The massive traffic generated by an Amazon fulfillment center

Labor practices in Amazon’s warehouses may be one issue but another issue for nearby residents is the traffic around the facilities:

Traffic grinds to a halt for miles when the fulfillment center’s more than 4,000 employees are going in and out of the facility during rush hour.

Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried is threatening to sue  Amazon over the traffic that’s clogged area roads after a senior official failed to show at a meeting to discuss the problem…

The company’s fulfillment center, called the “busiest warehouse on the planet” is located on New Canton Way in the township…

In a statement on the township website Fried says:  “Children cannot get to school, residents cannot pull out of their driveways, and this has become a very serious public safety issue.  According to police department crash data, there have been 25 accidents that can be attributed to workers coming to and from the Amazon warehouse over the past six weeks, compared to just one accident over the previous six weeks.”

A common NIMBY concern about new developments is the traffic generated. Nearby residents complain about the traffic associated with schools, churches, shopping centers…basically, any sort of new development, particularly in more residential areas. Sometimes, these concerns seem like a stretch: a smaller church is really going to disturb local streets all week long? Yet, traffic can truly be an issue for an area is the roads can’t handle all the new volume. This Amazon facility in New Jersey is a good example: all the sudden, thousands of vehicles are now flooding local roads at relatively short periods. This is why the staggered start and stop times might be a good solution; roads are often constructed to handle rush hour type flows but they typically only happen twice a day and the roads sit emptier for much of the rest of the day. (Carpooling might be another good suggestion – how many Amazon workers drive solo? – but getting Americans to do this consistently is quite difficult.)

This is also a good reminder of the physical world footprint of an online company like Amazon. The products may come through the mail but all the infrastructure happens somewhere and affects various communities.