Can Brooklyn Build More, But With Less Parking?

March 28, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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By Dennis Holt

Senior Editor

Without much fanfare, in fact almost as an afterthought, major transportation initiatives are being advanced for our consideration. Two are not new — East River tolls and downtown Brooklyn residential permit parking.

The third was not expected. It could be called another example of the Manhattanization of Brooklyn. The City Planning Department is having to re-look at the old regulation concerning on-site parking for apartment buildings built outside Manhattan.

The premise is easy to understand. People in Manhattan mostly don’t own cars and don’t need subscribed parking spaces; people in the outer boroughs do have cars and need those spaces, usually as part of the building in which they live. Think of Bay Ridge.

But all the apartment building in downtown Brooklyn and in Williamsburg is bringing in those Manhattan people who don’t have cars and don’t need subscribed on-site parking spaces.

Studies show the situation prevailing at major new Brooklyn apartment buildings. The Brooklyner has 160 spaces but only 52 are taken; for DKLB, of its 126 spaces 63 are used and for the Avalon with its 253 spaces only 126 are in use.

It’s very expensive to build underground garages that aren’t needed, and this high cost discourages the building of affordable housing. So the City Planning Department is studying possible amendments to current regulations, but the solution isn’t easy. Where to go geographically? Keep in mind that the three examples shown would put 266 cars onto the streets if there were no on-site parking.

Can centralized parking garages for residents, not for downtown workers, be considered? There might be other “outside the box” possibilities.

The old issues of East River tolls and residential permit parking won’t go away either, and there have been hints from public officials that we will hear new thinking on them. One proposition isn’t new: there cannot be East River tolls without downtown Brooklyn neighborhood residential parking permits.

But let’s get some new thinking on these three issues!

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