking tickets allowing commercial vehicles to be fined at reduced or even zero rates, if companies agree not to contest the tickets.”

              It’s an agreement between the city and many other businesses like FD. The city is condoning the practice.

              The FD representative was then quoted stating the following:

              ““Like many New York City companies, we are involved in the program,” confirmed Amanda Cortese Vogel, a public relations director at Fresh Direct. The company would not disclose the number of tickets it received in 2015.”

              How am I exaggerating?

            • dannyboy says:

              You have again chosen to minimize FD’s flagrant violations of our laws.

              The “Stipulated Fine Program” was designed to maximize the use of the court’s time spent on minor parking violations. FD has again skirted this by racking up tickets and just leaving their truck parked forlong-periods, in your neighbor’s street, so some can have groceries delivered to their door. I can see why you defend these practices so vehemently.

              You want Mandatory Sentencing? Everyone can plea bargain.

          • dannyboy says:

            You are exaggerating by calling FD’s practice of parking for hours on end a part of some agreement or, in fact, condoned.

            What the article states “in black and white” is that FD participates in program of reduced fines in return for uncontested tickets.

            You must know that these are two very different things. They continue to flagrantly violate our laws.

            • Zulu says:

              Laws that are purposely weakened by a city program so that enrolled businesses pay less than the average citizen like you or me.

              In my book, that’s condoning.

            • dannyboy says:

              sorry to have originally posted this above:

              You have again chosen to minimize FD’s flagrant violations of our laws.
              The “Stipulated Fine Program” was designed to maximize the use of the court’s time spent on minor parking violations. FD has again skirted this by racking up tickets and just leaving their truck parked for long periods, in your neighbor’s street, so some can have groceries delivered to their door. I can see why you defend these practices so vehemently.

        • lynn says:

          Zulu thank you for posting the link to this article. These sound like great services! 🙂

    13. adami says:

      what the heck is happening with those east-side lanes shut down when crosswalks were widened not of 96th? There are blocks na blocks of wasted space. Make FD or someone pay rent for them?

    14. Greg says:

      This is a great example of life’s complications that can be a teachable moment. The debate is about trade offs, not absolutes so we can learn there is never a perfect answer to any issue. It might stop the moral preening if we look at problems that way. To whit in this case:

      Fresh Direct – convenience, competitive prices, high quality v trucks, mobile refrigeration pollution, not following letter of law (but seem to following spirit of law if using loading zones) – this is issue is a red herring anyway since parking laws have been treated by anyone and everyone as “flexible” since they were introduced (witness the proud UWS tradition of residents double parking for hours during atreet cleaning, many idling their cars on cold or hot days)

      Supermarkets – some convenience, ok prices, store front variety, maybe higher tax revenue for city v multiple double / illegally parked trucks for delivery, stationary refrigeration pollution, trash on the streets from boxes etc

      Bodegas – locational convenience v high prices, low quality food, stationary pollution, multiple double/illegally parked delivery trucks all day long

      I shop at all of these types of retailers for food and observe their neighborhood impact as a resident, pedestrian, and driver. Fresh Direct is the least intrusive of all from what i see. It not perfect but certainly no worse in totality than other alternatives.

      So lets stop being offended and claiming to be in the right to focus on addressing bona fide issues residents may have. The obvious solution seems to be store front depot locations (deliveries can be made at night, parking freed up, noise reduced) although it is also not perfect (i can already see the complaints about too much noise and activity at night!). Will city law changes which is its own issue!

      So lets make the best of a complicated, imperfect, crowded city we all love.

      • dannyboy says:

        Not the case at all.

        Greg, you have omitted many food shopping alternatives (as I mentioned: meat makets, fish markets, farmers’ markets, grren grocers…).

        Then you proceed to provide your “teachable moment”, using your personally devised system of evaluation.

        And using your methodology, I conclude that “I shop at all of these types of retailers for food and observe their neighborhood impact as a resident, pedestrian, and driver. Fresh Direct is the…” MOST “intrusive of all from what i see.”

        • lynn says:

          Not everyone can afford these alternatives. I agree that fruit and vegetables are nice from a farmer’s market, but Schatzie charges $30 for 2 lamb chop medallions, and the fish at the markets are expensive as well. FD brings in Alaskan salmon for half the price and it’s other products are also fresh and economical with only $6.00 for delivery. Yes it’s very nice that Schatzie and family have been able to own their own business, first on the UES for 20+ years (where he could no longer afford to rent), and now here, but who is that helping other than his own family while FD employs thousands of people? I’m not singling him out but only using him as an example since he was mentioned in a previous post.

          • dannyboy says:

            lynn, you misread my Comment, I was correcting BOTH the omission of other food distributors AND the fact-twisting of the choices that were included.

            I do not consider Fresh Direct to be the cheapest food distributor. I like the prices at Associated Supermarket better. I also enjoy getting out into the neighborhood and chatting with my neighbors along the way and as I shop. But that’s me. Others prefer to stay home and wait for a delivery.

          • Independent says:

            Re: Fresh Direct delivery fee, “only $6.00” (per order): If you order with any frequency at all, a much better deal is to purchase a “Delivery Pass” for one month, six months or one year of unlimited deliveries. Also, FD frequently emails promotional codes good for free delivery for orders of $75.00 or more. For Delivery Pass members, the code extends your membership by an additional week from whatever date it was set to expire. By taking advantage of these promos, one can pay very little– and even nothing at all– for delivery.

            Don’t forget to tip the deliverymen, though.

            • dannyboy says:

              …but keep in mind that it is your neighbors who will be bearing the effects of trucks parked for hours on end. Something that they don’t want.

    15. dkr says:

      I think the depot method is nifty. I prefer that over more trucks running longer.

      They should use the few blocks of parking that the Beacon Theatre occupies nearly every other day between 73rd and 75th. 🙂

    16. Alan David says:

      Mr. Robbins has his math wrong.

      “Supermarkets, Robbins noted, that pay rent. By his math, each depot truck consumes 256 square feet of streetscape [24 foot trailer, 8 foot cab, 8 feet wide]. With commercial rents running at $250 per square foot, he calculated that each truck would be paying $64,000 a month in rent if operating as a retail enterprise.”

      Commercial rents are quoted in annual price per square foot, not monthly. It would cost $64,000 per year, not per month.

    17. Independent says:

      Some comments were made concerning Fresh Direct vs. local merchants on the matter of providing jobs.

      No mention was made, however, with regard to whether individuals being employed are U.S. citizens (or even legal residents) or not. How do the respective merchants compare in this regard?

      In my experience with both Fresh Direct as well as Amazon Fresh, all of the deliverymen I have had appeared to be U.S. citizens. (I have no idea, though, what the situation is at the warehouses.) I note as well that nearly all of them have been Black. I point this out because Blacks (as well, I believe, as Hispanics who are U.S. citizens) are disproportionately affected by jobs being given to immigrants.

      ( To pre-empt the usual attacks:
      https://www.westsiderag.com/2016/05/12/freshdirect-critics-complain-to-empty-chair-at-meeting#comment-325601 )

      • dannyboy says:

        @Independent,

        You have closed down discussion with your “To pre-empt the usual attacks…”

        Now you can continue to agree…with yourself.

        • Independent says:

          “Preempt” may have been the wrong word to use. “In anticipation” was what I meant. I was simply asking that before attacking me, people see the linked comment, in which I specifically addressed the charges that are inevitably leveled at anyone who takes a restrictionist position on immigration.

          Thank you bringing this to my attention so I could clarify.

          • dannyboy says:

            Thanks again for clarifying your Comments. I appreciate when efforts are made to expand or clarify individual Comments. So many misunderstandings result otherwise.

          • dannyboy says:

            OK, now I clicked on the link. Linking to yet another racist organization, this time the Center for Immigration Studies.

            As I mentioned repeatedly, hijacking a discussion of Fresh Direct Trucks with this is way off topic.