CB 12: Proposed Building on Top of 1 Train Is Too Big, Needs More Parking

X marks the spot of the 1 train entrance below a proposed apartment building on Broadway in Washington Heights, which CB 12 says needs more than 50 parking spots. Image via DNAinfo
X marks the spot of the 1 train entrance under a proposed apartment building that CB 12 says needs more than 50 parking spaces. Image via DNAinfo

Community Board 12 members voted against a proposal for a new apartment building in Washington Heights, to be built on top of the 1 train, in part because they want the developers to build more parking, according to DNAinfo coverage of the Wednesday meeting.

HAP Investment Developers wants to build a 16-story, 241-unit residential building at 4452 Broadway, with 50 parking spots to be accessed through a garage entrance on Fairview Avenue. Most residential buildings in Washington Heights and Inwood top out at six to eight stories, and the company needs a zoning variance to allow for additional height.

From DNAinfo:

Members of the Land Use committee voted unanimously to oppose HAP’s request for the zoning changes, citing the height of the building, the lack of parking and the potential impact on the character of the neighborhood.

The building would sit on top of the Broadway entrance to the 191st Street 1 train station, and would be served by several bus routes. It’s apparently lost on CB 12 members that the board serves an area where parking is not a concern for most people, given that only 25 percent of households own cars.

The HAP proposal comes four years after another firm, Quadriad, wanted to build a 650-unit complex flanking Broadway between Fairview and 190th Street. That development would have included spaces for over 500 cars — a parking to apartment ratio of about 85 percent. The proposed HAP ratio would be just over 20 percent.

Zoning in the neighborhood requires a 50 percent parking ratio. By going with a lower proportion of parking, HAP can presumably build more space for people. But that didn’t satisfy Community Board 12.

We contacted HAP about the Broadway project and its parking component, and have a message in with the company’s public relations reps.

The HAP request is scheduled to go to the full community board later this month, according to DNAinfo. That vote is advisory only. The variance will be decided on by the Board of Standards and Appeals.

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  • mrtuffguy

    Luckily, CB12 knows that housing vehicles is a greater priority than housing humans.

  • c2check

    I am continuously astounded at the absurdity that is total lack of intelligent parking regulation in NYC.

    These buildings should have zero parking spots required, unless they’re car share spots. At very least they ought to charge the full cost of garage construction and maintenance for people to be able to use the spots.

    More cars is not what Manhattan needs. Just another example of NYC failing to have an eye on the future.

  • If they didn’t demand an absurd amount of parking, how would they complain about the impacts on traffic.

  • Br’er Rabbit

    The problem is, cars are a huge hit globally – witness the explosion of car ownership in the PRC. Even if residents of Beijing can barely breathe, there’s no way any gov – capitalist or communist (or both) – will ever separate them from their cars. Bikes may be seen as a hallmark of the past – when the Chinese didn’t have that much. This may explain the “marriage” of the Chinese to the auto. The country is also adding to air pollution by using dirty coal to fuel power plants – all the countries of the world now rely on providing cheap Chinese goods to their cash-strapped people, the commodity equivalent of cheap fast-food, streaming out of China, but the price is global warming. The countries of the world are evidently willing to bargain away the future to buy peace (consumer satisfaction) in the present. This is a bad bargain long-term, but what do the leaders of these countries care? They will have had their chance to run countries, participate in the “bargain” – and then retire with a nice nest-egg, round-the-clock police protection, and so forth.

    In NYC, air pollution (AP) is not as bad as in other areas of the US, there have been many advances, especially with the shift to natural gas @ the power generating stations. If the auto industry could shake the strangle-hold of big oil and build a commercially viable electric car that would need no special charging station, i.e. could be charged at home (plug-in) then you would see real progress in curbing AP from cars. There were once electric trolleys, but the system was destroyed because of power of big oil. There is always an excuse why electric vehicles are impractical, yet advances in technology in other areas are continuing apace.

    There’s always going to be a need/demand for non-human powered vehicles – emergency trucks, for example, large delivery trucks, construction equipment, and so forth. You can’t really have modern economy/industry without large equipment that cannot be powered without mechanical assistance. That was proven back in the 19th C with inventions such as the steamboat and so forth. Every component in the computer you are reading this off, comes from a different part of the globe, probably put together in the PRC and then shipped back to the USA. You simply cannot have modern civilization without heavy mining equipment, extraction of minerals, large-scale (massive) shipping facilities and ships, and so forth.

    The growth of electric bikes in China in addition to the skyrocketing use of conventional cars, may indicate the direction the globe will take – it may be that the use of electric bikes will spread world-wide. Users could still use the bikes conventionally, but then switch to electrical battery power for longer slogs, such as traveling hundreds of miles between cities (something that the average non-professional cyclist cannot easily accomplish). Since these bikes are rechargeable at home (plug-in) and are not too expensive, the “hybrid” concept of an electric bike, may be the wave of the future, on a global level.

  • AnoNYC

    This lot has been a problem for years now in regards to shifting plans and owners. The previous developer had a way better plan too, including improvements to the subway and park.

    NIMBYs need to get over it. This is NYC and these units are welcome. And parking policy has to change.

  • Joe R.

    All good ideas. On the concept of traveling by electric bike for hundreds of miles, that could easily be practical with electric velomobiles. A velomobile enables a rider to travel at maybe up to 45 mph on their own power. Now imagine one of these with a 1 HP electric motor which could run for at least a few hours off a not too large battery. You could do highway speeds. It’ll be as fast as cars, but take up far less space, and use far less energy. These smaller, lighter vehicles will also be much safer around pedestrians in urban areas.

  • c2check

    It would be good to better invest in intercity transit—some rail would be nice 😉

    You could rent a bike at the train station when you get to your destination.

  • Joe R.

    You could probably do both. When you build the rail line, build a parallel velomobile/bike highway. Leverage the same overpasses, tunnels, and underpasses used to grade separate the railway. It’ll give people another option. It will also serve points in between rail stations where taking the train might not be feasible.

  • Miles Bader

    That doesn’t mean that attitudes won’t change though.

    This sort of cars-as-symbol-of-success, which you are right, is a pernicious effect (highly encouraged by car manufacturers, of course), but it isn’t irreversible. It seems to occur most strongly in newly developed countries, where there’s a sudden increase in wealth, but the longer a country remains above some level of wealth, the weaker the effect, as car ownership no longer has cachet, and the negative effects become more obvious.

    If you look at Japan, people of a certain age grew up in an era where car ownership was still a mark of the wealthy, and these people tend to view it as something “obviously desirable.” Younger people on the other hand, tend to view cars more dispassionately, as a mere item of utility, with obvious downsides, and to a large degree just aren’t that interested in owning one. Japan was lucky enough (unlike the U.S.) to avoid becoming dependent on universal car ownership, giving people more freedom to actually choose.

    [Watching a conversation between old and young people on the subject of “do you want to own a car” is hilarious, with the young saying things like “meh, maybe, not really, if I have to”, and the older ones reacting in disbelief, “how can you not want one?!?”… ><]

    I think the key is to make sure people have a good choice, by maintaining (and extending as required by population changes etc) non-car transportation networks in good condition, and avoiding excessive subsidies to cars.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    easiest method to change behaviour is to stop lavishly subsidizing car driving.

    if drivers had to pay the full cost of their driving, there would be far less driving. Numerous studies suggest that at least 25% of all motor trips are essentially frivilous.

  • Alexander Vucelic


    no need to build anything new – just take over a few interstte lanes 🙂

  • Larry Littlefield

    “It’s apparently lost on CB 12 members that the board serves an area where parking is not a concern for most people, given that only 25 percent of households own cars.”

    What percent of the Board members have cars?

    What percent of the non-car owners are recent arrivals to the city (last 15 years), or immigrants that can’t vote?

  • Manob Islam

    easiest method to change behaviour is to stop lavishly subsidizing car driving…..

    Make Money Online

  • WoodyinNYC

    The CB 12 members (and the pols who appoint them) have already got their places to live and their cars to drive.

    And if you don’t have a nice place to live or a car to park, well, the Devil takes the hindmost.

  • valar84

    Here is the problem: on-street parking is free in NYC, they don’t even have residential parking permit for crissakes! So of course in that context, the idea of trying to get people to pay the full cost of the construction cost of off-street parking spots to people is a non-starter. I think there is a Seinfeld line about this “why pay for something that, if you apply yourself, you can get for free?”. The cost of a parking spot in a parking garage is about 30 000$ on average. 30 000$ vs a few parking tickets once in a while.

    So unless the city forces developers to provide off-street parking spots, they’re just not going to, because the on-street parking short-circuits the market for parking and reduces artificially the price to far below construction cost.

    And the incumbents, the current residents, they want to keep their free spots. The more people come live in the neighborhood and bring over their cars to park them on the street, the harder finding street parking spots will be.

    In Arlington, for the Rosslyn-Ballston transit corridor, their solution to the problem was to reserve all the street parking spots to current residents through residential parking permits, guaranteeing them parking spots on the street, while forcing all new residents to either buy permits from current residents or pay for off-street parking spots. But the area was low-density suburban before the redevelopment, with 2 or more parking spots on the street per household. It wouldn’t work in areas where there are already more households than there are parking spots on the street. You’d need to find a way to ration these permits, for example through auctions.

  • neroden

    Why do the appointed Community Boards even exist?

    Shouldn’t they be abolished? They serve no democratic function.


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