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Mayor Eric Adams proposes Department of Sustainable Delivery to monitor delivery workers

Mayor Adams wants to create city department to regulate delivery workers
Mayor Adams wants to create city department to regulate delivery workers 02:11

NEW YORK -- In his third State of the City address Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams laid out a new plan to tackle the booming number of online deliveries.

"We are in discussion with the City Council to create the Department of Sustainable Delivery," Adams said.

It's not just vehicles that are taking up space on city streets these days. The bike lanes, where many of the estimated 65,000 delivery workers in New York City earn their living, are more crowded than ever, and City Hall believes it's a safety issue.

"Today, we have chaos in our bike lanes," said Meera Joshi, deputy mayor for operations. "There needs to be a safety protocol that we put in place."

The City Council would need to approve the idea before the department is created. It would require delivery companies to monitor their workers, which would require workers to obey street and traffic laws and have city IDs. Adams also believes the department would build on the work being done to get illegal and unsafe lithium-ion batteries off the streets.

Executive director of the Workers Justice Project Ligia Guallpa says in a statement, "E-bike licensing requirements are more likely to put (delivery workers) into dangerous police interactions rather than improve street safety."

On social media, the founder of Los Deliveristas Unidos says, "Before enforcing new regulations on delivery workers, New York City should listen to us."

We're still in month one of delivery workers making minimum-wage salaries, a battle they fought right alongside City Hall against the delivery companies.

"You don't feel secure because when they go on the sidewalk, they may run you over and they just keep going," another person said.

"I feel like I could get hit any day by the delivery drivers," Katy Maclellan said. "The speed of those electric bikes is quite dangerous."

The mayor's office says it is seeking clarity regarding who the tech companies are dispatching into the city and plans to use the technology of their apps to track drivers' whereabouts, eventually creating safety ratings.

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