Tracking Amazon: How Neighbors Are Monitoring Pollution From New Delivery Hubs
Residents are installing air quality and traffic sensors near schools and homes as more and more facilities open
For the past year, a pair of plain-looking buildings has been at the center of a simmering conflict in a close-knit waterfront community in New York City. They look like warehouses, with tall concrete walls, loading bays, and few windows. They sound like warehouses, emitting the rev of diesel engines and the chirps of reversing trucks. But by all accounts, they’re something very different.
The two newcomers to Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood are hubs for Amazon’s growing last-mile delivery network. Unlike traditional warehouses, they’re bustling with around-the-clock activity, attracting convoys of cars, delivery vans, and semi-trucks to a neighborhood of narrow two-lane streets. Every day, shipments jostle through Red Hook’s crowded truck routes and make their way across New York, fulfilling Amazon’s promise of blistering-fast delivery.
The new arrivals have already changed Red Hook’s streetscape—but their appearance is only the beginning. Another Amazon facility, just blocks from the others, appears to be in the final stages of construction, and it’s considerably bigger than the two existing buildings combined. Several other chunks of Red Hook have been acquired for warehousing. And all this has happened without input from the neighborhood, or even a heads-up about the facilities’ arrival…