City Council Signs Off on 400-Car Garage in Hell’s Kitchen

10th.jpgLast week, the New York City Council approved a special permit granting developer Glenwood Management the right to build a 400-car parking garage at 310-328 West 38th Street. The decision was not unexpected, as the permit had already been approved by the City Planning Commission earlier this month.

The garage, situated near the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel, will add more traffic to the already-congested streets of Hell’s Kitchen, but its approval has strengthened calls to review similar permits more carefully in the future. "There are some positives," said Christine Berthet of the Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen Pedestrian Safety Coalition (CHEKPEDS) in an email message. "The Borough President’s office, the City Planning Commission, and the council all have special permits on their radar, and the
commission indicated they are ready to do ‘something about
parking.’ The Speaker is also interested in a long term action."

As a 2005 re-zoning leads to a surge in development around the West Side railyards, adopting stricter standards for the approval of special permits could prevent a concurrent boom in parking. The leniency of the current approval process, said Berthet, flies in the face of the city’s goals for air quality and traffic reduction, and approving a flurry of permits now would saddle the neighborhood with parking facilities for years. "The special permit is like radioactive material," she said. "It remains toxic for a very long time."

Photo of traffic on 10th Avenue: SarahNYC/Flickr

  • So the special permit process will be replaced by a special-special permit process. Why not a straightforward moratorium on new parking spaces? And a 10 percent annual reduction until the total is half what it is now?

  • MrManhattan

    Maybe lemons can be turned into lemonade.

    Since 400 new private spaces have been approved for cars, the community should demand that 400 public curbside spaces be returned to people in the form of widened sidewalks and protected bus and or bike lanes.

    Seems like a fair trade off,

    What do you think, DOT??

  • christine

    Moratorium, I like that word. It is stern and humbling . Get your act together! stop wasting our air! get a grip!
    In 1978 , Friends of the earth won a judgment against the city for not being compliant with the clean air act and a moratorium on parking was imposed by the judge.

    This went on for a few years until everyone negotiated the current special permit .

  • Great comments!

    I also want to see a certain amount of space in parking garages mandatorily allotted to bicycles. How about a 4:1 car/bicycle ratio? For example, a garage for 400 cars would also have to accommodate 100 bicycles. Assuming 10-12 bicycles take up one car space, that would mean at most 10 car spaces in the 400-space garage would have to be reserved for bicycles, which is no great hardship. Also, since the bicycle only takes up a fractional space, the cyclist should be charged a fractional rate.

    This solution would provide secure and affordable indoor bicycle parking and help encourage greater use of non-polluting transit as well as less congested roadways.

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