Friday, June 22, 2012

Effort to reduce required parking in Downtown Brooklyn moves ahead, supported by Forest City Ratner, other developers

Forest City Ratner, among other developers, supports a cut in required parking in Downtown Brooklyn, a possible precedent for a similar cut in parking attached to the Atlantic Yards housing planned nearby.

Streetsblog reported yesterday, in Developers, CB 2: Let’s Repurpose Downtown Brooklyn’s Empty Parking:
Parking reform in Downtown Brooklyn doesn’t go far enough, said developers at a public hearing last night, and the land use committee of Brooklyn Community Board 2 agreed. They want reduced parking requirements to apply not only to new buildings, as proposed by the Department of City Planning, but also to existing buildings and developments under construction. This would allow developers to convert empty floors of parking into retail, housing, or office space.

...Indirectly, making parking reform retroactive could also allow future developments to be built without parking, despite the continued existence of parking minimums. Existing buildings could rent out no-longer-required spaces to satisfy the parking requirements for new projects going up nearby, confirmed Purnima Kapur, director of DCP’s Brooklyn office.

The call for retroactively reducing parking requirements was echoed by representatives from Two Trees Management Company, Forest City Ratner, 388 Bridge and The Hub. Between all of their Downtown Brooklyn projects, hundreds of parking spaces could be repurposed.
As Streetsblog reported, not every board member supported the idea of reducing parking minimums, instead preferring smaller changes, given worries about impact on neighborhood streets.

The committee failed to support the proposal with a recommendation that it be made retroactive but passed it, with an amendment applying it only to projects with an affordable component.

The issue goes to the full Community Board, then the City Planning Commission and City Council.

AY impact

As I wrote June 6, despite the state's pattern of overriding city zoning in numerous ways to enable the Atlantic Yards project, the Empire State Development Corporation has not, as of yet, overridden the parking minimums assumed for the residential portion of the project.

The ESDC, which had previously mandated 1,100 on-site parking spaces, will apparently revise that, given plans to provide only 541 on-site spaces to arena-goers.

One explanation is that there is more off-site parking available than previously analyzed and, indeed, the new DCP report (below) suggests an "excess parking supply."

Then again, the impact of the arena is yet unclear. Will the empty garages in Downtown Brooklyn take up the slack or will the lack of a residential permit parking induce some arena-goers to seek free on-street parking and clog residential streets, as those seeking a Neighborhood Protection Plan fear?

Presumably Forest City would like to not have to build parking, especially for residential towers--such as those to be built at the arena block or over a railyard deck--that cannot accommodate it on-site.

However, given the question mark regarding the arena itself and the delay in building the towers, it's not surprising that no policy regarding on-site residential parking has been announced.
DCP Downtown Brooklyn Parking

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