Streetsblog reported last week that the Department of City Planning is re-analyzing its minimum parking requirements in certain neighborhoods with good transit access, such as Downtown Brooklyn, Harlem and western Queens. Currently, the Zoning Resolution requires that parking be provided for almost all new developments throughout all areas of NYC, with the exception of Manhattan below 110th Street and in a limited area in Queens.
Taking another look at the Zoning Resolution’s parking requirements would seem to make sense, for a number of reasons. According to Streetsblog, some developers and local business groups are in favor of reducing the parking requirements in congested areas. Parking spaces can be required, even in relatively high density areas like Downtown Brooklyn, at rates of up 50% of all residential units (similar rates apply for commercial developments). These numbers can add up, requiring very high numbers of parking spaces for large residential buildings, and increasing construction costs for all new development because of the need to build costly underground garages.
Additionally, reducing parking in certain areas is in line with the City’s goal of reducing carbon emissions, as stated in PlaNYC, a point with which City Planning has publicly agreed: At a Bisnow breakfast at the end of 2009, Amanda Burden mentioned a comprehensive parking study as being part of City Planning’s overall sustainability initiatives, a point that Howard Slatkin, the agency’s Deputy Director of Strategic Planning, reiterated in June at a zoning and sustainability seminar here at Herrick.