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Yesterday, the Department of City Planning proposed a new zoning text amendment that will require indoor, secure, long-term bicycle parking in new multi-family residential, commercial, and community facility construction.

With commuter cycling on the rise in the City, this new amendment seeks to support current riders and encourage new ones, while decreasing congestion and air pollution. The DCP website outlines the details, including the fact that these bike parking areas would not count toward a building’s floor area.

ULURP for this proposal will begin with review by all community boards starting November 17.

Photo of indoor bike parking at a Portland, Oregon office building by Mark Stosberg on Flickr.

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Something we missed while on vacation last week: Transportation Alternatives issued a report titled Suburbanizing the City: How New York City Parking Requirements Lead to More Driving (PDF). According to this document, New York City zoning regulations mandating parking at new residential developments will increase auto ownership rates and add over 1 billion annual vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by 2030.

To accompany the report, a coalition of local civic organizations, including Task Force member groups the Municipal Art Society, the Pratt Center for Community Development, and the Regional Plan Association, among others, sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg urging the administration to undertake the following reforms:

1. Fully assess the amount of existing and planned off-street parking.
2. Consider measures to significantly reduce required parking.
3. Revise environmental laws so that parking impacts are fully accounted for.
4. Freeze special permits and stop directly subsidizing new parking.

We recommend checking out the report, as well as Streetsblog’s ongoing analysis: (The Parking Cure, Step 1: Diagnose the Problem; and The Parking Cure, Part 2: Do the Right Tests).

The Infrastructure Task Force (ITF) of the New York City Council and the Council’s Environmental Protection Committe will jointly hold a Public Forum on the subject of on the benefits and challenges of clean distributed energy sources, such as solar photovoltaics, in the New York City context. The hearing has been convened by Council Members Daniel Garodnick, Letitia James, and James Gennaro.

The public is invited to attend the forum to hear industry leaders and experts address this important subject, and provide substantive testimony on what the city can do to establish itself as a national leader in clean energy adoption.

When: Thursday July 31, 2008, 9:30am-1:00pm
Where: Hunter College, West Building (southwest corner of Lexington Avenue and East 68th Street), 8th Floor Faculty Dining Room

Last month, Mayor Bloomberg and other City officials (along with Transportation Alternatives’ Paul Steely-White, cyclist Lance Armstrong and, strangely, musician David Byrne), announced the Summer Streets pilot project, which will close Lafayette Street/Park Avenue to traffic between the Brooklyn Bridge and 72nd Street for three Saturdays in August.

Now, community groups in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, including the Northside Merchants Association and Task Force members Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, as well as the website Billburg.com, have teamed up to bring a similar experiment to Bedford Avenue, the neighborhood’s main drag.

The project, called Williamsburg Walks, will close Bedford Avenue between Metropolitan Avenue and N. 9th Street to traffic on four consecutive Saturdays beginning July 19. The project’s website states, “If this four week experiment is a success, we hope to extend it and consider the possibility that Bedford Avenue could be closed every Saturday the same way Orchard Street has been closed on Sundays since the 60s.”

Interested in reclaiming a street from cars in your neighborhood? Check out the New York City Streets Renaissance (NYCSR)’s Block Party NYC page, where you can find a list of this summer’s NYCSR’s-sponsored block parties, and apply for a grant to host one next year.

On Thursday, the Milano School for Management and Urban Policy at the New School hosts the inaugural program in its Cities Respond to Climate Change series. John Podesta, President of the Center for American Progress, and former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, will deliver the keynote address, followed by a panel discussion with:

Susan Anderson, Director of Sustainable Development, City of Portland, Oregon
Kenny Esser, Policy Advisor, Office of New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine
James T. Gallagher, Senior Vice President for Energy Policy, NYC Economic Development Corporation
Ashok Gupta, Air and Energy Program Director, Natural Resources Defense Council
Max Schulz, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute Center for Energy Policy and the Environment

moderated by:
Andrew C. Revkin, Science Reporter, The New York Times

When: 6pm

Where: Wollman Hall, Eugene Lang Building, 65 West 11th Street, 5th floor

RSVP here.

As a followup to the People’s Accountable Development Summit, held earlier this month, the Brooklyn-based Fifth Avenue Committee hosts the first Accountable Development Working Group Meeting tonight.

When: 6pm

Where: Fifth Avenue Committee, 621 DeGraw Street (near 4th Avenue), Brooklyn.

For more information, contact Dave at 718-237-2017 or via email.

After the jump, read the Fifth Avenue Committee’s Accountable Development Principles, which include: affordable housing, living-wage jobs, sustainable environmental practices, and accountable process.

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Blogger Flatbush Gardener attended the Department of City Planning’s preliminary public hearing on Thursday regarding the rezoning of the northern section of Brooklyn Community District 14, which includes part of Flatbush, Prospect Park South, Ditmas Park, Fiske Terrace, South Midwood, etc. The goal of the plans is four-fold:

1) Preserve the existing free-standing (detached) single- and two-family houses.

2) Match new zoning to existing buildings as closely as possible without “under zoning.”

3) Encourage creation of affordable housing through incentives.

4) Create opportunities for commercial growth.

Flatbush Gardener has a thorough overview of the hearing, and goes into detail with case studies explaining how the rezoning will affect certain areas. A main concern in the neighborhood seems to be that the rezoning could threaten the area’s historic Victorian homes. The proposal has not been certified yet, so ULURP has yet to begin.

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Meanwhile, DCP has certified, and begun the ULURP process, for a contextual rezoning of Waldheim, Queens, located southeast of downtown Flushing. According to DCP, the rezoning would,

“-preserve the predominantly lower-density character of the Waldheim neighborhood;

-ensure that future development be consistent with existing development patterns;

-reformulate commercial zoning to be more reflective of existing development patterns;

-and provide limited opportunities for new housing development in areas most able to support it.”

Queens Community Board 7 has until August 11 to hold a public hearing and issue a recommendation.

What do YOU think? Considering that PlaNYC 2030 posits that New York City will have a million more people by 2030, are downzonings like these good for the City’s future? How can the Administration balance the need for growth with the preservation of neighborhood character?

In the Inbox today, from our friends at the Center for Urban Pedagogy:

“In the Bronx, bodegas are a way of life. But who chooses what the bodegas sell? And where do all those chips come from?

This semester, students from New Settlement’s Bronx Helpers and CUP teaching artist Jonathan Bogarín have been investigating bodegas in the Bronx. The group interviewed bodegueros, visited their suppliers, and met with congressional representatives, health professionals, and alternative Bronx food establishments. They’ve made a documentary to pass along what they’ve learned.

Join us at The Point for the world premiere screening of Bodega Down Bronx. Bronx food distribution luminaries and delights fresh from the bodega shelves will be on hand.”

Bodega Down Bronx
Tuesday, June 3, 7 pm
The Point
940 Garrison Avenue, Bronx, NY
6 to Hunts Point Avenue
Free and open to the public. Seating is limited, please RSVP

Check out the trailer after the jump.

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Cornell University’s Preservation Planning program is offering a four-session “shortcourse” on preservation and sustainability for professionals in the public and private sectors and students, taking place in the first week of June.  According to the website “Each one-day course addresses a different aspect of sustainability—green building, environment, equity and economics— through the strategies, tools and ethos of historic preservation.”  The schedule is as follows:

  • 6/2 Green Preservation: Tools and Strategies for a More Sustainable Re-Use
  • 6/3 Equity: Historic Districts and Fluid Communities: The Case of Jackson Heights
  • 6/4 Economics: New Life for Vacant and Abandoned Housing: The South Bronx
  • 6/5 Rivers Lost, Resources Rediscovered: The Bronx and Sawmill Rivers

Registration is $110 per course, or $440 for all four.  Check out the online schedule for more details about topics, locations, and professors.

The mixed industrial/residential neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn has a beautiful Manhattan view – but actually getting to and from that other borough can be problematic.  The closest subway stop to the neighborhood, the Smith/9th St. F/G, is a mile away.

Now, the Forum for Urban Design is hoping to brand the neighborhood with a new identity – a haven for cyclists and a model for sustainable development.  The Forum’s Red Hook Bicycle Master Plan and Design Competition has three components: 1) a bike garage/loft at the Smith/9th St. F/G stop; dedicated bike lanes to connect the neighborhood to this stop; and of course, the all-important identification of a funding source for the project.

Brooklyn Community Board 6 will consider the competition at its full board meeting on May 14.  Those interested in competing must register by June 2.  Check out the site for more info.

Since 2000, The Community-Based Planning Task Force has been leading the effort to create a more meaningful role for communities in New York City’s planning and decision-making processes.

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