Brooklyn officials call for end of minimum parking requirements at new developments

March 1, 2022

Photo courtesy of Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

Brooklyn officials are calling for the end of minimum parking requirements at new construction projects in transit-rich neighborhoods. Currently, developers of most new residential developments in the borough must create off-street parking spaces for both as-of-right and rezoned projects. Officials argue parking minimums disrupt the area by adding congestion, reducing walkability, and producing more carbon emissions. While changing requirements is seen as more of a long-term goal, officials on Monday voiced a temporary solution: asking the Department of City Planning to encourage developers to include special permit applications to waive parking requirements for any residential project subject to rezoning.

In a letter to DCP penned by Council Member Lincoln Restler and Borough President Antonio Reynoso, and signed by several other officials, the Brooklyn pols said cutting parking minimums would discourage the use of cars in transit-rich areas in an effort to reduce carbon emissions and ultimately create a more eco-friendly city.

According to the officials, parking minimums also take away from the construction of quality affordable housing units. The letter uses a proposed development at North 7th Street and Bedford as an example of the detriment caused by minimum parking requirements. Due to the requirement, the 28-unit development under construction requires 14 parking spots in the property’s cellar, forcing developers to spend an exorbitant amount of money on sub-par parking spaces instead of ensuring quality affordable housing units. These spaces drive up the price of living in a city where rent is already high.

“Right now, we need to be laser focused on tackling the climate crisis and creating affordable housing for our neighbors,” Restler said. “We are leveraging the collective power of elected officials in the land use process to eliminate construction of new parking spots on top of subway stations.”

In addition to contributing to climate change and street congestion, many of these parking spaces which are created on the ground floor of buildings influence the look of the street.

According to a press release, these parking spaces lead to “dark, drab, lifeless streets rather than dynamic ground floor retail and community spaces that generate jobs and fulfill critical neighborhood needs.”

“Parking minimums incentivize people to own and drive cars. In the face of a climate crisis, an epidemic of traffic violence causing death and carnage on our streets, and a crippling lack of affordable housing, parking minimums are the exact wrong policy,” Sara Lind, Director of Policy at Open Plans, said.

“New York City should be doing everything we can to encourage people to use sustainable modes of transportation and to lower housing costs. Eliminating parking minimums is a critical step towards those goals.”

State Sen. Brad Hoylman introduced a similar proposal to end parking minimums in the state legislature last month. The proposed legislation by Hoylman would “prohibit cities…from requiring construction of off-street parking,” as Streetsblog reported.


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