June 10, 2019

Parking in the Comprehensive Plan

Our Take

The plan suggests lowering parking minimums. It will be better to completely get rid of government mandated parking.

There's also talk about exploring creation of new public parking. Doing so will be counterproductive. The process will consume time and money to make a plan which will be shelved upon everyone realizing the social and monetary costs.

A "payment-in-lieu of parking" system is proposed. If such is implemented, the funds should be invested in improving access for people walking, cycling and riding transit.

Background

Constructing parking is expensive. And it reduces the space available for productive uses (selling, working, living). The result is inflated costs of construction, rent and purchases.

Car storage availability is the number one determinant of whether people own and operate cars. And the cost of parking is number two. Thus, having the government mandating and providing parking means the government winds up mandating and subsidizing driving.

When parking (and, well, anything) is free or cheap, people over-consume it. So, building more parking doesn't solve the problem, it just increases the size of the problem. (And those problems spill over, making streets and sidewalks dangerous and ugly.)

The only way to solve parking problems is making it nicer to walk, cycle and ride transit.

Draft Comprehensive Plan

C-2a: Implement parking management strategies to improve parking for residents, businesses, and visitors.

Encourage shared parking agreements between private property owners to increase efficiency of the parking supply.

Improve wayfinding to assist visitors in finding parking at municipal lots.

Streamline the parking permit system to maximize use of municipal lots, including potential adjustments to permit fees. Consider on-street overnight parking permits required in Downtown.

Explore the potential for creation of new public parking based on established needs, availability of land, and costs to the Village.

C-2b: Amend parking requirements to be in line with Institute for Transportation Engineers (ITE) guidelines for communities of Sleepy Hollow’s size and proximity to transit.

Like many municipalities in Westchester County, some of Sleepy Hollow’s parking requirements are higher than necessary given the Village’s size, location, and proximity to transit. While not a true transit-oriented development site, the Downtown and commercial areas are dense enough to support off-street parking requirements more in-line with ITE guidelines. Some commercial and multifamily residential parking requirements can be reduced to be consistent with ITE guidelines, which would remove some barriers to new development and changes in use.

C-2c: Institute a payment-in-lieu of parking program.

Many other communities in Westchester County have payment-in-lieu of parking programs, which allow property owners on constrained sites to change use or redevelop, while creating a fund for the Village to create additional parking or improve existing public parking.

L-2a: Adjust the requirement for site plan approval for a change of use, only requiring it where the parking demand would increase. Typically, site plan approval is a tool for the Planning Board to evaluate substantial changes in building and site configurations. However, by requiring site plan approval for a change in use when the new use is permitted by the zoning code, the Village is presenting an unnecessary barrier to new businesses, adding time and cost.

Use changes, when the new use is permitted by the zoning code, should not be subject to site plan review in most cases. When the new use requires an increase in parking, it makes sense to require site plan review so that the Planning Board can ensure that parking issues are mitigated.

L-2g: Review parking and loading requirements to ensure they are supportive of a business-friendly environment while balancing actual parking needs.

For example, consider: ...

• Exempting ground floor retail/commercial in existing buildings from parking requirements

More Information

The Strongest Case Yet That Excessive Parking Causes More Driving

Read everything we've got on the Comprehensive Plan.

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