Application by Roseland Development Association for a special permit to allow an attended public parking garage in a proposed building at 242 West 53rd Street; and in regard to all applications for public parking garages in new developments in CD5.
WHEREAS, Community Board Five evaluates any special permit applications for proposed public parking garages in Community District Five that have an impact on the number and flow of cars in the district, including an application by Roseland Development Association for a special permit to allow an attended public parking garage with a capacity of 184 spaces on portions of the ground floor, cellar and sub-cellar in a proposed mixed-use building at 242 West 53rd Street; and
WHEREAS, CB5 understands that there is a demand for parking spaces on the part of many residents and workers in the district; and
WHEREAS, CB5 recognizes that members of the community with disabilities may be especially burdened by the lack of access to affordable off-street parking; and
WHEREAS, CB5 also recognizes that it already has among the worst air quality and traffic congestion levels in the City; and
WHEREAS, CB5 questions the inherent assumption in the New York City Zoning Resolution that 20 percent of new residential units in our district will require parking spaces, given the rich public transit access that is unique to it; and
WHEREAS, The environmental review for this application does not indicate what impacts to expect related to traffic congestion and air quality apart from the assertion that there are no "significant" impacts; and
WHEREAS, CB5 recognizes the possible argument that an increase in the number of parking spaces could reduce congestion, and thereby improve air quality by reducing idling; CB5 also recognizes that additional parking spaces could result in more cars in the district, which could potentially increase traffic congestion and reduce levels of air quality; and
WHEREAS, CB5 believes that the Department of City Planning and the Mayor's Office of Environmental Coordination must revise the CEQR technical manual, in order to establish a more refined environmental review for these applications, so that CB5 and the public can better understand the range of practical impacts on traffic congestion and air quality in relation to a proposed parking facility; and
WHEREAS, In particular, CB5 believes the thresholds in the current CEQR technical manual are too high, and allow proposed projects that would have a clear impact on traffic flow and air quality to bypass a more rigorous study of these impacts; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five does not believe it can make an informed decision to recommend approval or disapproval of this application without sufficient information about its likely impacts on traffic congestion and air quality, and be it further
RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges the Mayor's Office of Environmental Coordination and the Department of City Planning to revise the CEQR technical manual, in order to require a more thorough environmental review to study even marginal impacts on traffic congestion and air quality in regard to any discretionary changes to the number of parking spaces in Community Board Five.