Manhattan Storage House owners Fear There Gained’t Be Sufficient Vehicles to Go Round After Congestion Pricing

Tony Zhang pulled his Porsche 911 right into a West 59th Avenue parking storage the place drivers of luxurious vehicles pay $606 a month — plus an 18.3% tax — to stash their autos.

However with potential new tolls on the horizon, the journey throughout the Hudson River and into Manhattan may trigger Zhang to again out of that storage as soon as and for all.

The 34-year-old New Jersey man advised THE CITY that with congestion pricing looming, he’s much less more likely to drive into the town and park his sports activities coupe in a storage underneath 1 Columbus Place. 

The high-rise house constructing sits precisely one block contained in the so-called congestion zone that runs from sixtieth Avenue to the southern tip of Manhattan.

“I’ll in all probability simply take the bus, to be sincere, as a result of I’m coming throughout from Jersey,” Zhang mentioned. “That’s in all probability the most affordable, additionally the quickest, as a result of this morning the drive was horrible.”

The long-delayed marketing campaign to toll drivers touring into Manhattan’s “Central Enterprise District”  is meant to cut back visitors, minimize emissions and lift billions of {dollars} for mass transit. It may, in keeping with the varied tolling eventualities, decrease the variety of complete auto journeys into the congestion zone by as much as 10.5%. But it surely additionally may threaten a number of parking amenities south of sixtieth Avenue.

An environmental evaluation the MTA launched final month for the proposed “Central Enterprise District Tolling Program” projected that decreased demand for off-street parking within the space instantly south of the congestion zone border “may jeopardize the viability” of a few of the 88 garages that home 11,541 parking areas between sixtieth and fifty fifth streets.

North of sixtieth Avenue, the report famous, there might be elevated demand for garages and “upward changes in parking charges.” 

A number of motorists advised THE CITY that congestion pricing may drive them onto mass transit — which is strictly what advocates and MTA officers are hoping for.

“I believe what I’ll do is take public transportation,” mentioned Wilson Peguero, 42, of Bushwick, who pays $50 3 times every week to park his Nissan Maxima at a West 58th Avenue storage whereas he attends John Jay Faculty of Prison Justice. “Both I take mass transit or I switch out of this college.”

Parallel Issues

Rafael Llopiz, president of the Metropolitan Parking Affiliation, a commerce group representing near 800 garages and much, advised THE CITY that implementation of congestion pricing may ship “1000’s of automobiles” into the streets instantly north of sixtieth Avenue to make use of the 52 parking garages there.

“Between fiftieth Avenue to sixtieth Avenue, river to river, you’re going to have an enormous motion of automobiles not going beneath sixtieth Avenue, however truly going into the residential neighborhoods,” mentioned Llopiz, additionally the CEO of Metropolis Parking, which operates 145 garages and much citywide, together with near 80 throughout the congestion zone.

A West 58th Avenue parking storage advertises its charges.

The environmental evaluation outlined seven totally different eventualities wherein autos might be tolled from $9 to $23 for getting into the congestion zone throughout peak durations and from $5 to $12 in a single day, relying on how the MTA units up the applications and which teams of drivers obtain coveted exclusions.

The six-person Site visitors Mobility Evaluate Board will advocate toll charges, together with any reductions of exemptions as soon as congestion pricing is accepted by the Federal Freeway Administration. The MTA board will decide the ultimate toll constructions.

In every of the eventualities, automobiles, bikes and industrial vans would get charged solely as soon as per day regardless of what number of occasions they crossed into the zone — however caps and exemptions for taxis, livery cabs, buses and vehicles fluctuate extensively in numerous schemes.

“It’s nonetheless too many choices on the market and never lots of readability on what this cost goes to be,” Llopiz mentioned. “Till we actually get an concept of what that quantity goes to be, I believe we’ll have not less than a greater guess on what [driver] behaviors might be.”

The proposed automobile tolling program comes as workplace occupancy charges trickle upward. However Llopiz famous demand for areas in parking garages has but to completely recuperate from the depths of the pandemic in 2020 — when the variety of month-to-month clients had dropped from 82,000 pre-COVID to about 33,000 in August of that yr.

“It’s nonetheless not forward of pre-COVID, however very near it,” he mentioned.

Rethinking Storage House

Final month’s environmental evaluation famous that even when a number of parking amenities have been to shut south of sixtieth Avenue, these websites would quickly be put to new makes use of given their excessive property values. “Their potential displacement wouldn’t create a local weather of disinvestment that would result in hostile results on neighborhood character,” it learn.

As a substitute, the websites might be ripe for redevelopment.

“There’s a actual alternative to take a look at this area and actual property in a manner that serves peoples’ wants and never simply multi-ton autos which might be dangerous for our security and surroundings,” mentioned Cory Epstein, a spokesperson for Transportation Alternate options, a nonprofit group whose NYC 25×25 marketing campaign goals to reclaim 1 / 4 of the town’s avenue area from automobiles by 2025.

A storage on West 61st Avenue simply outdoors of the proposed congestion pricing zone, Sept. 7, 2022.

“The truth goes to be fewer automobiles,” he mentioned. “We are able to’t miss the chance to replace the format of our streets, prioritize public transit and overhaul our car-centric infrastructure.”

Parking garages might be reinvented, Epstein envisioned, as “micro-delivery hubs” the place deliveries might be made by bicycle.

“A few of these floor parking heaps and even the indoor storage areas might be used as storage for sure kinds of items,” added Tiffany Ann-Taylor, vp for transportation on the Regional Plan Affiliation. 

Based on the Division of Metropolis Planning, the variety of parking areas in Manhattan has steadily declined over a number of many years as amenities have been redeveloped for different makes use of. 

In 2015, there have been 2,218 licenses for garages and much, in keeping with the NYC Division of Shopper Affairs and Employee Safety. By 2021, that quantity had dropped to 1,899.

Llopiz, nevertheless, mentioned he’s skeptical about extra garages being repurposed.

“I’m unsure what the tip person might be at this level,” he mentioned. “No person has actually give you something higher than truly simply parking.”

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