(Ironically enough, the Empire State Development Corporation, which will override several aspects of city zoning to facilitate the Atlantic Yards project, chose not to override the city's parking policy.)
Last month, a year after Bloomberg's plan was announced, a watchdog group identified parking policy as among six administrative initiatives in order to implant the principles of sustainability into the city's governmental structure.
According to Building a Greener Future: A Progress Report on New York City’s Sustainability Initiatives, by The New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (NYLCVEF), the parking policy is threefold:
Create a variable-price parking program that would increase the price for street parking in the Manhattan Central Business District during peak hours, begin a comprehensive study of the parking requirements in the Zoning Resolution and increase city funding for the MTA.
(Emphasis added. Note that new parking revenues could support public transportation.)
On the city's agenda?
At a panel April 23 on PlaNYC hosted by the NY Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association, Marcia Bystryn of the NYCLVEF pointed to parking policy as a reform that should be on the city's agenda.
Ariella Maron, Deputy Director of the Mayor's Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability, had given a thoroughly upbeat presentation about the city's accomplishments to an appreciative audience, but parking policy wasn't part of it.
I asked directly whether the city would address the antiquated zoning roles that require .4 units of parking for each apartment unit in an outer borough development, no matter its location. She responded briefly: "The city is looking at overall parking issues. There is planning and conversation around it."
Stay tuned. A reform of parking policy seems like a no-brainer, but, even so, it might be too late for Atlantic Yards--unless the plan is scrapped or revised.