The study is available as a complete document.
The executive summary is also available for separate download.
In 2008, with the assistance of a Federal grant, City Planning launched a study to collect data about off-street parking in the Manhattan Core through a survey of current users, to analyze that data to better understand user characteristics, and to use that information to help in assessing the zoning regulations governing parking in the Core. The report, the
Manhattan Core Public Parking Study (2011), identified recent trends in off-street parking as well as a number of deficiencies in the existing parking regulations.
Much of the research for the study was conducted through a survey. The survey was conducted between March and May 2009. Planners from City Planning collected almost 2,900 intercept surveys from 110 public parking facilities spread throughout the Manhattan Core. The number of parking spaces in the surveyed facilities represented approximately 15 percent of the 146,000 public parking spaces in the Manhattan Core licensed by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). Respondents included commuters, people conducting business, Manhattan residents, medical patients, and those visiting for leisure. The survey included questions about trip purpose, home ZIP code, reasons for not taking mass transit, frequency of respondents’ auto trips to Manhattan, and respondents’ occupation. In addition to the survey of public parking users, the Department also collected operator-provided data about the parking facilities, including the percentage of spaces occupied by residential monthly parkers.
The study also included analysis of Census and other data to furnish insight into how demographic trends and changes in car ownership patterns relate to utilization of off-street parking. Transportation data, including the annual reports on Hub (CBD)-bound travel issued by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC), were analyzed in order to ascertain how travel into the Manhattan Core has changed since 1982. In addition to data analysis, City Planning closely reviewed the Manhattan Core regulations and the City Planning Commission’s experience in recent years with review of parking special permit applications. The purpose of this analysis was to identify areas where the regulations may be obsolete, inconsistent with current policies, or insufficient for a well-functioning special permit process. Planners also interviewed practitioners with experience in parking facility design. More recently, the Department conducted an ongoing survey of residential buildings constructed since 2000 in the Manhattan Core to determine, among other information, whether these buildings provided parking and whether the parking is public. Public parking facilities in New York City, except for municipal facilities operated by the City, are licensed by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).
The Manhattan Core Public Parking Study identified these key findings:
- The Manhattan Core parking regulations have proved to be compatible with population and job growth and a thriving Central Business District (CBD). Travel into the CBD has shifted toward transit while off-street parking is less critical though it still plays an important role in supporting economic activity and residents.
- The supply of off-street parking in the Manhattan CBD has declined by about one-fifth (about 127,000 in 1978 to 102,000 in 2010) since the Manhattan Core parking regulations were enacted due to the redevelopment of surface lots and garages, and to the parking regulations.
- Levels of car ownership and auto commuting in the Manhattan Core are relatively low. Approximately 23 percent of Manhattan Core households own a car, compared with 46 percent Citywide.
- Public parking facilities serve a large number of Manhattan residents and fill neighborhood needs for residential parking. In contrast with 1982, when most public parking was utilized by commuters and other business parkers, a large portion of spaces in public parking facilities were found to be utilized by Manhattan residents on a monthly basis for long-term residential parking.
- Most new as-of-right parking facilities in the Manhattan Core operate as public facilities, this is despite zoning regulations that require parking permitted on an as-of-right basis to be reserved for accessory use only. These facilities are available to neighborhood residents who do not live in the building and function as a neighborhood parking resource.
- Limited amounts of new parking are still needed. Many people who park in public parking facilities make all or most of their trips into the Core by car. Parking will still be needed to accommodate some share of trips, even if that share continues to fall, and to support economic activity and accommodate residential demand.
As a result of the study, the Department is now proposing targeted improvements to the existing off-street parking regulations. The Manhattan Core Parking text amendment would ensure that the amount of parking provided in the Manhattan Core meets parking needs while addressing the city’s sustainability objectives of encouraging public transit and reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.