Wall Street core area gets two new parking garages

Commissioners disagree over impact of added parking in Lower Manhattan. RBNB Wall Street Owner, LLC sought the Planning Commission’s approval for an 85- space public parking garage to be located within 63 Wall Street, a 36- story building with frontage on Hanover, Beaver and Wall Streets. RBNB planned to convert the building to residential, but the proposed garage would not be restricted to the residential tenants. RBNB explained at the Commission’s March 30, 2005 hearing that it sought the special permit to allow spaces to be leased during weekday hours to Wall Street office tenants to supplement the residential tenants’ use on weekends and evenings. The proposed garage would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In a separate application, Maiden Lane Properties, LLC sought a special permit for a 62-space public parking garage at 100 Maiden Lane between Pearl and William Streets, a property it is converting from office space into a 336-unit residential development. The garage would have attendant parking and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There was no public opposition to either garage at the Commission hearings. Voting against both, Commissioner Karen Phillips stated that public parking garages in the Wall Street area would encourage more people to drive to work, which would harm the area’s historic narrow streets and the city’s air quality. Phillips added that the Planning Department should develop a public parking policy to guide applicants and decision makers and encourage public parking facilities outside Wall Street’s core. Chair Amanda M. Burden, approving both special permits, stated that Wall Street is the “greatest brand name in the world” and, to maintain its stature, its visitors and clients need parking. In response to Phillips, Burden noted that circling blocks in search of parking also has a clear negative impact on air quality.

The Commission approved both special permit applications over Phillips’ opposition vote.

ULURP Process: The Planning Commission, as lead agency, issued a negative declaration on December 20, 2004 for the 63 Wall Street garage and on January 31, 2005 for the Maiden Lane garage. Community Board 1 and Borough President C. Virginia Fields recommended approval of both applications.

CPC: 63 Wall Street (C 050084 ZSM – special permit for public parking garage) (April 27, 2005); CPC: Maiden Lane Parking Garage (C 050071 ZSM – special permit for public parking garage) (April 27, 2005). CITYADMIN

CITYLAND Comment: The City has a designated “blue-zone” in the downtown financial district that prohibits on-street parking during the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, in an area bounded by Dover and Frankfort Streets on the north (just south of the Brooklyn Bridge); Broadway on the west; and South Street on the east. The proposed garages at 63 Wall Street and 100 Maiden Lane are within the Blue Zone. On-street parking is permitted in the Blue Zone outside of the restricted times. There are exceptions for government vehicles and for loading and unloading of commercial vehicles along certain building frontages.

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