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

Let this Streetopia promo from Clarence Eckerson get you in the mood to topple the status quo of free parking hogging space on every block.

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
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:

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

On a Manhattan avenue where transit and high-occupancy vehicles take precedence and the curb is reserved for deliveries, large amounts of street space can be claimed for walking and biking. Image: Street Plans Collaborative

Envisioning NYC’s Next Streets Revolution

|
New York can be a city where everyone from young kids to elderly seniors can get around without fear, where neighborhood streets can be places of congregation and activity instead of motorways. To become that city, we'll have to shift a lot more street space from cars to transit, biking, and walking.