Planning in New York City

Resources

Suburbanizing the City - This 2008 Transportation Alternatives report documents how NYC's off-street parking requirements encourage car ownership and use, and contradict policies aimed at reducing traffic.

Guaranteed Parking -- Guaranteed Driving - This 2008 Transportation Alternatives report, prepared by Professor Rachel Weinberger of U.Penn and others, compares different city neighborhoods to show how parking requirements affect driving to work.

Recent blog posts on New York City from Mobilizing the Region.

On the transportation front, the Bloomberg administration has been just short of visionary in its efforts to reallocate road space from automobiles to pedestrians, cyclists and transit. And yet, many of the ambitious economic development initiatives launched by the administration – rezoning major districts for more intensive development, new sports arenas and suburban-style big box stores – have taken place without much thought for their transportation consequences. If city development initiatives are not made alongside coherent planning for more mass transit capacity, they can worsen car dependence and traffic congestion, worsen quality of life in neighborhoods and commercial areas and further erode the city as a uniquely transit- and pedestrian-focused place. 

Though Mayor Bloomberg famously announced he wouldn’t want an IKEA store in his neighborhood, the city continues to seek to site big-box retail stores and their large parking lots in boroughs outside of Manhattan without requiring transit-oriented planning (like free or cheap delivery services for customers). City-supported stadium projects raise many of the same issues. 

The City must also deal with zoning regulations which require the construction of off-street parking spaces when new residential developments are built in virtually all neighborhoods outside of Manhattan. As long as such regulations remain on the books, each new development will tilt the city closer to car dependency.

 

Atlantic Yards

The largest planned development in Brooklyn is Forest City Ratner's ambitious Atlantic Yards, which encompasses a 19,000-seat basketball arena, 7,500 new units of housing, and office and retail space all contained in 17 skyscrapers. The project will transform the Prospect Heights and Fort Greene communities.

Development above the Atlantic Avenue transit hub is certainly appropriate, but the scale of this project combined with other nearby development could overwhelm Brooklyn’s transportation system. In addition, an "interim plan," to be implemented until Forest City can line up financing for its planned housing, will create thousands of surface parking spaces (rendering at right) that will blight downtown Brooklyn.

Besides working for an honest transportation study, we support community benefits from the project, including tying transit fares into the price of arena tickets, extensive traffic calming around the site, a more pedestrian-oriented design, shuttle services from off-site parking locations, and a residential parking permit program. 

 

Related Campaigns

These campaigns either take place in New York City or play a large role in our development-related advocacy:

Sheridan Expressway Removal

Removing the Sheridan Expressway, a lightly used stub highway in the South Bronx, would create 28 acres of land that could be developed as open space or affordable housing, and reduce the burden of transportation infrastructure on the surrounding community.

Parking Management

Free, unrestricted parking encourages driving and promotes congestion. Large lots also create large, vacant, unsafe areas that make nearby spaces less attractive for development. Tri-State advocates for innovative parking management techniques that reduce incentives to drive.

BrooklynSpeaks Coalition

TSTC is a member of the BrooklynSpeaks coalition, which argues that the Atlantic Yards project must 1. Respect and integrate with surrounding neighborhoods, 2. Include a transportation plan that works, 3. Create affordable housing that meets the community’s needs, and 4. Be truly accountable to the public.

 

» View all Transportation and Development campaigns.