Why Is The Government So Stupid?

Imagine for a moment a giant multiarmed god; with half of its arms hitting itself with a hammer and the other half trying to stop the bleeding and bandage its wounds and you have a perfect metaphor for New York City government.

While mayor Bloomberg and many city agencies are actively trying to reduce the problems caused by private vehicles in the heart of Manhattan, fund improvements in mass transit and provide affordable housing; city mandated policies in the outer boroughs promote driving and car ownership by requiring building owners to build parking garages even in areas reasonably well served by mass transit.

The Times ran this OP -Ed in January

“But off-street parking requirements have themselves become an expensive problem: developers must devote money and space to parking lots and garages, or not build at all. This limits the supply of housing, retail and office space, creating higher rents for residents and businesses, and higher prices for consumer goods.

Like any market distortion, parking requirements have created their own set of absurd choices. For example, affordable housing developers looking to build in most parts of New York outside of Manhattan must either provide parking that their target market can’t use, forgo construction altogether or change their mission and construct fewer apartments for higher income tenants.” (Which is what usually happens)

Streetsblog has pointed out the harmful effects of these policies, on recent construction along 4th Ave in Brooklyn in which a line of new condos are being built with ground floor parking instead of stores. The city is even dumb enough to be trying force parking minimums in a vital area like Hells Kitchen in the heart of its congestion pricing zone!! The result is often that the city government is force feeding cars into areas against the will of many local residents.

One such area is Atlantic Yards, in which at least 4000 parking spaces will be put in with over 2000 required for residents in spite of the fact that the site is a major transit hub served my multiple subway lines and the Long Island Railroad. Many of these will come in the form of hugely expensive and potentially dangerous underground parking. Doesn’t anyone remember the first World Trade Center attack which thankfully did not involve plastic explosives?

“Last year, several commentators on the Atlantic Yards Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) questioned the provision of parking–not just interim surface lots, but also the 2570 underground spaces intended for the project’s residential component and an additional 1100 underground spaces for the arena.”

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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