FedEx, UPS Don’t Seem to Care About Blocking Denver Bike Lanes. What Can Be Done?

Wynkoop Street between 15th and 16th. Photo: David Sachs
Wynkoop Street between 15th and 16th. Photo: David Sachs

Streetsblog has posted a ton of pictures of drivers parking in bike lanes. Some of the worst offenders are companies like FedEx, UPS, and other delivery businesses that block bike lanes daily.

We recently contacted FedEx and UPS to see if they’re doing anything to clean up their act in Denver bike lanes. Are the even aware that they’re part of the problem?

Here’s what FedEx spokesperson Davina Cole told Streetsblog via email:

“We expect our couriers and drivers to abide by all traffic laws during the course of providing services to our customers and address any violations that occur. Parking in congested city locations can be a challenge, but we work hard to abide by local parking ordinances and to ensure we meet any citation obligation.”

Not a whole lot to go on. Cole did not respond to a follow-up query about how, specifically, FedEx “works hard” to obey traffic laws.

In a phone call, UPS spokesperson Matthew O’Connor also said that company policy is to not break laws.

“Our drivers are trained to follow local, state, and federal traffic laws, as well as any other laws,” O’Connor said. “So if there is not a parking space in front of a customer where they would be making a delivery or pickup, then instead of using say, a bike lane or a handicapped parking place, they need to — they’re trained to — find the closest parking space that they can legally park in to make that delivery or pickup.”

But in practice, that’s not what delivery drivers do.

I work on Wynkoop Street, where UPS and FedEx drivers routinely block the bikeway, usually multiple times a day. In that case, O’Connor said, people should report each instance and the national office would relay the message to the Denver office, which should follow up. After reporting the problem to UPS twice, I was told twice that a local team would follow up. No one ever did.

Something’s gotta give in a city with a growing number of people and limited street space. Protected bike lanes that physically deter drivers are certainly failsafe measures. But don’t expect 100 percent adoption any time soon.

More protected bike lanes with physical barriers would obviously help, but there are other steps the city could pursue as well.

Alyssa Alt works on curbside management for Denver Public Works. She says the streets department is working on policy solutions including: funneling delivery drivers into alleys, encouraging deliveries during less busy times of day, turning curbside metered parking spots into loading zones at certain hours, and incentivizing deliveries by bike and other small vehicles.

Eventually, she thinks tech could help drivers see where loading zones are open in real time, which could lead to some type of daily schedule.

“I think what it comes down to is that the delivery drivers want to be as close as possible to the place that they’re going, and they think that they’re going to be faster,” she said. “At the same time, I don’t think anybody should have the expectation that you’re always gonna be able to go to the front door of the building to deliver your things,” she said.

Freight companies are talking about fixes, Alt said, because it’s in their best interest as well as the city’s. San Francisco reserves much of its metered parking supply for commercial loading, for instance, giving freight companies the curb space they need [PDF].

The city’s policy recommendations will be included in an update of the Downtown Multimodal Access Plan. In the meantime, there’s nothing stopping freight companies like FedEx and UPS from getting their drivers to consistently park in alleys and loading zones instead of ruining Denver’s bike lanes.

  • David B

    Thanks for pushing this issue. Arapahoe is pretty bad too–in fact Google maps satellite view shows a truck parked in the bike lane near the D&F Tower, so that tells you something. The added “delivery parking” spots there helped, but not enough. After UPS and FedEx, I’d say Lyft and Uber are the second worst about parking in the bike lanes–though again, I see that more on Arapahoe than Wynkoop.

  • TakeFive

    Loading zones would be the best solution. Second best would be sharing space during non-peak hours. While I’ve never been in their shoes I understand that delivery drivers have difficult and labor intensive jobs. I’d think that getting stuck in an ally would be a non-starter.

    • MT

      More loading zones and more curb protected bike lanes.

      Solutions are pretty easy, just have to do it.

  • JZ71

    This has been going on for decades – parking tickets are just another cost of doing business. Until they get towed, they don’t really care . . .

  • Camera_Shy

    The issue is we, Denver, USA, etc, don’t lay out the space correctly for bicycles. If the bicycle lane was in the middle of the street, then the UPS/FedEx trucks would block the driving lane and cars would then go around them and encroach on the bike lane. This shows we are not using the space correctly: there is no solution within the current use of space, so we need a new model.

    One solution is to put the bike lane above the curb. Bikes and peds should each have a lane between the fire hydrant and the buildings, bikes being closer to the street, peds being closer to the buildings.

    From the middle of the road it should be:
    Yellow line, driving lane, parking/loading lane, curb, bike lane, ped lane.

    And where hydrants are are it should be:
    Yellow line, driving lane, curb, hydrant, bike lane, ped lane.


  • Kevin

    It’s a easy fix, streets are for cars not bikes. Outlaw bikes on streets

    • MT

      Outlaw Kevin.

    • Camera_Shy

      IMO “Car vs. Bike” isn’t really the issue. Outlawing bikes on the street works as long as we provide space for bikes elsewhere. Bikes need dedicated space they can use. In this country, bikes have been left in the dust. Planning revolves around cars in all walks of USA life. The attempts to shoe-horn space in for bikes are noble, but until we get real about it we will continue to have similar conflicts to the UPS/FedEx one mentioned in this article. Outlawing bikes on streets without giving them another space to go, is the same as outlawing bikes. Such a mentality is ignorant of the fact that, done right, having more people commuting on bikes improves the lives of car drivers by taking more 2000-lb vehicles off the road.

      • TakeFive

        Well stated. At least you have a thoughtful approach to the problem.

      • MT

        This is true, but they are designed for cars. The design has to change so they can be safe for people.

        • Actually they’re not. They’re designed to carry the largest vehicle allowed on them and those vehicles aren’t “cars.” The material of the road is designed to carry that load and the geometry of the road is designed to accommodate for those vehicular movements. The number of lanes is designed to accommodate the forecasted amount of traffic. None of these factors means it’s not possible or it’s insafe for a cyclost to ride on them.

          • MT

            Oh, thanks to your pedantic rambling, everyone will feel safe riding on the roads as they are built. Good job!

          • You can keep being a part of the problem with your “feelings” or you can come join us over in the logic and rational world.

          • MT

            People in the rational world don’t ride bikes where they don’t feel safe.

  • Chiefpr

    Where are they supposed to stop?

    • David B

      In a loading zone, alley, or parking spot. The problem is that bike lanes provide a convenient spot where they think they can get away with parking illegally. When was the last time you saw a FedEx truck parked in a car lane downtown? On the streets that don’t have a bike lane (or where that bike lane is protected), oddly enough, they manage to find a legal spot to park while they make their deliveries. And all of the other commercial delivery trucks that pour supplies into downtown find legal spots as well.

      • Chiefpr

        And if those three suggestions do not exist then what? Seriously, I really don’t know what their options are. Since bike riders rarely obey traffic laws why cater to them.

        • David B

          I don’t think that scenario exists downtown–there is always an option. Every street has a corresponding alley. That’s where you see all the other delivery trucks (restaurant food, laundry trucks, retail merchandise, etc.) parked when loading zones are full. Many buildings have a parking garage with dedicated loading zones; if you watch, you’ll see FedEx/UPS entering garage ramps all the time. Again, on every single street where there isn’t a bike lane, FedEx/UPS trucks find a place to park, and it’s not in a car lane.

          Your final argument; really? I see cars disregarding traffic law every single day of my ride home, multiple times–does that mean we shouldn’t cater to them either? That’s now how law works. Let’s not even get into whether or not bikes really flout the law that much (or more/less than cars). If it’s illegal to park somewhere, it’s just that–illegal. Just because pedestrians jaywalk doesn’t mean we should allow cars to park on the sidewalk.

          • Chiefpr

            I live in Denver and bike riders cause huge amounts of grief, and they frequently get hit due to their arrogance and carelessness.

          • David B

            I’ve been riding into downtown since 1997, so I’m no stranger to Denver, and I’ve seen one cyclist get hit in 20 years–and I ride every day, winter and summer. I’m seriously anal about following traffic laws. It really, really bugs me when I see bikes breaking the law, and I always have an eye peeled for it. I definitely see it, and I shout a lot when I do, but I see far more drivers breaking the law on a daily basis. And in those cases, the danger to everyone involved is a lot higher–more mass, more speed. I’m not saying that excuses scofflaw cyclists–everyone needs to obey the law, all the time–but I challenge you to make a mental score on your way home this week of how many cars fail to stop at stop signs/run lights, etc. compared to cyclists.

          • Honestly, people should stop comparing their antecdodal, unscientific surveys of scofflaw motorists and scofflaw cyclists and realize there is a certain percentage of people in general who don’t follow rules. A few actual studies have shown the differences in scofflaw behavior between the two groups is roughly the same percentage anyways.

          • Devin Quince

            Stats please?

          • Chiefpr

            Do your own work.

          • Devin Quince

            I am not the one making false claims.

          • TakeFive

            If you haven’t done the research, how do you know that?

          • Chiefpr

            It just wants to argue.

          • Devin Quince

            It? How mature

          • Devin Quince

            I am not the one that started making claims.

        • MT

          Drivers rarely obey traffic laws, why cater to them?

        • Devin Quince

          Same could be said for drivers

      • TakeFive

        Fedex and UPS drivers do make quick stops. The inconvenience to our spandex wearing fiends on bikes should be minimal. Maybe try being a driver for a week; it might do wonders for your entitlement attitude.

        • MT

          Maybe try riding a bike to work for a week, it might do wonders for you attitude.

          • TakeFive

            My attitude is that a solution needs to meet EVERYBODY’s needs. Far as I can tell, Camera_Shy is the only one to make a constructive comment towards that end.

          • MT

            I’m all in favor of solutions that work for both. I want stuff delivered too. Protect bike lanes with curbs, no amount of paint will keep cars out of bike lanes. Make more space for loading zones. Especially during the day, metered spots would be more valuable as loading zones, then could go back to paid parking in the evening.

            The problem with the current situation is that it puts convenience over safety. I’d love to have both, but safety has to be the priority.

          • David B

            This exactly. Streetsblog has written recently about how reactive parking prices can solve problems like this, reducing illegal parking. And curb-protected bike lanes, absolutely. The stretch of Wynkoop just north of the picture in this article has been car free since the curbs went down.

          • As for solutions that work for both, how about learn you as a bicyclist have the same rights and duties as drivers of vehicles. Instead of demanding bike lanes, exercise your right as a vehicle driver and use the lanes that already exist.

          • Devin Quince

            Perhaps if drivers realized that that is the law and did not drive in a manner that puts our lives in danger. Also, are expecting kids, seniors to ride here and if not, get a car?

          • MT

            Yeah, that’s worked so well.

            Can you take this argument back to the ’70s where you got it from? We’re way past this garbage.

          • My argument isn’t from the 70’s but nice try it’s from the late 1800s when William Phillips Eno invented traffic rules to harmonize the movements of animal driven vehicles and bicyclists. These rules happen to be the modern rules of traffic. These were invented before motor traffic became a thing.
            Then when motoring got big it’s lobbying groups pushed to remove other users off the roadways when they claimed was only intended for them. This “garbage” of obeying the rules of the road for vehicles enables bicyclists to go almost anywhere safely and effectively. This “garbage” doesn’t require us to live in a hip area being gentrified by classist transplants pushing for new urbanism or lobby for special spaces to segregate us from irrational fears. A lot more people can follow these rules than you think and the education is there, you just need to open your mind, change your attitude and learn.

            When you say “that’s worked so well” (assuming you’re being sarcastic), are you referring to mode share?
            People drive cars because they’re often the most convenient form of transport for their needs. Cheap operating costs, “free parking”, long distances, etc encourage this and the on-demand personalized factor resonates with our culture of individualism.
            For some people maybe a bicycle will serve those needs but nobody likes “biking advocates” shoving the idea down their throat. It’s counter productive.
            I’d like to see more bicycle riders just as much as you probably do but your approach is misguided.

            “Biking” advocates are our own worst enemy.

          • MT

            Being crushed by a 2,000 pound vehicle isn’t an irrational fear.
            Even if it was, it’s something pretty much everyone shares. If we want people to ride, we have to make the streets safe, and feel safe.

            Yeah, in the 1800’s when there were no cars your plan worked. Might be time to update it.

          • You seem to assume that being anywhere near a 2000 # vehicle automatically means you’ll be crushed and killed. If you follow your feelings and ride in the door zone or demand “protected” bikeways which cause a great deal of crashes at driveways and intersections then you’ll be sure to experience your fear.

            Do you have this same irrational phobia with other things that have the potential of being dangerous?

            There’s a huge difference between rational thought and “feelings.” You’re letting “feelings” drive your opinions. A lot of people, perhaps yourself included “feel” safe in a segregated bike lane or by riding in the door zone. Then zap, a car turns in front of you or a door opens throwing you out into traffic which will result in you being crushed by a 2000# machine. Confident, educated, and rational rules of the road cyclists avoid these common conflicts altogether by understanding the hazards and taking steps to not let them happen.

          • MT

            And how many people has your “f**k your feelings* plan worked on?

          • Thanks to the efforts of those abandoning feelings and superstition and embracing logic and reason through scientific inquiry we have a few groundbreaking things that have made our species survive and thrive.
            Shall I make a list?
            Water Sanitation
            Air travel
            Hydrocarbon extraction

            While much of society still does live under a heavy influence of feeling and superstition we’ve also made great leaps as a species. I’m sure you find the idea the earth is flat or that there’s a supreme being in the sky to be ridiculous so why do you find anti-science and anti-reason bikeway advocacy to make so much sense?

          • MT

            Being hit by a car isn’t superstition.
            Riding in car traffic feels dangerous because it is.
            Even if it were perfectly safe, it’s incredibly unpleasant. No matter how confident I am in my ability to ride safely in heavy vehicle traffic, I will not enjoy it. It’s a miserable place to be. I’m getting to a different street as fast as possible.
            Most people will just not ride if in involves that kind of riding.

          • You lack the ability to understand and analyze risks and hazards and how one can reduce their exposure to them.

            By following your logic you aboid flying in airplanes, cutting up your food with a large knife, or anything else where there’s a change of injury.

          • Bernard Finucane

            No, bicyclist do not have the same rights and duties as drivers of vehicles. You really don’t know what you re talking about, presumably because you weren’t raised in an area where bicycles were commonly used.

          • So far you’ve stated bicyclists do not have the same rights and duties as drivers of vehicles and you allege I don’t know what I’m talking about because of where I was raised?

            Why don’t you be so kind and enlighten me as to the evidence you has to support your claim?

            Hint: you don’t have any. Bicyclists are granted the same rights and duties as drivers of vehicles based on the UVC and it’s in the traffic laws in each state.

          • Cut the snark, this crap is why Take Five accuses bicyclists of being entitled.
            Riding a bicycle isn’t for everybody. For all we know TakeFive’s trip lengths are too long.

          • MT

            “Maybe try being a driver for a week; it might do wonders for your entitlement attitude”

            Responding to this. Pointing out the unnecessary derogatory language.
            More suggesting that he cut the snark than he actually ride a bike. Though that would be good as well.

          • TakeFive

            Well I have noticed that many bike riders become arrogant and self-righteous with no thought for how difficult a delivery driver’s job really is. We all need to get along and respect each other, no?

          • MT

            Sure, but what you see as arrogance is usually people just trying to not get killed.
            A delivery driver’s job might be hard, but his life isn’t in danger. Him parking in the bike lane puts me in a life and death situation.

            Safety over convenience.

            That said there are solutions that solve both problems, it’s not really that hard. Our street design creates this conflict, our street design can solve it.

          • MT

            I’ve also been a delivery driver, not UPS or FEDEX, but drove a truck and carried a lot of heavy stuff.
            Never parked in a bike lane.

          • iBikeCommute

            Sometimes I think delivery workers are just lazy. Like when Kayvan Khalatbari’s pizza guy in cap hill parks on the sidewalk when they have a loading spot reserved for them right in front.


        • MT

          GTFO with your spandex comment. You have to start off with derogatory comments about people who might ride a bike? Ha. Ha. Everyone loves to make fun of cyclists in spandex, aren’t you funny.
          Just call everyone who might want to use that bike lane a spandex wearing Lance Armstrong wanna be, then you don’t have to treat them like real people.

          How about it doesn’t matter what people are wearing, we just give a damn about their safety? Most people using these bike lanes are not in spandex, they are just trying to get home from work alive.
          A truck stopped in the lane for any amount of time forces people to ride out of the bike lane and into moving car traffic. I don’t care how quick the stop was if it puts my life in danger to get around the damn truck.

          • TakeFive

            Actually, I merely borrowed an oft-used phrase by a gentleman with the name of David Sachs. I had never heard of the description until I came to this blog. 🙂

          • Where has Sachs said this? Genuinely curious.

          • TakeFive

            Articles about bikes: lanes, laws, conflicts etc.generally used satirically(?) as opposed to my more ‘provocative’ reference. 🙂

          • Bernard Finucane

            He’s trolling. Don’t feed the trolls.

  • iBikeCommute

    I have had several police officers tell me that it is legal for delivery trucks to double park for up to 15 minutes when making a delivery. In fact, I was stationed at the 15th street bike lane on its opening day to educate people about its use and the motorcycle cop who was there to help us wouldn’t ask a UPS truck that was blocking the “protected” bike lane to move because he said it was legal. Either the law needs to change or our officers need to be educated.

  • Tommy

    You want your stuff delivered. Where would you expect them to stop??

  • Perhaps if “biking advocates” promoted the fact bicyclists have the same rights and duties as drivers of other vehicles and don’t need special spaces to ride then this wouldn’t be an issue.

    • Devin Quince

      Perhaps if drivers realized that that is the law and did not drive in a manner that puts our lives in danger.

      • TakeFive

        So you assume a whole class of people are negligent? Your paintings must be interesting.

      • Yes of course there are bad motorists out there. I’m just as concerned and angered at distracted, impaired, angry motorists as anybody else but the fear is highly overrated. I get infuriated when one of these people gets away with injuring or killing another person either via a hit and run or when dismissed by the media or legal system as an “accident.” This stuff and these concerns are completely legitimate.
        A bicyclist operating following the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles has an incredible advantage in being able to anticipate and prevent being a victim of the mishaps of others. It’s easy to learn and coupled with learning good bike handling skills their crash and injury rates are astonishingly low. The risks aren’t eliminated one hundred percent – they never are but rules of the road bicyclists go nearly anywhere safely and without special spaces for them to use.

        • MT

          That works for the 1% of young, strong riders who are willing and able to attempt it.
          Everyone else is just not going to ride in those conditions.

          • You “biking” advocates keep claiming that. Your language whether it be race, gender, or age biased simply marginalizes people who actually took the time to learn and understand how to evaluate risk, change their attitudes, and embrace logic and rational thought. For a group who tries to act inclusive of others you do a poor job of including those who actually know what they’re talking about.

            “Biking” advocates seem to be caught up in this conundrum of wanting hoards of people to start biking yet in the same breath they insist biking is dangerous.

          • MT

            Go ahead and try to teach people how to ride in the current conditions. No one will stop you. Great for those that are willing.
            You’re the one trying to stop other people from creating safe routes that everyone else will use.

          • You allege I’m opposed to creating safe routes that everyone else will use. Unfortunately, based on your past arguments that show you have a fear of rational thought and logic and that you reject basic scientific principles it’s difficult to see how your proposals for routes are safe. Rights hooks, left crosses, side swiped, doorings , walk outs and drive pits don’t mean anything to you do they?

            I’m not opposed to building certain pieces of infrastructure but only when they can be proven to be safe and when they promote equality. Special spaces for bicycling, aka segregated bikeways, aka bicycle sidewalks, aka “protected” bike lanes fail to pass these stringent criteria. You also lack the desire to protect and preserve the rights and duties of bicyclists who choose to operate as drivers.

          • MT

            Lies. They are built all over the world, are by far the safest, and support millions of people riding.
            Done with you.

          • Same to you. Thanks for promoting segregation and anti-science and logic.

    • MT

      Perhaps if this plan worked lots of people would be riding.
      Oh right, it doesn’t work at all. Places that build cycling infrastructure have huge rates of cycling, America doesn’t.

      • TakeFive

        Just speaking for myself I’ve always lived Only in America.

      • The “build it and they will come” mentality won’t work to increase bicycling like you want it to. You’ve got to address the long trip distances of a large portion of the commuting population and sell them the idea they can substitute their trips with something other than their car.

        You guys don’t help sell bicycling to the masses when you insist it’s only safe on special spaces specifically built for bicycling.

        • MT

          The masses have already spoken on your idea. You can see them all out there not riding bikes in the middle of dangerous streets.

          Cities that build safe bike infrastructure have a huge mode share of cyclists. Cities that follow your idea have almost none.

          • The masses aren’t riding in the streets because people like you sell the idea it’s dangerous. It can be if not done correctly but in most cases there’s a lot a bicyclist can do to make his of her environment safer. We’re not at mercy of everybody else on the roadway.

            A huge number of bicyclists does not necessarily equal a huge number of them not getting injured or killed. This “safe” infrastructure often has hazards not present on standard roadways when bicyclists are operating as drivers.

            Disconnect yourself from the obsession of increasing mode share too, it’s not helping anybody.

          • MT

            Nobody is telling them it’s dangerous. People have eyes.
            Jesus. If this worked it would have worked by now.

        • MT

          Long trip distances are another problem, long term land use policy is needed to address that. There are plenty of places where distance is not an issue. If streets are made safe in those areas, people will ride. If you tell them to go ride in the middle of traffic, they won’t.

          • “ If you tell them to go ride in the middle of traffic, they won’t.”

            You’re presenting it incorrectly. You’re assuming riding a bike in the street is like a twig floating around down a stream bouncing around with no regard to the surrounding environment. Cyclists *are* a part of traffic when they operate as drivers and most other drivers treat them that way with few issues. Bicycle drivers operate with the flow of the stream, not as an intruder.

            Like nearly anything else if you want somebody to pick something up they’ll need to be educated.
            Want a drivers license? Get driver’s education. Want to learn to ski? Take lessons.
            Want to learn how to safely ride a bike in traffic? Take Cycling Savvy (in person or anytime online) , the League’s SmartCycling course. If those aren’t available read Effective Cycling, Cyclecraft, or Street Smarts.

            In the places where people do have shorter trip distances they might claim they have other issues for not riding a bike. Concerns of getting sweaty from climbing hills, carrying luggage, locking the bike up during the workday, are all things biking advocates should help address. In all the time you guys waste on demanding special spaces for bicycling maybe all it takes to convert a few people to cycling is telling them it’s possible to carry luggage in some panniers or a backpack, or buy a folding bike they don’t have worry about locking one up outside , or suggest an electric assist bike to help them on the hills.

          • MT

            You’ve wasted decades on this. It does not work.

          • MT

            People don’t need lessons to ride a bike. All they need is a place to ride it.

          • This is akin to saying motorists need only to understand the gas makes the vehicle go, the brake makes the vehicle slow and the wheel changes the direction of the vehicle and on top of that a paved ribbon of asphalt on where to drive it . There’s more to it than that.

            Given that most injuries to bicyclists are caused by solo crashes it’s safe to say many wold benefit from additional education even outside the scope of how to ride as traffic. Teaching proper starting and stopping techniques, emergency maneuvers, gearing, fit, etc are all important to riding efficiently, safely, and enjoyably.

            The resistance to education some bikeway advocates have is astounding. Education should be embraced, not rejected. No matter how old we are or how experienced at something we are there’s always room to learn.

          • MT

            None of that is necessary if the street is designed well.
            Under our current conditions it can be useful, but very few people are even going to attempt to ride in that manner.

          • Devin Quince

            I am an LCI and stand behind that we cannot expect people of all riding comfort levels to ride traffic despite the idea, so we need to build infrastructure to support ALL comfort levels.

  • Anonymous Bike Zealot

    This is a problem everywhere. The drivers know they won’t be there long enough to be cited in most cases. The easy solution is to go around the truck. Seriously. It’s either that or let it wreck your joy.

    • Devin Quince

      True, unless the road you need to enter is not safe


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