Thursday, January 23, 2014

City Planning On Parking Reform: A Day Late and A Buck Short

DCP Releases Timid Parking Reform Study for the Boroughs
A long overdue study that was left to languish under Bloomberg turns out to be disappointingly weak tea. I do have hope that the deBlasio administration will do better, and on a faster schedule.
Today, even transit-oriented areas in the outer boroughs with already-low rates of car ownership have parking requirements for new development, driving up the cost of housing. But DCP's latest report only contemplates reducing, not eliminating requirements in these areas. "It makes sense to have lower parking requirements in these neighborhoods," it says, without acknowledging that cities have ditched parking mandates in areas that have much less transit access than New York's "inner ring" neighborhoods. DCP's report is focused on determining the number of parking spaces that should be provided and crafting a zoning code that will require new development to provide those spaces. "Modifications can be considered to better match parking regulations to neighborhood characteristics," it says. "In areas where parking requirements are higher than necessary, requirements can be reduced." Sandy Hornick, a long-time DCP deputy director who oversaw much of the department's parking policy, retired at the end of last year. "We're trying to better understand the role that parking plays," he told the Wall Street Journal in 2010, "and adjust our policies accordingly." But it's not the role of city government to forecast demand for parking and then adjust policy to compel developers to provide that parking. DCP acknowledges that parking mandates have a host of negative impacts, but still insists on requiring parking in new development. With the share of car-free households on the rise in New York, it's long past time for the city to get out of the parking demand projection business, and get serious about achieving its environmental and affordability objectives. Parking reform is an issue Bloomberg barely touched. By taking it on, the de Blasio administration can make serious headway on its affordability goals.

I argued as an aside at a City Planning or BSA hearing all the way back in 2008 for eliminating mandatory minimums.  At the time, Amanda Burden said, actually, we are studying that now.  So, that took a while.


Anonymous said...

Mandated parking spaces for new developments are important. Fourth Avenue is filled with new eight and ten or more story new developments. Where are those people going to park? And any time Barkley's has an event, I wind up parking my car eight or more blocks from my house, which, unfortunately, is just three blocks from Barkley's. Ratner estimated that even with mass transit, his events would bring 3,000 cars into the area per event. Now Forest City Ratner is putting up the first of 16 new high-rise housing developments. And you want to do away with parking mandates?????

Gary Reilly said...

If you design for cars, you will get more cars, and more traffic. Look into the concept of induced demand.

By the way, ending a mandate is not a ban on parking. If a developer wants to build parking into their project because they think it will be profitable they will do that.

What you seem to be asking is for the builders/renters/buyers of new housing units to subsidize your free on street parking.

From a public policy standpoint, I can't agree.