DOT Study Rejects Residential Parking Permits For Stadium Neighborhoods

The Barclays Center, under construction. Photo: ##http://newyork.cbslocal.com/photo-galleries/2011/03/31/barclays-center-construction-update/##Tom Kaminski/WCBS 880##

The Department of Transportation has rejected neighborhood demands to implement residential parking permits around the Barclays Center and Yankee Stadium, according to a DOT report released last Friday. DOT cited the availability of on-street parking spaces during Yankee games, the large number of non-residents parking on the street for purposes other than visiting the stadium, and the heavy costs of administering and enforcing an RPP program.

The idea of a residential parking permit system has support from across the city — City Council members representing very different neighborhoods came together in support of the reserving on-street parking for locals in a hearing last year — but the Department of Transportation opposes the idea (the Bloomberg administration, however, did propose a citywide, opt-in RPP system as part of the push for congestion pricing in 2008).

At last year’s hearing, DOT representatives allowed that if residential parking permits belonged anywhere, they belonged around stadiums, and announced that the agency was in the process of studying RPP around Yankee Stadium and the Barclays Center. Now complete, that study has led DOT to believe that parking permits don’t belong there, either [PDF]. Another parking management tool is still on the table: DOT is considering modifying the parking meters near the Barclays Center to charge more or extend later into the evening, according to Norman Oder at Atlantic Yards Report.

At Yankee Stadium, DOT found, game day brings a parking crunch, but not one that the city feels the neighborhood can’t handle. Of those who drive to the park, 90 percent park in off-street lots (of which there are far too many in the area). The 10 percent who opt for on-street spaces cluster within a ten minute walk to the park. The on-street parking occupancy rate in the area rises by 3-14 percent on game days, hitting a high of between 77 and 93 percent.

Moreover, DOT found that Yankee fans wouldn’t be the group most affected by a RPP program. On non-game days, non-residents account for as many as 45 percent of parked cars, even adjusting for false registrations. “Most non-residents who park on-street during games are there for work, shopping, personal errands and so forth,” states the report.

In the Brooklyn neighborhoods around the Barclays Center, on-street parkers are a bit more likely to be residents of the neighborhood than they are in the Bronx, and the competition for on-street spaces is a bit fiercer. But, DOT argued, the impact of the smaller and more transit-accessible Barclays Center will also be smaller.

Based on the Barclays Center environmental impact statement, if Nets fans park in off-street lots at the same rate as Yankee fans, only 215 additional vehicles will park on-street during a game. In contrast, around 900 non-residents park in the area on a weekday evening currently, and 1,900 do so on Saturday afternoons. “Drivers coming to the area for other reasons are likely to outnumber Barclays Center event-goers who park on-street,” DOT concluded.

That residential parking permits wouldn’t primarily affect those driving to special events isn’t necessarily an argument against RPP, but it does suggest that stadium neighborhoods aren’t all that different from the rest of the city. The city says its broader objections to RPP apply to these neighborhoods too.

In its report, DOT restates its argument that and RPP program would cost far more to enforce than it would raise in revenue. Additionally, the report argues that managing access to RPP neighborhoods with tools such as visitors passes presents knotty logistical and ideological problems, and that allocating street space using RPP could help residents at the expense of visitors, shoppers, businesses and commuters.

Of course, the city isn’t even allowed to implement a residential permit parking program without permission from the state legislature. The opposition of State Senators Marty Golden and Andrew Lanza makes such permission extremely unlikely in the near future.

The city does have the authority to change what it charges for metered parking spaces, and appears to be considering doing so around the Barclays Center. Reported Oder:

Is the DOT looking at PARK Smart near the arena?

Hrones said that it would be tried on most of Atlantic Avenue west of Fourth Avenue, and might be tested on major arteries like Flatbush and Vanderbilt avenues. “If the community’s interested, we’re happy to work with them,” he said.

Beyond variable pricing, he said DOT would be open to extending the times on meters past 7 pm. “That said, we’d have to look at it closely,” he said. “To the extent that a meter continues to be short term only after 7 pm, that may have an impact on residents who use those commercial corridors to park as an alternative.”

The PARK Smart program charges drivers extra to park during peak hours; near a stadium, that would presumably include game times. Where implemented in Park Slope, it has let more people find spaces and cut down on cruising.

  • Guest

    I can tell you first-hand as a former resident of the area, this statement is not entirely accurate:
    “Of those who drive to the park, 90 percent park in off-street lots (of which there are far too many in the area). The 10 percent who opt for on-street spaces cluster within a ten minute walk to the park.”

    There is a sizeable percentage of drivers who park on sidewalks, which is neither “on-street spaces” nor “off-street lots.” 

    I wonder how their analysis would be different if they provided for actual enforcement of the law for the safety and convenience of the pedestrians, and to protect the sidewalks from damage.

  • Ian Turner

    @7d84473213f40db0d63aa6432f2eddae:disqus : It’s possible that it is only a small minority, but that it seems like a lot of people because cars take up so much space. Just like how NYPD is a tiny fraction of vehicles in New York City, but represents at least 50% of sidewalk parking.

  • Danae Oratowski

    It all depends on which time period you look at – day v evening, weekday v weekend. The study found that on Saturday evenings around Yankee Stadium parking by non-residents goes from 25% on non game days to 55 % when there are games. That’s a significant impact for local neighborhood on parking – but also on the noise level, air quality and traffic conditions.

    DOT conveniently ignores these numbers in their conclusion.

  • car free nation

    The obvious solution here is to make all parking in the area metered, using Shoup principals. Then residents, contractors, sports fans, etc. would all be able to find parking when they needed it, and the city could take the revenue and use it for something useful. Residential parking permits are just a giveaway to the residents who happen to own cars in the neighborhood, and they will make it harder for all the other people who drive into the neighborhood (like contractors, repairmen) etc. to park. We could also assign a few spots on each street to car sharing, and bike corrals, which would be a far more efficient use of the space.

  • Guest

    Surely you’re right, Ian, that it is a small percentage.  Yet it is so very prevalent I suspect it would be measured in a few whole digit percentage points.

    I just think they might find at least a little more need to manage the parking through permits if they didn’t continue to manage it informally by condoning this illegal behavior.

  • Of those who drive to the park, 90 percent park in off-street lots (of which there are far too many in the area). 

    Noah, is the parenthetical remark from the DOT study or is it based on your own reporting and observations? Hard to tell.

  • Anonymous

    Residential parking permits are anti-democratic.  They also would encourage people to keep uneeded cars even longer than they already keep them.

  • Jonathan

     
    1.                   The study has a narrow scope, which is “to better understand the parking conditions around Yankee Stadium and Atlantic Yards”, but infers from that scope that “a Residential Parking Permit (RPP) Program would be problematic for residents, drivers, and city government”, an opinion that is not supported by the work in the study.
     
    2.                   The study identifies that Yankee Stadium is used on about 100 days a year, but does not mention or address the fact that Barclays Center is planned for more than double that.
     
    3.                   The study identifies that both areas have significant off-street parking available, but does not identify that most drivers arriving at Yankee Stadium are directed to the off-street parking without passing residential neighborhoods, while at Barclay’s Center virtually all drivers will be arriving on the residential and mixed-use study streets.
     
    4.                   The study assumes that “the objective” of an RPP program would be to prevent event attendees from using on-street parking spaces, whereas in fact a more important objective would be to prevent attendees from trolling for parking spots on narrow residential streets.
     
    5.                   The report presents findings from parking studies conducted around Yankee Stadium and Atlantic Yards, but does not evaluate the successful RPP programs that exist in virtually every other large North American city, including but not limited to: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Berkeley, Boston, Calgary, Cleveland, Columbus, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Edmonton, Evanston, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Louisville, Madison, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Montreal, Nashville, New Orleans, Oakland, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle, San Jose, San Diego,  San Francisco, Santa Monica, Toronto, Tucson, Vancouver BC, and Washington DC.
     
    6.                   The study does not compare or address crime rates in the two neighborhoods identified, which may act as a deterrent to on-street parking.
     
    7.                   The study does not address the fact that in the neighborhoods closest to Barclays Center, on-street availability is significantly less than at Yankee Stadium, casting doubt on the applicability of finding #3 (“Fans parking on-street do not necessarily prevent residents and others from finding on-street spaces”).
     
    8.                   The study collected data on the percentage of “resident” vs. “non-resident” parkers, but does not provide a fine enough grain to identify the significant differences found. Even a brief qualitative analysis could have addressed the potential origins and destinations of the non-residents and drawn obvious conclusions.
     
    9.                   The study only assesses the need for RPP due to game days. In fact, there is already a need for RPP, due to drivers parking here to use the subway, and this additional load merely acerbates the problem.
     
    10.               The study opines that “Given the city’s population and vehicular density, RPP would be little more than a “hunting license”, continuing to allow residents to compete with one another for parking but without guaranteeing availability”. The study states that while “some” may be willing to pay for RPP, “many” of us living on the blocks close to the arena are likely to question it. How about asking us?

  • Jonathan

    Also, isn’t is obvious that the conclusion, which is not related to the work of the study, was a political requirement because the alternative would jeoporadize the EIS assumptions of availability of on-street parking?

  • Ehh…RPP has good and bad. If only residents were allowed to park, more people would choose to take transit to the events as it would be harder to find parking. OTOH, more people who live there might choose to own cars, as it would be easier for them to find parking every day.

    It’s pretty much a wash. As opposed to say decreasing the number of lots and garage spaces in the area, which is only good.

  • Pack it In

    It won’t take a large influx of additional motor vehicle traffic to absolutely crush the street network around Barclay’s with gridlock and congestion. This is a huge error by the City. RPP’s are an absolute necessity here.

  • Anonymous

    INSURANCE! 
    RPP depends upon where you live and where your car is registered. Where your car is registered affects how much you pay for car insurance.  Register your car upstate or out of state to save on insurance and you probably can’t sign up for RPP.
    This will force residents to either give up their cars as too expensive to insure, or to register locally, spend more, and overall, lower the insurance rates slightly for all Brooklyn drivers.

    Don’t assume that instituting RPP gives local residents a “no-cost” incentive to keep a car or buy more cars because they get a better shot at a parking space.  That RPP sticker will not come “free.”

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