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City’s Parking Expansion Sustains Nothing but Motoring

3:37 PM EDT on April 12, 2007

From the Tri-State Transportation Campaign's latest newsletter, three examples of how City Hall contradicts its stated Long-Term Planning and Sustainability goals with policies that foster more automobile dependence:

The huge parking expansion associated with new Yankee Stadium construction has failed to attract any bids from private operators. The city has apparently scaled the seemingly uneconomic plan back by one 900-car garage, but instead of reducing it further, it is adding more public money to ensure that the new, smaller stadium has thousands of additional parking spaces around it.

The city's Economic Development Corp. wants to award $186 million in triple tax-exempt bonds for parking garage construction, significantly upping public subsidies for the project. Housing advocates say the shortage of such "private activity" tax-exempt bonding is one reason affordable housing construction in the city lags so badly. Meanwhile, news reports say the MTA is having trouble funding the Yankee Stadium Metro-North station that was added to the stadium project after criticism last year.

Developer Forest City Ratner is about to knock down historic buildings near downtown Brooklyn to construct the borough's biggest surface parking lot. On Sunday, April 15, Brooklyn Speaks, a coalition favoring a better Atlantic Yards plan, will hold a rally against the demolition and parking lot. "Providing 1,400 surface parking spaces next to the third largest transit hub in the city is not only unnecessary, it is contradictory to the whole rationale for the project's location," the Tri-State Campaign said in the event's announcement.

The issue of urban parking and traffic may yet be aired in court. The Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association's nearly two-year-old Clean Air Act lawsuit against NY City and State recently survived a round of dismissal motions. It claims that the 2005 Hudson Yards amendment to the NYC Zoning Resolution violated clean air law by relaxing the parking regulations below 60th Street without first fulfilling the terms of an agreement with the EPA. While the development says nothing about the strength of the allegations or potential outcome of the case, it bodes well that it will be heard and decided on the merits.

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