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Wu Admin. Announces September Start Date for Cargo Bike Delivery Pilot

City officials say that the program will launch in mid-September and serve participating businesses in Allston.

After three years of gestation, the City of Boston is finally ready to launch a pilot program to offer a bike-powered delivery service in the Allston neighborhood.

On Tuesday, Mayor Michelle Wu and the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) announced Boston Delivers, a city-run delivery service that will use electric pedal-assist cargo bikes to serve small businesses in Boston's Allston neighborhood.

City officials say that the program will launch in mid-September and run for at least a year, with the goal of supporting local businesses, improving safety, and reducing the congestion and pollution associated with illegally parked delivery vehicles.

“The way our small businesses and residents use our city’s curbs has changed over the last few years, and we’re launching Boston Delivers to explore how to make our streets flow more smoothly and safely for everyone,” said Mayor Wu in a press release announcing the program. “This bike delivery pilot will support restaurants with an affordable, green, and convenient delivery option while reducing congestion on our streets.”

According to a City of Boston press release, Boston Delivers will subsidize deliveries for up to eight businesses using a 2022 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) Accelerating Clean Transportation for All program.

The city will contribute an additional $345,000 towards the year-long pilot, primarily for labor costs.

Net Zero Logistics, a company based in New York City, will help the city operate the program.

StreetsblogMASS has reached out to Net Zero Logistics for additional details, but is still awaiting a response (this story will be updated if we do hear back from them).

The concept of using smaller, more efficient vehicles for deliveries dates to the early days of the pandemic and Mayor Marty Walsh's administration.

In August 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic contributed to a surge of home delivery traffic, the Walsh administration issued a "request for information" from potential vendors and delivery companies "to understand how e-cargo bikes could fit into Boston’s delivery landscape."

In 2021, city officials told StreetsblogMASS that the city had engaged a consulting firm and hoped to launch a pilot program in 2022.

However, the legislature didn't formally legalize pedal-assist electric bikes until August 2022.

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