Taking Back the Street

Brooklynites enjoying a reclaimed public (parking) space

Donald Shoup's classic "The High Cost of Free Parking" outlines the systemic problems of using free or cheap parking as a lure for people to drive to their destination. This is particularly a problem even in crowded downtown area. Most on street parking in the city is either free or only costs 25-50 cents an hour while the cost of private parking garages is 10-20 times that level. This is a major subsidy to those who drive cars in NYC and represents a loss of precious public space to the rest of the city's residents. It also creates unnecessary traffic and pollution as motorists circle their destinations looking for a cheap spot.

Thankfully, there is a growing group of concerned citizens that are taking action on this. New York Streets Renaissance is supported by a wide coalition of citizen organizations like Transportation Alternatives, Project for Public Spaces and many others. Aaron Naparstek has also started a new blog called NYC Streets Blog as part of the Open Planning Project.

To put all of this in perspective, I highly recommend watching a few of the videos they have on the NYCSR website.

Here are the Goals of the New York City Streets Renaissance group.

1. Educate New Yorkers about potential transportation policy changes that will improve quality of life across New York City
  1. Promote a rebalancing of this public space away from private vehicles and toward community needs
  2. Demonstrate the widespread public support for reform on these issues
  3. Tap the potential of New Yorkers to re-imagine their own streets

If you support this, please sign their membership list

And I hope we can see some new faces at this upcoming panel discussion:

No Time to Stop! Moving People Through NYC
Wednesday, May 24th - 8:00 am to 10:00 am (Continental Breakfast & Panel Discussion)

The New York Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association will host a roundtable discussion addressing one of New York City's most critical transportation planning issues: How do we improve travel through the City?

Experts from the planning, advocacy, public, and business sectors will present best practices from across the globe and discuss what's possible in New York.

Answers may include City-wide programs including congestion pricing, market-rate parking, return of funds to transit and alternative transportation programs, as well as local initiatives including neighborhood traffic calming and parking districts.

Bruce Schaller, Principal, Schaller Consulting
Kathy Wilde, President, New York City Partnership
Sam Schwartz, President and CEO, Sam Schwartz PLLC
Jon Orcutt, Executive Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign

This event is cosponsored by the American Planning Association's Transportation Division.

Steven L. Newman Hall
137 East 22nd Street, Second Floor
New York, NY