Hell’s Kitchen Parking Plan Continues to Confound

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The Daily News has picked up on the city's court battle to bring some 20,000 new parking spaces to the far West Side, a plan that -- along with at least one or two other notorious examples -- is directly at odds with the Bloomberg administration's ambitious environmental agenda.

Local residents are suing to block Bloomberg's rezoning plan for the area because of the extra parking, and environmental and transportation groups also call it bad policy.

"It sounds to me like the development people are not talking to the environmental people at City Hall," said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), who represents the area. "It would encourage more people to drive cars into the central business district. If you build off-street parking, they will come."

The Bloomberg administration says it hopes most workers and residents will rely on mass transit to get there.

"The recent rezoning of Hudson Yards, which was done concurrently with the approval of the expansion of the No. 7 subway, will promote the emergence of a new public-transportation-oriented residential and commercial community with considerable affordable housing and public green space," said mayoral spokesman John Gallagher.

In a speech to the Manhattan Institute last week, Bloomberg said extending the 7 train to Hudson yards will make it "the next Gold Coast of this city."

Gottfried, though, said more parking will create more congestion. "If increased development is going to be accompanied by increased automobile traffic, it will strangle itself," he said.

State environmental regulators had not objected to the rezoning until critics complained in August. Now state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis has ordered the city to study how parking limits affect air pollution.

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Photo: jay d/Flickr