Amazon has taken over the former Potamkin Cadillac Dealership on 11th Avenue to make good on its pledge to guarantee 24-hour delivery of all orders bound for Prime customers. In Hell’s Kitchen, they plan for the “Amazon Last Mile” to be made with e-cargo bikes — and maybe walking delivery.
Amazon aims to get the new warehouse and delivery center up and running by the fall of this year and is already recruiting delivery riders for the new location. “Amazon will be starting deliveries in New York City electric cargo bikes this fall, and Amazon Delivery Service Partners is seeking bright, motivated, hardworking individuals to fill positions to be part of this exciting new, environmentally friendly approach to delivering packages in New York City,” they say in their job advert for Contracted Delivery Associate/Bike Riders at the new west side location.
New York City is keen to replace commercial vehicles with cargo bikes for deliveries. It ran a pilot program early in 2020 with UPS, Amazon and DHL, who were given free access to commercial loading spaces to reduce congestion.
The move is a win-win-win for Amazon. They keep to their speedy delivery pledge, upgrade their green credentials, and placate residents exasperated by streets being blocked by delivery vehicles.
A recent study on the west coast found that drivers spend 28% of their time circling looking for a parking spot, so that’s another win for Amazon with their new bike delivery. There’s also a significant saving on parking tickets. The New York Times reported in 2019 that delivery trucks operated by UPS and FedEx racked up more than 471,000 parking violations in the previous year, a 34 percent increase from 2013.
Back in 2015, the Commercial Observer predicted a crunch for the car dealerships that populate 11th Avenue between W42nd and W58th Street. The move by Amazon may create a new use for this west side thoroughfare.
Last September, Amazon started a rollout of 1,000 mini delivery hubs in cities and suburbs around the country. The move is to compete with companies like Target who are bringing smaller retail stores into communities — as they did recently on 10th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen.
Amazon appears ahead of schedule on their fall roll out plans. Looking through the large glass windows on 11th Avenue this morning, the facility appears near completion with Amazon whiteboards on the wall titled “Voice of the Business”, “Top 5 Issues Board” and “Voice of the Associate” on display. Expect to see Amazon cargo bikes on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen soon.
It’s unlikely that this is the last innovation in Amazon’s rush to deliver. They are making massive investments in new technology like self-driving robots and drones.