It's not every day that a New York City real estate executive name-checks Donald Shoup, but one developer admiringly referred to the dean of progressive parking policy while explaining his project to Streetsblog. If not for the New York City Economic Development Corporation and mis-directed political pressures, says TDC Development President Michael Meyer, the huge mixed-use project he's building at one of the biggest transit hubs in Queens could have made better use of enlightened parking policy.
The project, known as Flushing Commons, is a mixture of retail, housing, and office space slated for downtown Flushing, one of New York's fastest growing business districts. It's also one of the most transit-rich areas in Queens, making it a prime location for great walkable development.
But Meyer's project is slated to include a suburban level of parking, which will induce shoppers to drive to an area that's already overrun by traffic. And if some Flushing leaders get their way, the project will include even more -- and cheaper -- parking.
Meyer believes the area is ready for walkable development, but notes that 50-year-old beliefs about transportation and development still prevail. "We're almost in a time warp," he said, adding that "Flushing is not the way it used to be," but "emotions and misconceptions" lead people to think excessive parking is a necessity.
Zoning rules require 700 spaces at Flushing Commons, according to Meyer, but the project will build far more -- 1,600 spaces -- because the parking-obsessed Economic Development Corporation demanded that level of parking.
Flushing Commons would build up to 620 residences, 275,000 square feet
of retail space and 234,000 square feet of commercial space just two
short blocks from the busiest subway station outside Manhattan.
The site is served by 21 different bus routes and is a short walk from the third-busiest pedestrian intersection in all of New York. The property, currently a 1,100-space surface parking lot, is owned by the city, hence the active involvement of EDC.
"This is not a single-use suburban development site," said parking policy expert Rachel Weinberger, co-author of a recent report on parking innovation in American cities. "And yet EDC seems to be once again pushing suburban-style development standards."Read more...