Testimony of Noah Budnick, Deputy Director, Transportation Alternatives To the New York City Council Transportation Committee

Good afternoon. My name is Noah Budnick and I am the Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.

In recent years, Transportation Alternatives has taken a keen interest in the impact parking on New York City's congestion crisis. Efforts to manage traffic, like Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing initiative, represent critical step in taking control New York City streets. But these efforts will be most successful if complimented by reforming the way we manage parking.

Poorly managed on-street parking encourages needless driving and can negatively impact everything from delivery schedules and air quality. Unfortunately, in our efforts to better understand New York City's parking problems, we have run into a dearth of information regarding the supply of parking, and the regulations governing that supply.

This incomplete picture makes it difficult for City officials to accurately answer elementary questions, such as whether New York is gaining or losing parking capacity. The relationship between the price of off-street spaces and those at parking meters, as well as how the supply of off-street and on-street parking interact, are also poorly understood.

As New York City considers long-overdo initiatives like implementing residential parking permits, developing market-based pricing for on-street parking and reigning in the rampant abuse of government-issued parking placards, information about parking supply and demand is critical.

The direct relationship between parking supply and drivers on the road has been well established. Under the 1979 State Implementation Plan of the Clean Air Act, the EPA required the City to complete a study of off-street parking facilities in New York City to monitor this relationship. This study has still not been completed by the Department of City Planning, leaving lawmakers unable properly regulate parking supply. Thankfully, DEC Commissioner Grannis has recently requested that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection complete this study. We urge the Department of City Planning to quickly follow through with this request to aid NYC lawmakers manage the congestion crisis.

We all bear witness to the cost of ignorance: millions of miles driven in search of an under-priced parking spots, rampant traffic congestion and streets too noisy and crowded with cars to support even the most basic street life. Legislation that begins an inventory of all New York City parking spaces, including metered and alternate-side spaces, as well as public and private parking facilities, is the first step towards making parking policy part of the solution to congestion, not a root cause of it. An inventory of all parking placards issued by the City is also essential. With these tools in hand, we can move forward with modernizing parking regulations and adjusting the price of on-street parking to reduce congestion.

As we go about the long-overdo business of managing our congestion crisis, lack of parking information looms large. Parking reform could be a key complimentary policy to congestion pricing and expansion of mass transit. We urge the Council to take up measures which will contribute to the better management of our streets.

Thank you.

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