As part of Mayor de Blasio’s 200,000-unit affordable housing plan, the Department of City Planning has proposed welcomed changes to zoning regulations to make it easier to build and preserve affordable housing. This includes eliminating parking requirements for affordable and senior housing in transit zones, most of which are within a half-mile of subways. 

The New York Housing Conference, an affordable policy and advocacy organization, enthusiastically supports this change, which will save $1 million in every new 100-unit building, which is the cost to build the 25 parking spots currently required by local law as underground parking.  With one in three New York City renters paying more than 50 percent of their income on rent and many in desperate need of affordable options, resources should be invested in more housing not more parking.
Also, residents of affordable housing in transit zones own far fewer cars than other households.  Only 5 percent of seniors living in affordable housing in transit zones own cars.  Residents and community boards should support this proposal to stop requiring parking to be built where it is not needed.  The Senior Housing Coalition of LiveOn NY, an advocacy organization for older adults, recently surveyed existing parking lots owned by nonprofits and found 39 underutilized and buildable parking lots across New York City.  If the new zoning proposal is adopted, these concrete lots can be converted to affordable housing for 2,000 seniors.  Common-sense zoning improvements can unlock sites for affordable housing and save public subsidy.
Support reduced parking requirements by downloading the new NYHC infographic below and share it with your neighbors, community board and local council member. 

Rachel Fee is the executive director of the New York Housing Conference.

Less Parking=More Affordable Housing 2015 copy