Saturday, June 2, 2007

West Side parking lot protest

"Now that the stadium's gone, the parking lot doesn't make a whole lot of sense," the co-chair of Community Board 4's transportation committee, Christine Berthet, said. "The community is opposed to this. We support the extension of the no. 7 train line and the planning for how to bring people to the Javits Center shouldn't be for people to come by car."

City Is Seeking To Build a Giant Parking Lot Near the Hudson Yards

City wants 20,000 new parking spaces in Hell's Kitchen

Response from

"This is the BS from people like Christine Berthet. They support Hudson Yards, the Javits and the No. 7 subway extension. But all involve huge towers and more traffic -- a LOT more traffic (of course, these are the same people that claim a phone booth 30 feet away was responsible for a bus running over a pedestrian on 9th and 45th St. recently).

If you have 24 million SF of office space, using the US. Dept. of Labor guidelines of one person for every 200 SF, then that's 120,000 additional people coming into the area every single day (not just football Sundays, not counting 15-20,000 new residences and not counting the people occupying six million SF of office space in the new towers above Penn Station).

And if you consider around 10% vehicle-trips per person, that could mean 12,000 additional vehicles in the area (and that's only HY office workers, not residents). Numbers can be crunched this way or that way, but in the end it's a lot more people and a lot more cars.

More gridlock, thanks to Ms. Berthet and friends aligned with Christine Quinn, who are all pretending to be pushing for less traffic. What did they think, that you can create a new city of 120,000 and all will walk or take a subway (that isn't yet built and likely to have only one stop on the outskirts of the area?

Of course all this is necessary -- to bring in the cars so they can pay the $8 congested pricing fee in order to raise the millions of dollars necessary to pay for the No. 7 subway and the parking lot.

Makes sense, right?

This is classic wagging the dog.

Maybe the mathematics works, but there won't be less traffic. But then again, Congested Pricing has nothing to do with reducing traffic.

(The lawsuit mentioned in the article -- which I've had some familiarity on -- isn't about stopping Hudson Yards; it's about stopping the parking lot.)"

Photo from NY Times


Anonymous said...

"What did they think, that you can create a new city of 120,000 and all will walk or take a subway (that isn't yet built and likely to have only one stop on the outskirts of the area?"

Gee, doesn't this sound familiar? Hunters Point? Flushing? Jamaica?

Isn't is funny that in a borough of 2.5 million no one talks like this in Queens?

Anonymous said...

You are right. The developers always get their way in Queens. All they do is fight over who controls MORE development, 'affordable housing' or luxury housing.

Some do try getting downzoning in their backyards (and the hell with those two blocks over) but that only gives islands in a sea of development (islands that will be 'varianced' out of existence anyway.)

Some do reject big development, but instead of killing the idea, it’s channeled back to the drawing board for more tinkering again and again until the opponents are worn out.

grvsmth said...

Where does "" get the idea that Streetsblog or Berthet are supporting the Hudson Yards proposal? I don't see anything that could be construed as support; the focus of the post is that Manhattan needs less parking, not more. Please direct your venom towards the right targets.

Anonymous said... didn't mention streetsblog. They mentioned Berthet. Her views in favor of these projects are public record.

grvsmth said...

Okay, well I can't speak for Berthet, but I think it's important to separate these three questions:

1. Should the Hudson Yards be decked and developed?
2. If they're developed, how much parking should be built?
3. How much of the parking should be subsidized by the government?

I think there are probably better uses for taxpayer money than decking these yards, and if they are decked, I think a park is probably a better use for the space, but I know that nobody wants to pay that much just for a park. The main thing I'm concerned about is the parking. seems to be good with numbers; maybe he or she can tell me this: what's the worst that could happen if the City built this deck and allowed no parking garages at all, only curbside parking?

What if the city took that $125 million they want to spend on a 950-space garage and used it to hire a bunch of building inspectors?

Anonymous said...

No access to off street parking creates more congestion. It is not feasible for everyone to use a bike, mass transit or a cab to do daily activities. Vehicles of all sorts are needed to service a community. Parking them in the street is just pure insanity. It is better to have an over supply of parking than a shortage.

grvsmth said...

Anonymous, your argument that it's better to have an oversupply of parking than a shortage sounds like common sense, but in practice, more parking just makes it easier for people to choose driving over other modes of transportation. In Manhattan, no matter how many parking spaces you build, you still wind up with full garages and congested streets. Why spend billions of dollars to build 27,000 spaces if the streets will wind up more congested than if we only build 4,000?

I agree that "Vehicles of all sorts are needed to service a community," but the ones that are actually needed (emergency services, deliveries, taxis, buses) only require loading docks and on-street loading zones. The 27,000 garage spaces currently planned aren't necessary for any of them. What are they for, if not commuting?

This massive amount of parking wouldn't be quite so obscene if it weren't so heavily government-subsidized. As far as I can tell, the city is planning to pay the developers $125 million for this first 950-space garage. As , subsidized parking is one of the biggest causes of congestion.

Anonymous said...

Grvsmth seems to be mixing up the West Side rail yards with Hudson Yards. The rail yards are in two sections, each three blocks in size. The Western rail yards (30-33, 11-12) was where the stadium would have gone. The Eastern Rail Yards (30-33, 10-11) would have been the Olympic Plaza and a few towers. The so-called Hudson Yards runs from 29th to 32nd Streets, as far east as 7th Avenue in some spots to the River, and is about 60 square blocks in size. It includes the Eastern Rail Yards, but not the Western Rail Yards or the Javits and Javits expansion.

Only the rail yards would be "decked."

grvsmth said...

Thanks for the clarification. I honestly can't keep the various yards and proposals straight, but I don't think that affects my main point, which is that the city is planning to subsidize much of this parking, which is a bad idea. Sorry about the broken link.

Anonymous said...

My bad. I said that Hudson Yards runs from 29th to 32nd Sts, from 7th Ave in some parts to the river.

Actually thats from 29th to 42nd St.

also... people can argue whether more parking will attract more traffic or not. There's arguments on both sides of that. But in practice when you're speaking of an area that is the size of Downtown Boston, it may not matter. No matter, there will be many thousands of more vehicle trips, and this includes cars, trucks, buses and so on.

This, of course, is in an area already overcongested with tunnel traffic.

And Bloomberg wants to use congeestion pricing to pay for parts of Hudson Yards to make it all worse. Funny, that's why the Real Estate industry (REBNY) is paying for the TV commercials for the alleged 2030 plan. Green it may be, but that's greenbacks.

grvsmth said...

Actually, I don't think there are arguments that parking doesn't encourage people to drive; I think that inconvenient fact is just ignored by parking proponents.

Even if the numerous studies are wrong and the parking doesn't attract traffic, there's no reason for the garages to be built with public money.