Study: City-Mandated Parking Will Add One Billion More Miles of Driving a Year

Groups urge Mayor to cut new parking requirements before NYC becomes suburbia

August 17, 2008
Paul Steely White 212-629-8080

Lindsey Lusher (917) 318-1488

What: Press Conference and Executive Summary
When: Sunday, August 17, 12 pm
Where: Steps of City Hall, Manhattan

Today, leading transportation, planning and environmental groups will call on Mayor Bloomberg to change City policy that requires developers to build off-street parking with new residential buildings. This parking is required by City zoning rules, regardless of the building's proximity to transit or anticipated parking demand. The groups will release a study, Suburbanizing the City, which finds that City parking requirements will put 170,000 new cars on city streets by 2030. With little foresight, the City's zoning is transforming transit-centered neighborhoods into car-dependent ones and undermining city-wide traffic reduction goals. The report finds:

  • City planning rules requiring parking at new housing will add over 1 billion annual vehicle miles traveled by 2030.
  • Because of City zoning requirements, residents of future residential developments will be 40% to 50% more likely to own automobiles than today's New Yorkers.
  • This additional driving will add 431,000 tons of CO2 per year by 2030. By comparison, the City's "green" taxi initiative will reduce CO2 by 432,000 tons a year.
  • City agencies do not know how much off-street parking there is, how much more the zoning code requires, or how much additional driving the new parking will produce.

"One of the unique aspects of New York City is that you don't need to own a car, but City policy is telling thousands of New Yorkers otherwise," says Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "Unless these policies change, the resulting traffic will completely erase the City's positive efforts to reduce congestion." In addition to the study, the groups will release a letter calling on Mayor Bloomberg to substantially reduce the amount off-street parking being built and planned in the five boroughs. The letter from the groups recommends an environmentally sustainable parking policy which requires the City to:

  • Significantly reduce or eliminate required parking.
  • Fully assess the amount of existing and planned off-street parking.
  • Revise environmental laws so that parking impacts are fully accounted for.

The full study and letter to the mayor are available at transalt.org/files/newsroom/reports/suburbanizing_the_city.pdf.

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