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Downtown parking

City wants to cut required parking lots at D’town developments

The Brooklyn Paper

The city wants to drastically reduce the number of parking spaces required at Downtown residential developments — elating both builders and transit advocates who claim bulky garages raise rents and are under-used wastes of space.

Under the Department of City Planning’s proposal, which will likely be presented within a few months, Downtown would spearhead a city effort to cut the number of parking spaces required for new market-rate housing developments and completely eliminate mandatory parking at below-market-rate buildings.

“Every developer out there would love to see Brooklyn with reduced parking minimums,” said David Behin, a partner at MNS, the real-estate company that marketed the Furman Street condo One Brooklyn Bridge Park. “At the end of the day, it makes development harder to do.”

Real estate investors say that the city’s current rules create half-empty car depots.

At the 42-story Avalon Fort Greene, only half of its 253 spaces are taken. The Brooklyner, DKLB BKLN, and the Oro reported similar vacancies.

David Kramer, principal at Hudson Companies, called the current zoning rules insane.

“In certain locations it’s great to have parking and it’s a profit center, but other locations it becomes prohibitively expensive,” aid Kramer, whose J Condominium in DUMBO has 267 units and 320 parking spaces — but only 37 percent of tenants actually rent them.

Zoning rules in parts of Downtown require off-street parking for as much as 50 percent of units. Even though some spots that aren’t used by building residents become hourly parking or get leased by neighbors, supporters of the city’s plan say there are simply too many vacant parking spaces.

City reps acknowledge that current parking rules can also be a barrier to the development of affordable housing, since builders can’t recoup their costs if residents can’t afford to lease the spaces.

Downtown will be one of the city’s first neighborhoods to consider parking reforms, as urban planners work to shift housing growth to denser, mixed-use areas.

But not everyone is on board with parking reductions.

Prospect Heights residents are outraged that the developer of a 55-unit apartment across from the Barclays Center doesn’t want to include parking — claiming that new tenants will take up street parking in an area that will soon be flooded with arena crowds.

Reducing parking requirements might rile some motorists, but it has put transit activists and wealthy developers on the same side.

“We’re a very transit rich city,” said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “The idea that we require a certain amount of parking construction instead of a contribution to the transit system is puzzling.”

Reach Kate Briquelet at kbriquelet@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

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jj from brooklyn says:
Idiots! People buying $Million apartments will have cars. Developers should be required to provide parking! On this, transit advocates are delusional.
March 23, 2012, 7:32 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Only in this city could "Luxury" be defined as "without a parking space."

The utopian fools don't get the idea that PARKED cars are not causing traffic, nor polluting, but that cars moved daily to satisfy the street cleaning rules or circling the block endlesly to find a spot are causing their dreaded 'pollution' and 'congestion'.

Get on the bus comrade! And wear that Mao hat straight on your head.
March 23, 2012, 8:16 am
Jacob from Clinton Hill says:
It's about time. Why are we requiring developers to build parking spaces that no one wants (even the millionaires, jj)? More parking spaces equals more driving and more traffic. If developers need to build parking spaces to sell million dollar condos than they will build them. If they don't, they won't. Requiring them to build parking spaces that no one wants is beyond lunacy.
March 23, 2012, 9:08 am
Gary from Park Slope says:
If you add hundreds or thousands of parking spaces to a congested area, you are adding hundreds or thousands of car trips in that congested area. And knowing you can easily find your reserved parking spots upon returning home creates more incentive to drive rather than take mass transit, walk or bike. So in addition to increasing the cost of development and the glut of empty off-street parking spaces, parking minimums in dense transit rich areas makes no sense. People want to live in these areas because they are in a dense, walkable, transit rich urban environment. We don't need to make it easy to own and store a car there.
March 23, 2012, 9:42 am
Kevin from Flatbush says:
Love the comments from the first 2 dolts on here....

Actually facts show that the required garages at 4 of the largest DT Brooklyn developments are WAY bellow capacity. The buildings are full of people, and the garages are 1/2 empty.

But please, don't let facts get in the way of your assumptions. Just add an exclamation point to your unsupported assertions, when you can't use logic or evidence.
March 23, 2012, 10:10 am
ty from pps says:
Like Jacob says, "If developers need to build parking spaces to sell million dollar condos than they will build them. If they don't, they won't."

This is not an issue of the city banning parking facilities -- it's an issue of the city currently *requiring* underutilized parking facilities. The effect is two-fold: (1) increased costs for the USED space because the apartment price tags have to subsidize the unused/vacant parking facilities, and (2) ghost town style streets with no street-level amenities. Take a look at the new big condo buildings on 4th Avenue. Had to provide minimum parking, but couldn't dig down because of the subway and huge costs of subterranean construction.... so there is no a barren street because the first levels are parking, not retail spaces. Who wants to walk down 4th Avenue when there is nothing on it but bare walls.
March 23, 2012, 11:08 am
jj from brooklyn says:
factors resulting in the under-utilization of garages on downtown's fort greene end are TEMPORARY; eventually, unless real-estate in the area tanks long-term, the garages will fill up (just as they have on downtown's Brooklyn Heights end!). if the garages are not built with new construction, the neighborhood will regret it later.
March 23, 2012, 11:12 am
jj from brooklyn says:
also, lots of people in the downtown vicinity garage their cars for OCCASIONAL use and do not commute on a daily basis.
March 23, 2012, 11:13 am
Michael from Ft. Greene says:
Maybe the Avalon and some of those other places should be advertising their available spaces to the local residents at competitive rates. With that Barclays Arena (or as I like to call it, the Rusty Mothership from Planet Waffle House) opening, I can't imagine they would have any difficulty filling every single tiny spot. And if that Sam Scwarz plan for Congestion Pricing Lite gets off the ground the demand will be enormous.

This sounds like the building industry looking for a short term nickle. Again.
March 23, 2012, 11:28 am
ty from pps says:
jj - What part is temporary? The buildings are full of residents who pay a large sum of money to live there... but don't have cars in the garage. I know many many people who use a car for occasional use. They use a Zipcar or Hertz Rent-a-Car.
March 23, 2012, 12:17 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
The reason Avalon Fort Greene,,The Brooklyner, DKLB BKLN, and the Oro have so many open spaces is becuase they have not sold their units to the affluent as planned. All of these buildings hit th market just as the market was dying so they are filled with short term renters. When the market comes back, and they sell these things, folks will want parking. The renters can't afford cars in some cases but people shelling out a million plus for a 1 bedroom will be able to afford cars. Maybe the lack of parking will eventually force people out to the streets and we can get all those freeloading FDNY, non-emergency vehicles off the side streets.
March 23, 2012, 12:42 pm
Judahspechal from BedStuy says:
So the argument is that more parking spaces encourages people to buy cars? Really? When I first heard of this law I thought it was a great idea. Looking for parking sucks in this city. Waste gas & time. Why so tenant specific w/ regard to these spaces?

Another problem is the cost. I am waiting for the Free Market principal to kick in. But if the developers are so against this they will never price parking competitively to create a market. I call that collusion. Just listen to their current argument.

Why is this a one size fit all requirement and not project by project basis depending on the area of development. Since permitts has to be acquired to build. Why not make a part of that process?
March 23, 2012, 12:48 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I was trying to figure out who had the stupider comments on this article, jj or Or. Good news: it's a tie! JJ is completely innumerate, while Or equates letting the free market allocate resources with Maoism.

Dumb. As. Bricks.
March 23, 2012, 1:39 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I was trying to figure out who had the stupider comments on this article, jj or Or. Good news: it's a tie! JJ is completely innumerate, while Or equates letting the free market allocate resources with Maoism.

Dumb. As. Bricks.
March 23, 2012, 1:39 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I was trying to figure out who had the stupider comments on this article, jj or Or. Good news: it's a tie! JJ is completely innumerate, while Or equates letting the free market allocate resources with Maoism.

Dumb. As. Bricks.
March 23, 2012, 1:40 pm
some facts from downtown says:
Swamp Yankee - All three buildings (Brooklyner, Avalon and DKLB) were all ALWAYS planned to be rentals. Two of them (Avalon and Brooklyner) are owned by Real Estate REITS that only do rental and never ever ever do condos. I hope this doesn't in the way of your conspiracy theories...
March 23, 2012, 2:38 pm
some facts from downtown says:
Also all of the buildnigs are full of people paying over $2500 for a tiny one bedroom. If you translate those expenses to condos, these people are spending way more money on housing than your typical condo owner. This is not an issue of income, the residents of these buildings are plenty rich and could easily afford cars if they wanted them.
March 23, 2012, 2:41 pm
some facts from downtown says:
Also all of the buildnigs are full of people paying over $2500 for a tiny one bedroom. If you translate those expenses to condos, these people are spending way more money on housing than your typical condo owner. This is not an issue of income, the residents of these buildings are plenty rich and could easily afford cars if they wanted them.
March 23, 2012, 2:41 pm
ch from bh says:
no parking means no cars.

no cars means no traffic.

no traffic means happiness.
March 23, 2012, 3:22 pm
Anthony says:
Maybe if DKLB or Avalon reduced the prices...also at DKLB we dont use the attached garage even though we live in the building because it closes at 12AM...what kind of a garage isnt 24 hours? I also hate that EVERY garage is Valet...we can park our own cars...there is a park and lock on Myrtle and Ashland which is $158 a month, not bad and the best I've seen, but I park in the 24 hour lot on Dekalb and Ashland
March 23, 2012, 3:32 pm
Anthony from Downtown says:
and yes, We pay $3100 for a 1BR/1BA in DKLB....Then $215 for our parking that isnt in the building
March 23, 2012, 3:35 pm
ty from pps says:
You're paying $3100 a month for a 1BR/1BA in the DKLB building and you're questioning the rationality of a parking garage that closes early? A little ironic.

(sorry, I couldn't resist)
March 23, 2012, 3:50 pm
Gerry from Uptown says:
paying $3100 to live in brooklyn? You'd have to pay ME to live there! I live uptown, pay a fraction of that and park on the street free.
March 23, 2012, 5:47 pm
You big dummy says:
The DKLB building is a ripoff. Def not the best value. You can get a penthouse 1br for less than that in Avalon.
March 23, 2012, 6:13 pm
ty from pps says:
Penthouse in Avalon... wouldn't that be like a 10 minute elevator ride? You have to figure it into your commute time.
March 23, 2012, 6:38 pm
dt bk resident from downtown brooklyn says:
there are 12 subway lines within a few blocks in downtown brooklyn. it's a mass transit hub, not a suburban bed town and residents simply don't own cars because it's too darn expensive and unnecessary.

for occasional driving, you can rent a zip car for a lot less than owning one, saving the $100-$200/mo for insurance, $200-$250/mo for parking, $200 for car payments, $100 for gas.

most of manhattan is exempt from parking requirements because, like downtown brooklyn, it's very accessible to mass transit and car ownership in dense urban areas is expensive and superfluous.
March 23, 2012, 9:15 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
Here's my Brooklyn Paper idea-o-meter, which so far has proved 100% accurate:

If Or, SwampYankee and jj are opposed to an idea, it's a lock that the idea is brilliant.

You can take it to the bank that the idea of cutting parking minimums in downtown Brooklyn is one of the few good ideas to come out of the Department of City Planning in years.
March 23, 2012, 10:42 pm
old time broooklyn from slope says:
hs a ciy. There have always been cars (horse and buggy etc) and always will be. If you want to ride with the slop in mass transit forever go right ahead.
Since when is driving and car ownership such a crime (I guess if t you're a 20 - 20 something kid from cup of coffee, Idaho you think youre going to change this - well you aint so deal with it.
March 24, 2012, 11:45 am
ty from pps says:
Old Time -- What an absurd comment. Why haven't you moved to Long Island or New Jersey yet?
March 24, 2012, 11:56 am
long-time PH resident from Prospect Heights says:
Gee, Zipcars also need a place to park. Maybe the developer should be required to have some parking inside a multi-family building for resident owners, resident renters or commercial use like Zipcars. Personal vehicles are not disappearing, though new rideshare models are developing to which even folks who are 65 are actually responding.
March 24, 2012, 2:03 pm
ty from pps says:
There are 24 Zipcar locations in and around downtown brooklyn. Many with more than a dozen vehicles.
March 24, 2012, 2:18 pm
J.b. diGriz from Fort Greene says:
I've lived in the city my entire life, and I'm looking forward to ditching parking minimums. It tilts the long-term wider stage to less expensive housing, and more of it. What the city needs to stay vibrant, robust, and pluralistic is a couple hundred thousand more housing units. Nothing is off the table when it comes to ensuring we never get pigeonholed into being top-heavy in any one industry or socioeconomic class.

The people complaining about this have too much of their identity tied up into personal vehicles. As if the upfront cost of getting a vehicle is the real barrier to car ownership. The idea that parking fixes traffic problems isn't something my six year old would buy with someone else's dollar. Just like building more roads doesn't improve congestion, building more off-street parking doesn't magically make cars teleport between destinations, or otherwise moderate people's desire to leverage that asset. They hit the road and keep hitting it till the finite capacity precipitates out an equilibrium. In midtown two years ago, going west, on average, all things being equal, that's 4.2mph. Going east it's 4.8mph. Expand more parking, maybe you lower the bar to entry a little bit but you just further slow down traffic. We can't even do right by the BQE's maintenance, and people are - I guess - holding out for expanded road networks? That's ridiculous. It's not just a matter of personal preference; the city's on track for going over 9 million in the next 20 years. Where are they going to be living, traveling and parking? Will they be making today's millionaires look like pikers (if we don't do something about housing)? How will they make you look?

Cars are hassles, even with parking, which is why those parking spaces lie fallow. Some of those people some people love to hate may be rich, but they're not THAT rich do as to value their time so inappropriately. They vote with their metrocards, zipcar membersips and taxi receipts.
March 24, 2012, 5:12 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
ty - why would i move to li - born and raisded in brooklyn and no intention of leaving. i was in the slope when it was a 'bad'area though it totally rocked . cars aint going anywhere (oh how peeps will jump on the irony - mazel tov
March 24, 2012, 5:34 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I think it would be better of these buildings had more for the parking premiums rather than less or none. If those people can afford the rents, they can afford to park in the garages that are part of them. BTW, in Manhattan, although no new public parking garages or lots can be built according to zoning laws, they can still be included in residential apartments for residents living there as well as in hotels for guests only. However, this is no longer allowed for commercial property, which the closest they can have is for loading docks only. Having the luxury buildings include parking is the same for having your own driveway, which is the case in many other cities not just throughout the country, but also around the world. With this, there would be no reason for them to constantly circle the streets to find a spot only to move it withing the next couple of days in the morning to be legal.
March 24, 2012, 6:33 pm
dreamking from FG/CH says:
Pleasantville, what you're describing would continue to put rising pressure on the cost of housing. Parking minimums in their current form are why 'luxury' is mostly the only kind of housing that's been built since the 90s. Only a city landowner, or a beneficiary of city landowners would advocate for such a position. Or you're just confusing a few personal peeves for real problems.

People smarter than us who work in this field understand that congestion is not primarily caused by parking circlers. Double-parkers are a different story, but that could be fixed with losing some parking spaces and converting them to loading/unloading spaces.
March 24, 2012, 7:01 pm
Jay from Downtown says:

People who want/need cars will get them no matter what. It is better if the choice to park the car in the building is available. I believe, as someone above suggested, the reason for the 'empty' garages is that the buildings are not fully occupied or temparely occupied by renters rather than owners.
March 25, 2012, 9:29 am
henry ford from bay ridge says:
Zipcars? Ever price them? You would have to be a friend of Bloomberg to afford one. It's much better to own your own car, and have freedom of mobility, than to support bandits.
March 25, 2012, 10:13 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Seriously, as much as some of you hate cars, just like the WNBA, they are here to stay, so get used to them. I would rather the new projects have them than having some of those people competing with others for spots assuming the others drive as well. Unfortunately, there will always be times when it's cheaper to rent rather than own a property. However, the parking premiums shouldn't go away completely, they should stay, though I do think that there should be some changes to them. For those that didn't know, many housing projects tend to have parking by them that is for residents as well, and last time I checked, that wasn't for the rich. As a matter of fact, they were always built with parking by them as it would be the case if anymore get built right now.
March 25, 2012, 12:13 pm
long time PH resident from Prospect Heights says:
ty from pps, yes precisely my point. 24 Zipcar locations in and around downtown Brooklyn are a minimal amount, in the long term. And I predict that many will need more slots as the years go on and population density increases.
I suggest that car sharing parking slots (not necessarily for Zipcars) should displace at least some reserved private parking slots. Specifically, The City of NY could require that multi-family buildings allocate some parking spaces to car sharing parking slots.
As for many topics (such as how to use residential parking permit programs around arenas and stadiums to disincentivize driving), New Yorkers can learn from Chicago. Check out the Center for Neighborhood Technology's I-GO car sharing program - I-GO is a non-profit corporation. For you transit advocates, note that, FOR MORE THAN THREE YEARS, I-GO has had a joint smart card in cooperation with the Chicago Transit Authority.
March 25, 2012, 12:47 pm
long time PH resident from Prospect Heights says:
ty from pps, yes precisely my point. 24 Zipcar locations in and around downtown Brooklyn are a minimal amount, in the long term. And I predict that many will need more slots as the years go on and population density increases.
I suggest that car sharing parking slots (not necessarily for Zipcars) should displace at least some reserved private parking slots. Specifically, The City of NY could require that multi-family buildings allocate some parking spaces to car sharing parking slots.
As for many topics (such as how to use residential parking permit programs around arenas and stadiums to disincentivize driving), New Yorkers can learn from Chicago. Check out the Center for Neighborhood Technology's I-GO car sharing program - I-GO is a non-profit corporation. For you transit advocates, note that, FOR MORE THAN THREE YEARS, I-GO has had a joint smart card in cooperation with the Chicago Transit Authority.
March 25, 2012, 12:47 pm
Peter from Park Slope says:
I grew up in NYC. I owned a car in NYC for 15 years. Do the math:

Assuming you own it outright. $1000/year for gas. $1000/year for insurance (if you're lucky). $2500-3000/year for parking (and most lots are more than $200/mo). $1000/year for maintenance/tires/one major repair.

That's EASILY $5000-6000 year in operating costs. Plus the sunk cost of -buying- a car that loses a ton of value every year.

In NYC? why bother? During the week, I can take the train, the bus, a taxi, or walk. Need a car for errands, or to get out of town? Easy, ZipCar. Even with a fancy BMW rental, that'd be almost 20 full weekends before I reached my annual expense.

Getting rid of my car and moving to car-sharing was one of the best things I did in the last few years. Looking at all the angry, upset, reckless drivers out there makes me feel like I added years to my life by just walking away from it all.
March 25, 2012, 6:46 pm

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