New York’s Parking Lot
Zoning guidelines bringing more cars, carbon dioxide in to city
By Amy Zimmer
New residential developments -- where zoning guidelines often require off-street parking -- are turning New York into a car-centric suburbia, according to a report released yesterday by a transit advocacy group.
Because of the required parking spots, Transportation Alternatives estimates 170,000 additional cars will be on the city's streets by 2030, spewing an additional 431,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year -- which seems counter to the Bloomberg administration's fight against global warming.
"The average New Yorker generates one-third as much carbon as an average American," TA's Paul Steely White said.
He fears the city could lose its badge of urbanism as a transit-oriented hub and "unleash a torrent" of car ownership if the city doesn't reduce or eliminate required parking for the new developments. Residents of future homes here will be 40 to 50 percent more likely to own automobiles than today's New Yorkers, the study said.
While the Bloomberg administration has pushed congestion pricing to cut traffic as part of its eco-friendly PlaNYC, it has also been promoting rezonings, from Greenpoint/Williamsburg to Willets Point, laden with off-street parking. In Manhattan, for instance, where parking is restricted under the Clean Air Act, the Hudson Yards rezoning called for 20,000 parking spots, sparking a lawsuit from local residents.
"The city has taken a local view, designed for the convenience of the home owner," the study's author, UPenn professor Rachel Weinberger. "They don't even know how much parking already exists."
City Planning is reviewing the regulations, a spokesperson said, adding that while most areas south of 96th Street don't require parking, in other neighborhoods, "lack of parking is a frequent community complaint."
Better, but worse
A Brookings Institute report on per capita carbon footprints from 2000 – 2005 found the average New York Metro area resident emitted 0.66 tons from autos, compared to 1 ton per person from cars in metro areas nationwide. But New York's transportation per capita footprint increased 12.5 percent, compared to an increase of 2.4 percent nationwide, the report found.
Submitted by forrest on August 29, 2008 - 14:59. categories [ ]