Parking May Be Part of PlaNYC Update, Tweets Goldsmith

Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith dropped an intriguing hint this afternoon about the upcoming revision of New York City’s long-term sustainability plan. “We are looking at parking as part of @PlaNYC 2.0,” he tweeted.

Now, there’s a lot that needs to happen between today and Earth Day 2011, when the update is due. “Looking at” parking needs to become acting on it, and “parking” needs to include big changes to both on- and off-street parking. Even so, with the exclusion of parking policy being one of the great holes in the original PlaNYC, this could signal a breakthrough.

Hat tip to Streetsblog commenter BicyclesOnly for getting the scoop by asking Goldsmith about parking in the first place.

  • The big hole in PlaNYC 2.0 is that it is not even close to being agressive enough to provide a model initiative effective in mitigating climate change.

    Instead of 30% green house gas emissions by 2030 AD the target should be net-zero by 2020 AD with status reports on a monthly basis.

    Most might say that would be impossible. And, many of the deniers say the same thing about climate change.

    But, if you look at World War II this country was able to mobilize on a scale far beyond what was imagined at the time.

    It is very difficult to comprehend how cars fit into a net-zero sustainable civilization of the future.

  • Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a wide-open debate over NYC parking policy, with everything on the table, in the context of moving a concrete proposal for ending all the free and below-market parking subsidies. A debate in which credible, authoritative sources in government actually acknowledged the high cost of free parking, and laid out the benefits that would accrue to the non-motoring majority from fundamental reform. PlaNYC 2.0 could be the platform for initiating that debate. But unless the concrete reform proposal comes within the next 12 months, nothing will happen except for a lot of negative coverage in the motor-pandering media.

  • World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse Lester R. Brown


    NRC 2008. Transportation Research Board Special Report 290: Potential Impacts of Climate Change on U.S. Transportation. NRC: Washington DC
    Available at:

  • tom

    BicyclesOnly: I’d pay to see that debate, but it’s got to include parking.

  • Joe R.

    “Instead of 30% green house gas emissions by 2030 AD the target should be net-zero by 2020 AD with status reports on a monthly basis.”

    I agree 100% here. And yes, with sufficient incentive I think it can be done. To any naysayers who might tell me global warming isn’t real, my response is it doesn’t matter. There are enough other benefits to getting off fossil fuels that we don’t even have to bring global warming into it. Reducing ( actually eliminating ) air pollution will substantially reduce health care costs and the associated lost productivity. We will reduce military expenditures by not needing to be involved in oil-producing regions. We will create plenty of jobs right here. We can sell the technology to other countries. It’s a win-win for all involved except of course the companies dealing in fossil fuels.

  • Yes, yes. The win against the fossil fuel industry’s Proposition 23 preventing even modest emission standards in California was the first major win against climate change.

    New York City announcement to go net-zero by 2020 AD with monthly status reports would take the lead in this most dire battle.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Parking will certainly be on the table as a revenue raiser — and will prompt a backlash.

    The one way to tackle it is the way I suggested. Given neighborhoods the option of voting for permit parking — for overnight, so as not to make it impossible for visitors to drive there.

    You would have the equivalent of BIDs to keep all the money in the neighborhood, for better street maintenance (streets are going to go to hell like everything else), more street trees and trimming, the city taking over responsibility for fixing sidewalks, etc. No alternate side — neighborhood kids paid to sweep and clear snow from residential streets.

    Those with vehicles registered and insured on the date of enactment would get a break — just $10 per month, adjusted upward only by inflation. Future residents would have to bid for the spots. In locations where a “parking shortage” is declared, no more permits until the number of vehicles drops. Only vehicles licensed and ensured in the neighborhood could get the overnight permit.

    Current vehicle owners would get a permanent right to a cheaper space, with less competition from those moving in (or now registered elsewhere).

  • BicyclesOnly


    Partial grandfathering of the curbside welfare crowd’s existing subsidy with. nominal-price overnight permit parking might be an acceptable resolution. But we’ll never end up with that resolution if the bidding starts with the premise that there should be some grandfathering. IMO, that could be a major strategic blunder. If the debate starts from the premise of grandfathering overnight parking, then the response is: “thanks very much, but overnight parking permits are meaningless because we need to park at nominal cost 24/7 , or it’s not viable to keep a car in NYC at all. We accept in principle the concept of grandfathered nominal-cost parking but it needs to be 24/7.” And that’s where the negotiation would end–de facto continuation of 24/7 free or nominal coat parking. Attitrition of the grandfathered permits would be limited as people figured out how to transfer them, in the manner of rent-stabilized and rent-controlled apartments.

    What I mean by “wide open debate with everything on the table” is having as the premise of reform that the current arrangement is no more legitimate than giving over the parking lane to any conceivable use. These other uses could include (1) widened sidewalks, (2) community gardens or Greenstreets or recreational space, (3) 100% market-rate munimeter parking with an 85% occupancy target, (4) leases to street vendors to get them off the sidewalk, (5) attractive, car-sized storage lockers that residents could lease on a monthly basis to supplement their home storage, (6) commercial-loading-only zones, including for home delivery services like UPS, Fedex, and Fresh Direct, and (7) and pop-up cafes or other commercial uses by adjacent businesses (including even outdoor parking operated by local commercial parking garages).

    Let various interests bid on these competing uses, and then it will be up to the curbside welfare crowd to justify whey they should get ANY parking benefit reserved for them as a special interest group at free or nominal cost.

    That’s how you end up at limiting curbside parking welfare to overnight parking only. To get there, we need to rhetorically emphasize that the current arrangement amount to welfare for a subset of the middle class that encourages undesirable conduct to the direct detriment and cost of their non-motoring neighbors.

  • tom

    Definitely pay to see this debate, but now I want a seat near an exit.

  • Absolutely hilarious (sort of) you guys still talking about parking. And this is far from the worst of it:

    Coastal studies experts: “For coastal management purposes, a [sea level] rise of 7 feet (2 meters) should be utilized for planning major infrastructure”
    Front-page NY Times piece on sea level rise gets it mostly right

  • Glenn

    There’s definitely a way of framing this in terms of “preventing newcomers from bringing their cars with them” and “making it easier to find parking when you need it”.

    Totally agree that on a CB by CB basis, making parking market rate with revenue going to streetscape and neighborhood improvements would be a great initiative.

  • Good point Glenn. If this debate actually happens, there will be many voices. I’m casting you as the “voice of reason”! And what I’ll be saying will only make you look that much more reasonable.

  • Steve O.

    If there’s a grandfather clause, I will buy a $200 junker, get a permit, then donate the car and rent out my permit. Who wouldn’t?

  • Marco

    While I’m on board for livable streets, I’m not sure that I’m on board for turning any space on previously *residential* streets into a new commercial or recreational zone. The thing about parked cars is that they’re not real disruptive to the homeowner, all things considered.

  • Marco, I find parked cars disruptive on my residential block. The parked cars of my neighbors obstruct deliveries to my home and cause my delivery people and other vendors to get parking summonses which they pass along to me. The double parking by the delivery trucks slows the traffic on my street to a crawl or blocks it altogether.

  • Marco

    I get your passion, but plunking anything else you’ve suggested in the place of those cars could be just as obstructive, and possibly more annoying, particularly on brownstone cross streets, where there isn’t currently sidewalk vending or busy loading zones for the most part. Unless we’re going to close streets down as pedestrian promenades (which I really *do* love), I’ve got no problem with parked cars.

    To be honest, I’m not sure that PlaNYC does either. If I had to hazard a wild guess, it would be that they’ll dedicate preferred parking for low-emissions vehicles.

  • Ian Turner

    Steve: Permit would probably be tied to license plate number, so you couldn’t rent it out; it would only be usable in the vehicle to which was originally issued.

  • Wow! This parking stuff is so engaging. Just curious what you think of this:

    A stunning year in climate science reveals that human civilization is on the precipice
    The first anniversary of ‘Climategate’, Part 1: The media blows the story of the century

  • In this context I guess the really deep question is should the city offer deep discounts for those parking spaces under water?

  • And perhaps, should there be ghost cars moored around New York Harbor in memory of those drivers lost searching for parking spaces and swept into the city’s waters by tornados, storm surges, and the occasional tropical cyclone?

  • Developing a new breed of New Yorker what prizes would be suitable for winners of daily citywide swimming competitions empowering citizens to get to work no matter what: snorkels and fins, scuba equipment, or Klepper folding kayaks?

  • Climategate scientist insists sceptics will accept global warming when Arctic … –

  • Steven F

    Gecko asks “In this context I guess the really deep question is should the city offer deep discounts for those parking spaces under water?”

    This is good – it’s just another form of car pooling….


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