5.4 Million Too Many Parking Spaces

What types of space is dedicated to Car Storage?

  • Curbside Car Storage — most of our curbs are given to cars since the 1920’s. Metered parking, unmetered parking, commercial parking, police parking, loading zones, and even “no parking”. All are legal for one person or another to park a vehicle in.
  • Paid Parking Garages — businesses that sell parking on an hourly, daily or monthly rate. The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs licenses each business individually.
  • Parking Lot’s — parking minimum mandated parking for customers (and/or employees). These lots are the hallmark of malls, big box stores and office parks.
  • Private Parking — driveways, attached garages, detached garages and resident-only or employee-only lots. This parking is often added due to city required parking minimums.

How much parking is there?

There are 5,377,375 parking spaces for vehicles in NYC based on new extensive research using city provided data where possible. Thats practically one space for each of the 5.6 million NYC residents with a drivers license.

Data from https://toomanycars.nyc/

Strategies for 50% fewer 🚗🚗🚗

How can we reduce car use, and car ownership by 50%? It’s easy (as in we know what would accomplish that), but it requires political fortitude and a vision of a life not centered around cars.

Land Use

Unfortunately land use is a lagging indicator of land use policy. The parking garages in use today have been built over a period of decades and we are reaping the zoning choices set decades ago. Not every lot is redeveloped each year, and what developments do happen each year are themselves multi-year projects. Because land use changes happen so slowly, it is therefore critical to make zoning changes quickly and dramatically to encourage re-development sufficient that over a 5–10 year time span re-developments have a significant impact.

46% of parking capacity is impacted by land use (zoning) restrictions.

At the city (and state) level we must immediately outlaw all zoning regulations that REQUIRE parking. In zoning terms this is called a “parking minimum”. Removing a parking minimum restriction doesn’t mean no new parking will be built, but it does mean developers won’t over-build parking and forces the choice of parking onto buyers and tenants. Ending required parking is key to developing walkable cities.

On-street parking

A good mayor could make swift changes to on-street parking, but that doesn’t let the city council off the hook, as they also have work to do.

DOT would need to remove 3,900 on-street parking spaces every month for 31 years straight to reduce on-street parking by 50%. It would take the removal of 12,500 spaces every month to accomplish that goal in 10 years.

The city should be aggressive in re-purposing on-street car storage spaces as protected bike lanes, bus only lanes, green spaces or just remove the parking all together.

Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)

Parking changes might reduce ownership but we should also directly impact vehicle use. Reducing vehicle use in turn directly improves air quality and street safety.



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Ever stop and wonder what would make streets safe to walk on? I ❤️ Data & 🚲.