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NYC Could Do So Much More With the Space We Let Parking Consume

An Upper West side community board recently made the opening sally of a bid to bring resident-permit parking to New York. Can New Yorkers improve on other cities’ methods? Photo: Streetopia UWS

For a city where space is supposedly a precious resource, New York gives away a shocking amount of square footage to car parking. There are around four million surface parking spaces in the city -- and almost all of them are free. Despite some recent tinkering on the margins, New York City zoning also mandates parking for most new development in most of the city. All that parking is generating traffic and hogging space that could be used for walking, biking, transit, and housing.

While global peers like Mexico City enact reforms to tackle the problem of excessive parking, New York is still taking steps backward on parking policy, like Mayor de Blasio's recent addition of 50,000 parking placards. NYC needs to do better. If we want extensive car-free zones, safe streets for biking, and surface transit that moves quickly and reliably, we need to cut down on parking.

As part of the recently-launched Streetopia campaign, Clarence put together this short overview of how cities including Zurich, Tokyo, and Olso are removing parking to curb traffic and improve other forms of transportation. Watch it and share far and wide:

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