Planners and Green Groups Call for Off-Street Parking Reform

parking_presser.jpg
Yesterday, several planning and environmental organizations joined Transportation Alternatives on the steps of City Hall to tout the release of "Suburbanizing the City" [PDF], the new report that critiques New York City’s off-street parking policies. The coalition is similar — but not identical — to the array of groups that pushed for congestion pricing earlier this year. Their testimony highlighted the range of benefits that off-street parking reform would deliver, from mitigating tailpipe emissions to reducing housing costs.

Planning advocates recommended doing away with parking
requirements and "unbundling" the cost of parking from the price of
housing. "There’s no reason for parking to be paid for by people who
don’t own cars," said Tri-State Transportation Campaign director Kate
Slevin, adding that the construction of parking should be "a choice rather than a
necessity."

Minimum parking requirements are especially ill-suited to affordable housing developments, said Elena Conte of the Pratt Center for Community Development (pictured at the mic). "[A parking minimum] really makes no sense at all for communities where less than 20 percent of households own cars, because it drives up the cost of housing and takes up valuable space that otherwise could be used to create additional units or public space."

Representatives of Environmental Defense and the New York League of Conservation Voters rounded out the proceedings, calling on the city and state to take stock and head off the traffic-congested future that excessive off-street parking threatens to bring about. "We’re building the infrastructure to encourage more people to drive with very little understanding of the environmental impacts," said Josh Nachowitz of NYLCV.

T.A.’s Paul Steely White tied the issue to preserving New York’s streets for people on foot, noting that more off-street parking means less sidewalk integrity: "Curb cuts enable cars to drive across the sidewalk and block the sidewalk; it erodes the pedestrian environment."

Major planning groups, including the American Planning Association, the Regional Plan Association, and the Municipal Art Society, have also signed on to the report and urged Mayor Bloomberg to revise the city’s ad-hoc policies governing off-street parking. According to one organizer behind the effort, this marks the first time all three organizations have lined up behind the same transportation reform.

Streetsblog will have more soon on the recommendations being advanced by this coalition.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

How to Fix Off-Street Parking Policy, Before It’s Too Late

|
The proliferation of off-street parking is pushing New York toward higher rates of car ownership and substantially more traffic. To avert a scenario where the city becomes less transit-oriented and more beholden to car owners, a coalition of planning and environmental groups is calling for the reform of off-street parking policies.

Will Robert Lieber’s Successor Finally Fill the Gaps in PlaNYC 2030?

|
NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Lieber. Photo: New York Daily News City Hall has another big vacancy to fill. This morning the Bloomberg administration announced that Robert Lieber, deputy mayor for economic development, is returning to the private sector. Lieber’s portfolio includes the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Department of […]

The Parking Cure, Step 1: Diagnose the Problem

|
This curb-cutting driveway leads to a parking lot for a new residential development on 16th Street in Brooklyn. What would you do if you went to the doctor, and before speaking to you, taking your vital signs, or learning about your condition, she prescribed a powerful drug and kicked you out the door? New York […]

T.A. Urges Bloomberg Admin to Take the Lead in Parking Reform

|
A map of the area near Washington, D.C.’s new ballpark. Streets with variable-rate or permit parking are in color. After calling attention last month to the traffic-reducing power of parking reform, Transportation Alternatives has released a follow-up report with a parking prescription for New York. "Pricing the Curb" [PDF] looks to innovative programs underway in […]

Advocates to City Council: Parking Mandates Make Housing Less Affordable

|
Requiring the construction of parking spaces drives up the cost of housing in New York City, which is why parking policy reform figures prominently in the de Blasio administration’s rezoning plans. Now a coalition of advocates is highlighting how much those reforms matter to the campaign to make housing more affordable. City Hall’s plan calls for the elimination of mandatory […]

This Week: Streetfilms, 34th Street, Shoup

|
This week’s calendar action kicks off in a big way with tonight’s Streetfilms soiree, followed by a Thursday trifecta and topped off with a visit from everyone’s favorite parking pundit. Tonight: Celebrate Streetfilms with The Open Planning Project and special guest Veronica Moss. 6 p.m. There are three events on Thursday: Brooklyn Community Board 2 […]