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Parking Requirements Will Be Reduced in a Huge Chunk of NYC

5:01 PM EDT on March 17, 2016

Council-Modifications-of-Transit-Zone
In the orange areas, parking requirements will no longer apply to subsidized housing and senior housing. Map via City Council. Click to enlarge.
Last year, the city eliminated parking requirements for senior and affordable housing developments within the orange areas on this map. Click to enlarge.

The de Blasio administration and the City Council released more details of their agreed-upon housing plan this afternoon, including a map showing where parking requirements will be reduced. For the most part, it's very good news: Parking requirements will be eliminated for subsidized housing and senior housing in 90 percent of the area originally proposed by City Hall.

The so-called "transit zone," the area in line for lower parking requirements, shrank in a handful of neighborhoods concentrated in southern Brooklyn, central Queens, and the east Bronx. For the most part, though, the map approved by two City Council committees today keeps City Hall's parking reforms intact.

In a huge area of the city (the part well-served by the subway, roughly speaking), building subsidized housing and senior housing will no longer be weighed down by mandates that required the construction of car storage -- much of which went unused. The new rules also enable construction on existing parking lots on subsidized housing sites, as long as the new housing is also below market-rate. Basically, building shelter for people is going to get easier because New York stopped insisting on requiring so much shelter for cars.

There are still many parking reforms left to enact. The de Blasio plan doesn't reduce parking requirements for market-rate housing or lift parking mandates for subsidized housing all over the city. But this is by far the most significant parking reform the city has enacted since Streetsblog began covering the issue nearly 10 years ago. You'd probably have to go back to the early 1980s and the Manhattan off-street parking caps to find something comparable.

Looking forward, the fact that this proposal passed the council bodes well for any future attempt to further reduce parking mandates in NYC. Despite all the community board crankiness and resistant City Council members, New York does have the political will to reform parking mandates if it means more people can afford to live in the city. In addition to the mayor, plenty of council members get it. That's something to build on.

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