Victory for Hell’s Kitchen: Lawsuit Limits New Parking

In what looks like a big win for community livable streets advocates, the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association has settled its long-standing lawsuit over parking in the Hudson Yards area, where the Bloomberg administration sought the construction of thousands of new spaces. 

At issue was a rezoning provision that would have dramatically increased parking inventory for new Hudson Yards development by establishing parking minimum requirements. HKNA claimed the parking plan -- adopted in 2005 as part of the failed bid to build a far West Side football stadium -- violated a 1982 agreement to limit parking below 60th Street in order to keep the city in compliance with the Clean Air Act. 

The 2005 zoning, according to HKNA, would have permitted the construction of up to 17,500 new parking spots (estimates cited by neighborhood media pegged the number at closer to 20,000). Under the terms of the settlement, says an HKNA statement, "new development in the Hudson Yards will be limited to no more than 6,100 parking spaces" -- a number that, all things considered, "is expected to be approximately the same as would have been constructed under the 1982 zoning rules."

And for the first time, special permits for additional parking spaces will not be approved unless there is an actual shortage of parking in the Hudson Yards area. Currently there is no limit on special permits. The Departments of City Planning, Consumer Affairs, and Buildings will collaborate to keep an up-to-date inventory of parking spaces in the area and publish it on a web site.

The city has also abandoned plans for a 950-space underground garage originally intended for use by the stadium.

Needless to say, for a neighborhood already overrun with traffic congestion and parking garages, with attendant high levels of asthma to prove it, the settlement is welcome news. Here's hoping it might inspire the Bloomberg admin to reconsider its pro-parking push in other areas of the city.