Friday, January 02, 2009

Another report argues against parking requirements for projects like Atlantic Yards

Thanks to Streetsblog's end-of-the-year roundup for pointing me to the much-overlooked Transportation Alternatives report, Suburbanizing the City: How New York City Parking Requirements Lead to More Driving [29MB PDF].

What Streetsblog calls the "Best Policy Paper That You Probably Didn't See Because They Released it at the End of August" reinforces the observation--as I wrote 12/24/07 in a piece headlined PlaNYC 1950--that residential parking shouldn't be required at large outer-borough projects near transit hubs.

Last May, following up on Mayor Mike Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030 initiatives, I pointed out that watchdog groups cited the absence of parking policy as a flaw in the ambitious plan. In November, I wrote about the Regional Plan Association's criticism of parking requirements.

Policy recommendations

Based on the report, multiple endorsees (list below) urged Bloomberg to "substantially reduce the amount off-street parking being planned and built in the five boroughs," noting that city-mandated parking would could produce one billion more miles of driving annually by the year 2030, adding to congestion, harming air quality, and counteracting the city's sustainable transportation initiatives.

The study also suggests that the city is woefully underinformed about parking issues, with incomplete knowledge of existing and planned parking, and its impacts.

The recommendations

The report recommends:
1. Fully assess the amount of existing and planned off-street parking.
2. Consider measures to significantly reduce required parking.
3. Revise environmental laws so that parking impacts are fully accounted for.
4. Freeze special permits and stop directly subsidizing new parking.


Among the recommendations under section 2:
• “Unbundle” the price of parking from the cost of new residences
• Eliminate minimum parking requirements, as several other cities have done (and would make sense for projects considered transit-oriented development)
• Reclassify minimum parking requirements as maximums
• Peg the maximum parking requirement to the proximity to transit
• Establish impact fees for new parking spaces
• Incentivize car-sharing spaces in new development

The Atlantic Yards mention

The report mentions Atlantic Yards, but I think the numbers projected in the chart (click to enlarge) are misleading.

The report blends the residential and commercial variations presented in the AY environmental review, but the former configuration, as I've written, is far more likely, which would produce 2570 underground spaces for residents component and an additional 1100 underground spaces for the arena.

Endorsers

The report was endorsed by a host of organizations, including the Municipal Art Society, the APA (American Planning Association) Metro Chapter, the Pratt Center for Community Development, the Living Cities Environmental Defense Fund, the New York League of Conservation Voter, the Straphangers’ Campaign/NYPIRG, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, and the Regional Plan Association.

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