City of no parking, like anywhere — ever


It feels fair to say Eric Adams’ legacy as mayor of New York City — in whole or in large part — will teeter on the success of his “City of Yes” initiative.

As the entire program is multi-pronged and sweeping, this small space in this humble newspaper will be dedicated to only one of those prongs: “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity.” And, narrower still, on one of the goals therein: the removal of city-mandated parking for new residential development.

“’City of Yes’ would end parking mandates for new housing, as many cities across the country have successfully done,” NYC.gov vows. “The proposal will preserve the option to add parking, but no one will be forced to build unnecessary parking.”

Unnecessary parking? Seriously?

This is New York City, this isn’t Second Metroville, USA.

This is a city in which people can pay more than a $1,000 a month to park in the bowels of underground garages. In the outer boroughs — such as, say, the Bronx — this is a city in which people can pay hundreds of dollars to park in the two-car garage of the guy who owns the house across the street from their high-rise apartment.

This is the city in which, if you do find a parking spot on the street, it’s governed by so many signs, temporary placards and meters, you can basically assume you’ll have a ticket before the door to the bodega hits you in the rear on the way in.

Where is this unnecessary parking, Mayor Adams? Because, wherever it is, we need it yesterday.

And let’s examine the second part of the above proposal. What developer is going to build parking they don’t have to build, especially if it doesn’t profit them to do so?

Further, who is going to move into these buildings — especially in, say, greater Riverdale — when the only means of public escape for the carless are the buses, a couple subway stops, and three Metro-North stations along the river?

What if you want to go to Larchmont? People sometimes want to go to Larchmont, you know.

Suggesting the current parking requirements “drive down housing production and drive up rents,” as the city does, might be true for areas in which buildings are already on top of each other, but what about the builder who wants to add residential floors to an existing retail strip mall? That’s something else “City of Yes” is keen to do in its quest to “put a little bit of housing everywhere.”

Currently, the new building would have to accommodate its eventual residents’ parking needs somehow, but plopping a largely hollow garage atop the retail space feels … dicey, especially if the existing structures were never meant to support additions.

It’s all fun and games until you’re picking people out of rubble.

So maybe that garage would have to be attached to the new building, or across the street from it. Nuh uh, says, “City of Yes.”

Just layer apartments onto those shops and let people park wherever. Queens, maybe.

Environmentally, we don’t need or want more internal-combustion engines — that’s the direction in which the world seems to (finally) be moving. But there are still tons of them out there — and there are still tons of folks who need them — so how do we accommodate these cars as the population continues to expand and mobilize upward?

In the mayor’s apparent view, we say, eh, build away.

To dismiss “City of Yes” out-of-hand wholesale would be capricious. But equally capricious is the idea the best way to mitigate parking concerns in the city is simply to bin them and get on with the business of adding on. That smacks of the kind of broad-stroke, cavalier branding with which Eric Adams has approached much of his tenure as New York’s mayor.

As the kids were still saying as of this writing, this isn’t it.

Eric Adams, City of Yes, New York City, mandatory parking, housing development, NYC parking, residential development, parking mandates, NYC housing policy, urban planning NYC, NYC real estate, Mayor Adams policies