DOT Study Rejects Residential Parking Permits For Stadium Neighborhoods

The Barclays Center, under construction. Photo: Tom Kaminski/WCBS 880

The Department of Transportation has rejected neighborhood demands to implement residential parking permits around the Barclays Center and Yankee Stadium, according to a DOT report released last Friday. DOT cited the availability of on-street parking spaces during Yankee games, the large number of non-residents parking on the street for purposes other than visiting the stadium, and the heavy costs of administering and enforcing an RPP program.

The idea of a residential parking permit system has support from across the city — City Council members representing very different neighborhoods came together in support of the reserving on-street parking for locals in a hearing last year — but the Department of Transportation opposes the idea (the Bloomberg administration, however, did propose a citywide, opt-in RPP system as part of the push for congestion pricing in 2008).

At last year’s hearing, DOT representatives allowed that if residential parking permits belonged anywhere, they belonged around stadiums, and announced that the agency was in the process of studying RPP around Yankee Stadium and the Barclays Center. Now complete, that study has led DOT to believe that parking permits don’t belong there, either [PDF]. Another parking management tool is still on the table: DOT is considering modifying the parking meters near the Barclays Center to charge more or extend later into the evening, according to Norman Oder at Atlantic Yards Report.

At Yankee Stadium, DOT found, game day brings a parking crunch, but not one that the city feels the neighborhood can’t handle. Of those who drive to the park, 90 percent park in off-street lots (of which there are far too many in the area). The 10 percent who opt for on-street spaces cluster within a ten minute walk to the park. The on-street parking occupancy rate in the area rises by 3-14 percent on game days, hitting a high of between 77 and 93 percent.

Moreover, DOT found that Yankee fans wouldn’t be the group most affected by a RPP program. On non-game days, non-residents account for as many as 45 percent of parked cars, even adjusting for false registrations. “Most non-residents who park on-street during games are there for work, shopping, personal errands and so forth,” states the report.

In the Brooklyn neighborhoods around the Barclays Center, on-street parkers are a bit more likely to be residents of the neighborhood than they are in the Bronx, and the competition for on-street spaces is a bit fiercer. But, DOT argued, the impact of the smaller and more transit-accessible Barclays Center will also be smaller.

Based on the Barclays Center environmental impact statement, if Nets fans park in off-street lots at the same rate as Yankee fans, only 215 additional vehicles will park on-street during a game. In contrast, around 900 non-residents park in the area on a weekday evening currently, and 1,900 do so on Saturday afternoons. “Drivers coming to the area for other reasons are likely to outnumber Barclays Center event-goers who park on-street,” DOT concluded.

That residential parking permits wouldn’t primarily affect those driving to special events isn’t necessarily an argument against RPP, but it does suggest that stadium neighborhoods aren’t all that different from the rest of the city. The city says its broader objections to RPP apply to these neighborhoods too.

In its report, DOT restates its argument that and RPP program would cost far more to enforce than it would raise in revenue. Additionally, the report argues that managing access to RPP neighborhoods with tools such as visitors passes presents knotty logistical and ideological problems, and that allocating street space using RPP could help residents at the expense of visitors, shoppers, businesses and commuters.

Of course, the city isn’t even allowed to implement a residential permit parking program without permission from the state legislature. The opposition of State Senators Marty Golden and Andrew Lanza makes such permission extremely unlikely in the near future.

The city does have the authority to change what it charges for metered parking spaces, and appears to be considering doing so around the Barclays Center. Reported Oder:

Is the DOT looking at PARK Smart near the arena?

Hrones said that it would be tried on most of Atlantic Avenue west of Fourth Avenue, and might be tested on major arteries like Flatbush and Vanderbilt avenues. “If the community’s interested, we’re happy to work with them,” he said.

Beyond variable pricing, he said DOT would be open to extending the times on meters past 7 pm. “That said, we’d have to look at it closely,” he said. “To the extent that a meter continues to be short term only after 7 pm, that may have an impact on residents who use those commercial corridors to park as an alternative.”

The PARK Smart program charges drivers extra to park during peak hours; near a stadium, that would presumably include game times. Where implemented in Park Slope, it has let more people find spaces and cut down on cruising.