Markowitz Recommends Bike Parking And More For Downtown Brooklyn

Today, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz released his recommendation to reduce accessory parking requirements in the Special Downtown Brooklyn District (SDBD).

The recommendation was delivered to the City Planning Commission and City Council regarding the application by the Department of City PlanningThe full report is attached.

Markowitz believes there is some merit in reducing parking for the highest density zoning district, although he agrees with Community Board 2 that maximum reduction should be linked to the generation of affordable housing units. His ULURP recommendation also calls for an increase in bicycle parking, and added that the entire SDBD proposal should be more encompassing by being made retroactive to the establishment of the district (in 2001) and the buildings that started the recent wave of residential development in the downtown area.

He also requested additional modifications to make it easier for developers who want public parking integrated into their developments, as well as for developments to leverage more affordable housing — by improving the bonus to the twenty percent standard found elsewhere and dseignating blocks that do not have bonus eligibility as inclusionary housing districts.

Markowitz also wants to focus services on encouraging older adults to be active parts of the area’s economic engine.

“As Downtown Brooklyn and its demographics change, so do its parking needs,” said Markowitz. “My recommendations take into account the diverse concerns of stakeholders in Downtown Brooklyn, from developers and residents to cyclists and car owners.”

A summary of the borough president’s recommendations:


Being responsive to the challenge of providing parking in high density sites, while recognizing that areas with less demand for accommodating overnight car parking would likely have more demand for bicycle parking, and applying the regulations to recent developments as well:

  • Change the market rate parking requirement for high density districts (C5-2A, C5-4, C6-4, C6-4.5)—retroactive to establishment of the Special Downtown Brooklyn District in 2001—from a 40 percent parking rate to 30 percent when bicycle parking standards have been increased by 50 percent.

Recognizing that meeting parking demand is not about any individual building but rather the collective properties in Downtown Brooklyn functioning together:

  • Broaden applicability of off-site parking opportunities through the expansion of joint facilities to any Commercial Zoning District within the Special Downtown Brooklyn District except for the Atlantic Avenue sub-district.



Being responsive to developers that want to provide public parking:

  • Regulations should be simplified to streamline the process, and garages with between 51 and 200 parking spaces with excess reservoir space should not be penalized
  • Allow above grade public parking pursuant to City Planning Commission Chair Certification in lieu of Special Permit; and unify reservoir space standards.



Promoting the development of affordable housing by reducing cost to developers:

  • When development includes at least 20 percent affordable housing, allow further reduction to a 20 percent parking rate in the highest density districts, as well as a reduction to 30 percent for middle density districts when bicycle parking standards have been increased by 50 percent.

The borough president further recommends that the City’s Inclusionary Housing Program be improved to achieve 20 percent affordable housing in the highest density zoning districts, and established in the remaining zoning districts of the Special Downtown Brooklyn District; and calls on the Department of City Planning to undertake the zoning text initiative.



Because the borough president believes there are insufficient housing options for “maturer” active residents 55 years and older who want to remain in New York City, he recommends the Department of City Planning undertake a study to establish a zoning bonus—consistent with the affordable housing bonus, although without regard for affordability—to entice developers to construct entire buildings dedicated to households age 55 and over. This might entice otherwise reluctant developers who are concerned that buildings limited to this age bracket may not sustain as high a sales price as a development available to residents and families of all ages.

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