Will the Tide Turn on City Parking Policy?


 
A few weeks back Atlantic Yards Report posted a compendium of recent writings that point to the contradictions inherent in, and problems resulting from, parking requirements for urban development plans.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg's much-praised PlaNYC 2030 contains a glaring omission, a failure to address the antiquated anti-urban policy that mandates parking attached to new residential developments outside Manhattan, even when such developments, like Atlantic Yards, are justified precisely because they're located near transit hubs.

Transit-rich Manhattan isn't exempt from such requirements either, as the city fights in court to turn Hell's Kitchen parking maximums into minimums.

AYR cites a December New York Times op-ed, written by planners Alex Garvin and Nick Peterson, as one indicator that awareness of the parking paradox is entering the mainstream. And yesterday, Metro published a piece questioning the value of Community Benefits Agreements. Touted as a way to smooth possible tensions between neighborhoods and developers through a give-and-take planning process, some argue that CBAs are being abused by builders and the elected officials who support their projects.

This New York style of deal making worries California attorney Julian Gross. “The entire future of the community-benefits movement could be threatened by CBAs being sidetracked and taken over by developers and electeds who want to steer and channel the community participation,” he said. 

One result, in the case of Atlantic Yards and the new Yankee Stadium, is an influx of cars essentially legislated into neighborhoods that don't want them, even as the city preaches the virtues of sustainable growth. From that perspective, the hiring of DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and other planning dream-teamers can seem less a sign of hope than another symptom of the city's schizophrenic approach to urban mobility -- unless, whether due to publicity or change from within, a lot more stuff like this happens.

Photo: Photogrammaton/Flickr