Latvian Radio met with Edgars Kohs from the delivery company Transport Partners.
"I circled the city today, and I'll say – there were free parking spaces. Delivery transport could use those. But there are places that are systematically taken, one or all spots. It is daily life, unfortunately. We're starting to delay deliveries, it adds up. Then it is not just one customer we've been late with, it's all day. Of course we get a lot of complaints from customers [with a question] where were you? What happened?" Kohs said.
When parking lots are taken, delivery drivers are forced to leave vehicles on bicycle lanes, especially on A. Čaka and Marijas Street. According to Kohs, due to the issues and consequent delays, the number of deliveries to these and other streets where there is a similar situation is declining every year.
Riga City Council has also addressed the problem. In the last two years, the municipality installed 74 permitted parking areas outside the usual parking spaces for the delivery of goods. Kohs welcomed the efforts, stressing that there should be more spaces as heavy goods have to be carried for blocks.
However, representative of the 'City for People' organization Kārlis Krēķis was skeptical about parking close to doors, arguing that people's safety should be more important than profits. "I've had to experience vans driving on sidewalks at full speed just to get closer to a door. It must be understood that it causes losses for the city. The surface [of the sidewalk] is damaged. This will create problems for pedestrians in the long run. All this needs to be repaired,” said Krēķis.
In some places, parking of delivery transport is made difficult by barriers separating bicycle lanes from the street. Jānis Vaivods of the Transport Department of Riga City Council said that this is proportionate to the interests of the public.
“No matter how unpleasant it is for the supplier, there are opportunities to park a vehicle before this block and behind the block. The fact that, in one particular case [..] we are talking about one block where it is not possible to park a vehicle, it is, in my opinion, proportionate to the public interest. [..] Suppliers are starting to choose more nature-friendly solutions. There are cities and countries around the world, especially during the summer season, where bikes are also used, Cargobikes,” Vaivods said.
According to local government police data, 33,000 offenses have been recorded throughout the year for failure to comply with parking rules, while nearly 15,000 have already been reported in the four months of this year.
In order to find a compromise between entrepreneurs and the public, the City Council has committed to further increasing the number of parking spaces for suppliers.