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Dan Doctoroff

Pro-Parking Policies Will Sully the Legacy of PlaNYC

10_doctoroff_lgl.jpgPhoto: Getty via Daily Intel

Former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, widely credited as the architect of PlaNYC, spoke at the Museum of the City of New York last week on the potential impact of Mayor Bloomberg's signature program. According to City Room, Doctoroff considers the two-year-old environmental blueprint on par with such grand projects as Central Park and the development of the Manhattan street grid.

Among the outcomes so far: The conversion of 15 percent of the taxi fleetto clean-fuel vehicles, the construction of 79 new playgrounds, $100million a year to increase the energy efficiency of governmentbuildings, 20 pilot projects to clean up city waterways, hundreds ofmiles of new bike lanes. Ninety-three percent of the 127 initiativesare under way, Mr. Doctoroff said.

"The biggest achievement of them all," he said, is a greenhouse-gasinventory showing a 2.5 percent reduction in citywide carbon emissions, "at a time when greenhouse gases in cities around the nation continueto increase."

There is little doubt that PlaNYC is an ambitious and noble undertaking, despite the failure of congestion pricing -- which Doctoroff rightly cites as a direct cause of the current MTA funding crisis. But it seems a little specious to brag about reductions in greenhouse gas emissions when the Bloomberg administration has continued to vigorously promote VMT-inducing suburban-style parking, a contradiction not lost on City Room commenters like Chris, who writes:

What’s most frustrating is how Bloomberg and his advisors fail tomake some very basic connections between their policies, for exampleworking for modest transit improvements while promoting developmentthat is very parking-intensive. Bronx Terminal Market is a primeexample of this. Big box development with considerable parkingavailability which will do exactly what it is designed for- bring morecars, congestion, and pollution into the city.

So give credit where credit is due, but so many people wish Bloomberg would connect the dots.

Indeed. Even as he lobbied for PlaNYC and congestion pricing, Doctoroff himself was a prime mover behind the Yankee Stadium parking deal and greenhouse gas catastrophes like the Gateway Center. There's the legal battle waged by the administration to bring some 20,000 parking spots to Hell's Kitchen. And just last week Bloomberg celebrated the opening of driving-intensive commercial development at the Gateway project -- one day after announcing a new "green" buildings initiative. In fact, when asked point blank by Streetsblog about the connection between more parking and more driving, the mayor either didn't understand the question or chose not to address it.

Chris believes there's something "far more complex than just ignorance" at work here. We agree. The question is, will the Bloomberg administration safeguard the progress of PlaNYC by reversing its disastrous parking policies?

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