Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Next New York: How the Planning Department Sabotages Sustainability

Yesterday we looked at the Department of City Planning's eight-year record on rezoning and its general success at creating opportunities for development near transit. Density, however, is only one piece of the planning process. Amanda Burden's planning department has laid the foundation for transit-oriented growth, but so far failed to create conditions where walkable development can flourish.
Across the city, mandatory parking minimums are holding New York back from true transit-oriented development. Additionally, the largest development projects in the city tend to sacrifice good planning in order to satisfy demands from developers with little interest in creating walkable places. Even as the Department of City Planning takes steps toward good urbanist principles in its rezonings, planners are sabotaging that very effort.
The department's parking policy is one major impediment. By requiring most new residential developments to include a minimum number of parking spaces per unit, the department is artificially inflating the supply of parking, inducing more traffic and subsidizing car ownership.
New research from Simon McDonnell, Josiah Madar and Vicki Been at NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy [PDF] shows how these policies actually concentrate parking in transit-rich areas. 

New York parking structure, photo by harry_nl

New York parking structure, photo by harry_nl
more posts about transportation in New York:

NYC’s Bike Route Network: Bridging the Gaps

Minimum Knowledge about Minimum Parking Requirements

NYC DOT Seeks Developer Feedback

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