In response to these concerns, the Department undertook this citywide study of both the Zoning Resolution’s parking requirements for new housing and the car ownership patterns of the residents of such housing. After reviewing the demographic and land use contexts that affect rates of automobile ownership, the study examines patterns of auto ownership. Using quantitative data from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the Census and the New York City Department of Buildings, the study analyzes the patterns in auto ownership with regard to building type and location in the city in order to determine whether current parking regulations reflect demand for parking. In addition, it examines other factors that should be considered in crafting more appropriate regulations that balance contemporary needs and goals, such as improving neighborhood quality of life, reducing congestion and pollution, encouraging the use of mass transit, and accommodating the needs of families.
Since off-street parking requirements for new residences were first instituted in 1950 in New York City’s Zoning Resolution, the city’s planners have struggled to find the right formula for balancing competing priorities. These include neighborhood concerns about overutilization of on-street parking, developers’ concerns about the cost of providing parking, and environmental considerations to reduce congestion and improve air quality by discouraging automobile ownership and use in transit-rich areas of the city. The recent surge in housing development and the cars associated with those new households has intensified the debate about parking requirements in New York City. Some communities – particularly those distant from the Manhattan Core – have argued that new housing with insufficient off-street parking has resulted in an under-supply of parking that negatively affects quality of life as drivers cruise in search of over-taxed on-street parking. Others have argued the opposite – that zoning requirements have encouraged car ownership, even when it might not be needed, resulting in more cars on the street, more congestion and more pollution.
Residential Parking Study is available as one complete document (3.22 MB).
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