State Opposes City Plan for Hell’s Kitchen Parking

In June we reported on the city’s effort to bring some 20,000 additional parking spaces to the Hudson Yards area on the far West Side, via a rezoning provision adopted in 2005. Though it’s a remnant of the failed stadium plan, the Bloomberg administration nonetheless intends to hold on the parking component, going so far as to defend itself against a related lawsuit by claiming that the city’s carbon monoxide levels are declining. (Not surprisingly, neighborhood folk aren’t taking the city’s word for it.)

Four months ago it appeared the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was cooperating with the city by attempting to remove references to parking from its Clean Air Act State Implementation Plan (SIP). Back then the DEC claimed that parking should not be considered part of the SIP since the
city was not legally required to consider parking as part of its
compliance strategy.

Now, however, it looks like the state has changed course, according to a report from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign:

Officials at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation say DEC is resisting New York City’s efforts to increase parking in the Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen area of Manhattan. The area, along with the rest of Manhattan below 60th street, is currently subject to restrictions in the number of off-street parking spaces allowed as part of NY’s State Implementation Plan (SIP) for attaining carbon monoxide (CO) levels in accordance with EPA standards. The City raised the level of allowable parking in a 2005 zoning change, essentially changing maximum parking restrictions into minimum parking requirements. The direct conflict between the new zoning and the SIP forced the City to seek a revision of the SIP to remove the parking program, and also got it hit by a lawsuit.

In short, the City claims to have attained EPA CO standards without the aid of the parking restrictions making the parking restrictions unnecessary and burdensome on planned development of the area. In response to the City’s requested SIP revision, NYDEC has asked for an update regarding the status of a parking study mandated by the SIP; the chimerical study has been "in the works" since 1979. Although the meaning of "update" remains ambiguous, a source says the DEC won’t entertain the City’s request without some accounting for the study.

Furthermore, the DEC is studying the possibility that the parking restrictions in the SIP may apply not only to CO, but also particulate matter and ozone, neither of which are within EPA target levels for NYC. If this is the case, the City’s CO attainment may be moot. It remains a mystery why the City is pushing so hard for more parking. The zoning was changed when NYC was a contender for the 2012 Olympics and had proposed building a stadium over the Hudson Yards. With the bid a memory, the zoning change is now a relic. With PlaNYC, congestion pricing and the great promise of progress looming over the City, to encourage more traffic-inducing parking spaces is counterproductive at best.

In related news, the MTA could soon be accepting public comment on those closely guarded Hudson Yards development proposals.

Photo: hotdogger13/Flickr

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Victory for Hell’s Kitchen: Lawsuit Limits New Parking

|
Photo: hotdogger13/Flickr In what looks like a big win for community livable streets advocates, the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association has settled its long-standing lawsuit over parking in the Hudson Yards area, where the Bloomberg administration sought the construction of thousands of new spaces.  At issue was a rezoning provision that would have dramatically increased parking […]

City Wants 20,000 New Parking Spaces in Hell’s Kitchen

|
It seems inconceivable given the overwhelmingly positive developments of the past few weeks, but the city wants to increase parking in Manhattan by some 20,000 spaces, and is defending itself in court for the right to do so. The Bloomberg and Spitzer administrations are working together to hold on to a rezoning provision that would […]

Hell’s Kitchen Parking Plan Continues to Confound

|
The Daily News has picked up on the city’s court battle to bring some 20,000 new parking spaces to the far West Side, a plan that — along with at least one or two other notorious examples — is directly at odds with the Bloomberg administration’s ambitious environmental agenda. Local residents are suing to block […]

CHEKPEDS: Check Up on Far West Side Proposals Tonight

|
The Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety (CHEKPEDS) has issued an alert regarding a meeting tonight to review Hudson Yards boulevard and park design proposals. As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for far West Side redevelopment, the streetscape between 10th and 11th Avenues from 33rd to 42nd Streets is to be transformed with four […]

Will the Tide Turn on City Parking Policy?

|
 A few weeks back Atlantic Yards Report posted a compendium of recent writings that point to the contradictions inherent in, and problems resulting from, parking requirements for urban development plans. Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s much-praised PlaNYC 2030 contains a glaring omission, a failure to address the antiquated anti-urban policy that mandates parking attached to new residential […]