Large Affordable Housing Project Is On the Verge of Approval, Replacing Parking Garages

By Carol Tannenhauser

A controversial affordable-housing project on West 108th Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, will be voted on by the full City Council on Wednesday — and is expected to pass “overwhelmingly,” Council Member Mark Levine told West Side Rag today. It’s expected to house 194 permanently affordable apartments for low-income seniors and families, and 104 units for formerly homeless seniors.

Levine said he has decided to vote for the project, after receiving confirmation of certain “benefits to the community” that he, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Community Board 7 have been “pushing for months.”

“I did not formally endorse the project until the last couple of weeks or so, when we got letters from the administration committing to those benefits,” Levine said. “My stance throughout the process has been listening to all stakeholders in the community.”

One stakeholder vehemently disagrees. “It is shocking that we were not given any advance notice of the vote by our Council Member Mark Levine, after multiple efforts by our organization and our legal counsel to speak with him,” said Meryl Zegarek, co-founder of Save Manhattan Valley (SVM), a nonprofit formed in opposition to the housing project, which will be developed by West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH.) “This really is an indication of a breakdown of his relationship with his community. We are very disappointed that this was coming and he did not take the time to meet with us and talk about other solutions.”

Levine countered that he attended and hosted dozens of meetings and town halls with residents, and that the development went through an extensive public review process.

WSR has written extensively about this controversy, here, here, and here. It centers around the fact that building the affordable housing for seniors and low-income families will necessitate the demolition of three city-owned parking garages, holding 750 cars. SMV contends that this, and the building itself, will have negative repercussions on the residents and community beyond mere inconvenience, and has retained well-known “opposition attorney” Michael Hiller, to represent them.

“The environmental analysis prepared by SMV’s independent consultants confirmed that the new building would cast shadows across neighboring parks and playgrounds throughout the day in spring, summer and fall; and would likely precipitate traffic accidents and fatalities, increase our carbon footprint and release of ambient particulates and other pollutants into the air,” Hiller emailed. “This information was largely uncontradicted by WSFSSH’s environmental consultants.

“The people of Manhattan Valley fully support policies that promote affordable housing. And, to that end, we offered the City 10 alternatives to this site, including one location within the same District. The City has never offered a rational explanation for refusing to consider those alternate sites.”

“I made no secret of my belief that affordable housing was of prime importance,” Levine said. “But I also didn’t minimize the concerns of people who park their cars there; those are real concerns. I was partly assuaged by learning how much vacancy there is in nearby garages. We’ve had several surveys done to confirm that. To be fair, the prices at those garages are generally higher than those at 108th Street, and I don’t minimize that for middle-class families. But, at the end of the day, the mission of city government is not to offer subsidized parking, but to offer subsidized housing. The imperative of expanding affordable housing in a neighborhood where it’s desperately needed really trumps the need to supply affordable parking. I do feel that the additional street parking on 104th Street will be important.”

Levine was alluding to the fact that he “successfully petitioned the Department of Transportation to implement angle parking on the south side of West 104th street between Amsterdam and Manhattan Avenue – creating 33 new spaces.”

According to a release from Levine’s office, other benefits to the community include:

Levine also said he will be “introducing a bill tomorrow that would ultimately create neighborhood parking permits, so people who live in the neighborhood would be given priority for use of the streets. We have a big problem with commuters dumping their cars and hopping on the subway.”

“In addition to providing safe, affordable housing for seniors and families in the area, WSFSSH at West 108 will bring many benefits to the community, including healthcare services, community meeting spaces, a home for the Central Park Medical Unit and public restrooms for Anibal Aviles playground,” said Paul Freitag of WSFSSH in a statement.

Wednesday’s vote on the 108th Street project is the final step in the approval process.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 65 comments | permalink
    1. dannyboy says:

      “Levine also said he will be ‘introducing a bill tomorrow that would ultimately create neighborhood parking permits, so people who live in the neighborhood would be given priority for use of the streets. We have a big problem with commuters dumping their cars and hopping on the subway.'”

      Sounds like someone is doing the spade-work before introducing Congestion Pricing.

      Beware of Trojan horses.

      • Sol Ution says:

        Charge a fee for ALL on-street parking. Always. At all times. “Lockbock” the revenue to be used exclusively for subway system improvements, NOT cosmetic flim-flammery.

        • dannyboy says:

          Sol, do you believe that all public space should cost money to use?

          For example, the parks? Or the roads?

          Or only things that you want to extract money from so that money can be transferred to something you do use?

          • Sid says:

            Danny, public space clearly should be free. However the privilege of storing a 4000 pound box of metal on the street for free doesn’t jibe with me.

            • dannyboy says:

              Sid, and I am not proposing that you do, but others have been for some time now and I wouldn’t expect them to also pay for others.

            • Scott says:

              Are you aware that NYCHA residents pay $75 a YEAR for their parking privileges? Did you know many of the vehicles in those lots are late model luxury cars? I hope you have a problem with this as well.

    2. Reed says:

      Lets be clear on the demotion of the garages. Both Mark Levine and Gale Brewer have demonstrated a deaf ear to the majority of the residents of Manhattan Valley regarding this project. Gale Brewer held closed meetings with the adjacent school, however has refused to talk with SMV. Both political representatives refused to talk to Mr. Hiller the group’s attorney regarding the environmental issues that will likely have a profound affect on Manhattan Valley. These 2 politicians including the members of Community Board 7 are, intentionally or unintentionally, responsible for fostering an already segregated and impoverished community. One simply does not desegregate a community by continuing a policy of directing low-income and supportive housing into an already impoverished area. For decades the various members of non-profit groups, the Manhattan Borough President and our Council Members have demonstrated dead ears to our voices. i am cannot express my disappointment with all of the parties that continue to cement Manhattan Valley as a segregated community.

      Even though our Borough President, our Council Member, the vast majority of CB 7 and the involved affordable housing advocates live outside of Manhattan Valley they seem to think that they know what is best for our community. It is interesting to note that the majority of people that support the delation of of over 700 parking spaces for low-iincome housing live in solid, white middle/upper middle class communities of West End Avenue, Park West Village and points southwards of West 100 Street. The supposed advocates for low-income housing do not seem to be supportive of such housing within their protected communities. These are truly the ‘not in my backyard’ citizens of the Upper West Side…..the people beyond the confines of Manhattan Valley.

      • Wendy says:

        Reid, you doth protest too much.

        I’m an UWS’er who owns a car (for work purposes) and parks on the street. I haven’t had the luxury of subsidized low parking rates for decades, like on W. 108th St.

        NOBODY – except the recipients of those subsidized parking spaces – agrees that 3 parking garages should be kept instead of razing those structures and building close to 200 affordable housing units, while making improvements to the block and area. Your arguments don’t make sense. If you’re really poor, you don’t own a car. A car is expensive to maintain and insure.

        Those cheap parking spots were a longtime perk that’s going to end. Better accept that. Sure, let’s discuss resident parking stickers – that’s an idea many people can get behind. In my ‘hood all the doormen and store workers drive in and park on the street. They somehow manage to take an extra half-hour our of their workday to do the alternate side game.

        Or consider adding a floor of parking (not at subsidized rates) as part of the building construction. But the free ride is over for West 108th Street car parking. They’ll have to do the alternate side thing, like all the rest of us, and if they don’t have the time to spare to do it, they’ll get rid of their cars. Indeed, with Uber, VIA, Lyft and Juno, you don’t really need to own a car in Manhattan anymore.

        • dannyboy says:

          “Indeed, with Uber, VIA, Lyft and Juno, you don’t really need to own a car in Manhattan anymore.”

          Let’s not make so broad an assumption. Some commute far to work.

        • Dee says:

          I used to keep a car garaged on 108th. It was not subsidized parking – it cost perhaps a little less than garages in the 70s or 80s.I’m not sure where you get the idea that those garages were subsidized. I haven’t had a car for years now, but I know that many of the monthly parkers are teachers and health care workers who cannot play the alternate street game – they use their vehicles to get to work.

    3. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      I am enjoying this particular story. Will UWS progressives give up their cheap parking spots for additional units of affordable housing?

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        what does it say about you that you so enjoy the distress of various sections of the community?

        We desperately need affordable housing, as the comments thread shows. but it is also imposing a hardship on many to lose parking spots that they rely on for income.

        • Sid says:

          If the car is part of their “income” then it’s a business expense, and not really fair to let them just keep their business tools for free on the street. It’s public space, not a storage place.

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            @sid, you apparently are woefully unaware of how the working class lives. If you are using a car to commute to a job, I the vast majority of cases it cannot be taken as a “business expense.”

            All you have to do is read the comments on this thread to see that there are modest working people who use those parking spots. Maybe not all… but some. Read the thread.

            I don’t own a car in Manhattan, though I used to, decades ago, when I reverse commuted to central NJ.

            I support this affordable housing project. But let’s show some sensitivity to those who are being hurt.

        • Woody says:

          A hardship? What types of cars are they driving? Probably not cars that merely serve to get them around because they have no other alternatives.

        • Sherman says:

          Hi Bruce

          Agreed, we do need affordable housing.

          The best way to get affordable housing is to eliminate insider deals and special housing privileges that are doled out to entitled and politically powerful people.

          Sherm

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            @Sherman,

            it is so ignorant to refer to the occupants of the 1 million+ rent stabilized units in this city as “entitled.” and they are only “politically powerful” to the extent they stick together.

            but you are better informed than that. you are just trying to confuse others with that argument.

            it is the rich and billionaire class who are entitled and politically powerful in this town. why the endless worshipfulness to them?

            • Jeff says:

              Bruce – can you deny that there are plenty of people living in those rent stabilized apartments who probably fit a definition of “rich” by certain standards? Shouldn’t there be a requirement to show some sort of financial hardship to qualify for those apartments? I heard many stories (and know personally) many people who make good money and occupy such apartments.

            • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

              @jeff, there are currently income limits on rent stabilized apts. An apartment renting for over $2,500 per month where the tenant makes more than 200K per year for two straight years is moved to market rate.

              also, please note that the apartment must be the tenants primary residence to remain in the rent stabilization system.

              BUT… you vastly overstate the number of “rich” who are in these apts. all statistics show that rent stabilized tenants have lower median incomes than market rate tenants.

              Second, the various types of “decontrol” from the rent stabilization system that were passed legislatively in 1993 and 1995 resulted in the removal of a large numbers of apartments from the system — as they were designed to do. on the UWS, over half the former rent stabilized apts are now market rate.

              the theories of the free market fundamentalists are that this would LOWER rents on the UWS, dues to the increased supply. You can see that on this blog… right wing commenters say, over and over again, that the way to add affordable housing is to end rent stabilization.

              but the facts have proven otherwise. Despite a large number of formerly rent stabilized apts becoming “market rate”, prices have continued to go up, at an unsustainable rate.

              And in fact the landlords knew this, which is why their lobby was behind the various types of decontrol, including luxury decontrol. Luxury decontrol, vacancy decontrol, and other similar measures have resulted in the two-tier rental market we have today… and that, indeed, was their plan.

              the rent stabilization system is far from perfect, and does include some inequities. But the number of truly rich people using the system in NYC is greatly exaggerated.

      • Jay says:

        They fought tooth and nail for what they perceive as their entitlement. They came up with as many red-herring arguments as possible, but this time they lost. Thankfully.

    4. young man says:

      Great news. I am sick and tired of the people that park in those garages with their subsidized parking rent try to convince others that the parking garages have a higher value to the community than the senior housing or the playgrounds.
      You do not have a right to your subsidized parking.
      Get out the wrecking ball and get this started!

    5. arlene mehlman says:

      I am outraged by the total lack of consideration for 750 people and the community, businesses, schools, hospitals effected by this project. I am all for affordable housing. However, this project could have easily included a multi-level garage on 1 corner. Furthermore, I grew up in the projects and have worked 2 full time jobs my entire adult life. The amenities associated with this project are less far greater than any amenities that I have available to me.
      I count on my car so that I can get to work at age 76, take care of my mother and visit family members that are not very easily accessible by public transportation. I would not have moved to my apartment if there was not a garage nearby.
      It should be mandatory that the project be redisigned with multilevel parking. Furthermore, many of the “affordable” residents have cars bringing more frustration and people fighting for parking. A reconsideration of this situation is sorely needed.

      • EricaC says:

        I think the development of more housing is. Wet important and am glad to see that – but I do not understand why it has to be either or. I’ve read a number of urban planning advocates suggest that *all* new residential buildings be mandated to have a minimum number of parking spots. Apparently, the process of people driving around looking for spots is a major contributor to congestion and pollution.

        Perhaps other measures are also required, but this seeems like a good idea, and there are people who do need the parking spots.

        • Quinn Pastor says:

          Mandatory parking increases the cost of housing. It’s already very expensive, why would you want to make it worse?

          • EricaC says:

            I think I said why – because not having sufficient parking makes life worse for all of us with increased congestion and pollution, and that is leaving aside the fact that people need cars for a variety of reasons.

            One of the problems we are having these days is that everyone thinks in an all or nothing way. We need the housing. We need the parking. Some people need housing more than parking. Some people need parking more than housing. The job of the government is to find ways to meet as many of those needs as possible within constraints of budget and other factors. It doesn’t have to be a winner-take-all, dog-eat-dog, nasty sarcastic argument every time.

    6. MAXIMO LOPEZ says:

      GOD WILLING,HAVING BEEN IN SHELTERS ON AND OFF THE LAST 5YEARS, THE SECOND TIME DUE TO MY PROGRAM PUTTING ME IN AN ILLEGAL BASEMENT ROOM WITH 5 OTHER PEOPLE,HOPEFULLY THE IS HELP ON THE HORIZON. HOW DOES ONE APPLY FOR AN APARTMENT IN THIS BEAUTIFUL BUILDING.
      THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME
      MAXIMO LOPEZ

    7. Resident only parking is needed citywide. An analysis by Crains last year estimated that the City/State lose $100 million ANNUALLY in lost registration fees, sales taxes, NYC auto use tax, etc. to NY residents who register their cars elsewhere.. Walk down any NYC residential street where few tourists visit and see for yourselves. Look at E-Z Pass devices on cars registered in states where no toll roads exist. See NYC DOT handicapped parking permits and DOE permits , etc. displayed by cars far beyond commuting distance. $100 million lost EVERY YEAR!

    8. viktoria tracey says:

      I would live there instead of the USA if it is genuinely affordable & not a huge waiting list!!

    9. nikki says:

      how do. I. apply for this. .I need housing I’m. a senior

    10. Spence says:

      I completely support his project. Poverty among the elderly is rising and so is homelessness.

    11. CARRIE MATHIS says:

      Thank you Carol for this story and Council Member Levine, Manhattan Board President Gale Brenner and Community Board 7 for thinking of the population of people typically ignored and disenfranchised. Praise God for you and may He bless your endeavors reflecting this project. Thanks too for mot forgetting about the hectic parking for the residents.

    12. Steen says:

      “But, at the end of the day, the mission of city government is not to offer subsidized parking, but to offer subsidized housing. The imperative of expanding affordable housing in a neighborhood where it’s desperately needed really trumps the need to supply affordable parking.”

      That gets right to the heart of it. No council member is elected to keep parking subsidized. Believe me, this building definitely hurts my wallet–I do not garage here, but my garage just raised the price of our monthly parking by $100 in anticipation of new tenants. I really don’t like paying it, but I like the idea of leaving seniors and families homeless even less.

      One caveat: This needs to be well-run and maintained, unlike the short term shelter at 104th and Broadway which seems to really be going downhill with its permanent scaffolding, no work in site and garbage everywhere.

    13. Rob G. says:

      And the Upper Upper West Side gets the shaft again! Make no mistake, this is not “affordable housing,” this is more shelter-type housing in an area already overrun with it. And let’s not minimize the loss of 750 parking spaces. Many of those vehicles are used by average working folks to get to and from work outside the city. The ‘benefits’ that Brewer and Levine are touting are jokes and will be far outweighed by the misery the neighborhood will experience because of this dumb project.

    14. Woody says:

      I’ve noticed that the parking lots of subsidized housing projects across the city are filled with a lot of late-model cars. They cost much more than a moderately priced utilitarian vehicle that would meet the needs of people who just need to get around under the special circumstances that so many here have mentioned.

      • Mark says:

        Leasing a car doesn’t always cost that much and comments like these always have a tinge of racism hiding underneath the surface. So what if someone is driving something nice? Who are you to judge how and why they got their vehicle just because they live in the projects? Should they drive a lemon just to make you more comfortable?

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          well said, @Mark… more than “a twinge” of racism.

          It’s interesting that on another thread, Woody was arguing in favor of de facto subsidies. In this case, an NYPD Captain pointed out how Duane Reade was in fact using the NYPD to subsidize its security on the Upper West Side. @Woody said that this misuse of resources was none of the Captain’s business.

          a couple of facts that are important to point out:

          1) the most publicly subsidized housing, per unit, on the UWS are high end condos with mortgages approaching the legal deductible max for mortgage interest. I haven’t noticed Woody looking over the cars these people drive.

          2) Woody has no idea whose cars are parked in Nysha parking lots. It could be employees. It could be visitors. Hell, maybe Nysha rents some of those spaces to community residents to gain more revenue.

          • Woody says:

            Your writing style is pretty emphatic and could probably convince others, but I find most of what you write to be nonsense.How could anyone of average intelligence support your theory of de facto subsidies for engaging the police whose job it is to do police work. This NYPD Captain who claims that Duane Reade uses the NYPD to subsidize its security on the Upper West Side is beyond ridiculous. To call this a misuse of resources that DR is entitles to is absurd. Even visitors to the City who have no business, home, job, or any other connection to the City are entitles to police resources.

            This is pure drivel: “the most publicly subsidized housing, per unit, on the UWS are high end condos with mortgages approaching the legal deductible max for mortgage interest.” Would you rather they live in a high-end rental where the landlord gets to deduct the mortgage costs? You come off as a jealous person.

            • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

              @Woody, you don’t seem to understand the points both CAPT Malin and I are making, because you are responding to entirely different points, or perhaps no points at all.

              the idea that DR is, through negligence of basic security procedures that they are implementing in stores in other neighborhoods, using a vastly disproportionate share of NYPD resources on the UWS and thus receiving a de facto subsidy, is not absurd at all. it is sound political and economic thinking. this is an entirely different point than your point that “even visitors” get police protection in NYC.

              by the way, visitors pay hotel taxes, which contribute to payment for the city services they use.

              you are free to disagree with CAPT Malin’s point, but you should do so on a substantive basis, which you have not done so as of yet.

              You don’t seem to understand my point about how rich condo owners are subsidized by the govt, though you have pointed out that landlords are subsidized as well. I won’t go into a response, i stated it all clearly the first time and it is not a complex point.

        • david moore says:

          The main policy goal of welfare is to help those in need. If recipients are driving high end cars then we have an obvious problem. That creates an incentive to work less and go on welfare. Maybe you haven’t taken a basic introductory course in economics. “Racism” here is just a magic word thrown around as a way to avoid accountability and responsibility.

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            @David Morse, you haven’t had a basic lesson in facts.

            most residents of public housing are not on “welfare” (which technically no longer exists: it is now TANF, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families — but they’re not on that, either). they might be working people, or retired, or multi-generation families.

            it would be almost impossible to buy a recent car with a tiny TANF check.

            to all these people who complain about subsidized housing: i would love to examine your tax returns to see how many de facto subsidies you get. Start with the mortgage interest deduction. what about “business expensing”? I noticed that someone assumed that working people could just “write off” the cost of a car. No, they can’t — but if you own a business, you can. that’s a subsidy.

            oh, there are so many more. but when rich or upper middle class people get subsidies, no one complains about the cars they drive.

            Physician, heal thyself!

            • Woody says:

              Your comments are misleading and do a disservice to this discussion. Just because one has a business doesn’t mean that they automatically have the right to deduct the costs of owning a car. They are entitled to deduct only those costs directly associated with generating revenue for that business. That is not a subsidy – that is a cost of doing business just like paying the rent, utilities, salaries, etc. If it is discovered upon audit that they abused the tax system, they must pay back tax, interest, and severe penalties.

              Are you ready to say that you do not take any allowed tax deductions or credits when you file your taxes? You’re not obligated to remit the tax payment required under the tax system if you opt to forfeit the tax deduction/credits that pertain to your situation. You’re allowed to pay more than what the IRS expects. If you’re not doing that, then you’re just pointing fingers at others while benefiting from the same system.

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            … and by the way, most poor and lower middle class people have to work much harder than rich people. they have to take 2, 3 jobs. try being a single mother some day before you smugly lecture people about “disincentives to work.”

            • Woody says:

              Since you’re all about making blanket statements, here’s one for you. How do you reconcile the number of people living in subsidized housing that don’t report income from those one or more of those jobs that would cause them to lose government subsidies for housing and food assistance.

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            just to present some FACTS to Mr. David Moore:

            47% of Nycha families are headed by one or more workers

            40% of the families are supported by Social Security, SSI, pensions, veterans benefits, and other government programs.

            13% receive public assistance (TANF).

            http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nycha/downloads/pdf/factsheet.pdf

          • Woody says:

            I actually meant to say high-end and not late-model cars, so your comment more accurately conveys the essence of what I wanted to say. The fact that leasing a car doesn’t cost that much misses the point. Leasing a high-end car costs more than leasing an average car.

          • dannyboy says:

            Many people spend their money on a car because they are prevented from available housing due to redlining or discrimination, due to race.

    15. Mark Moore says:

      My kid goes to school at Booker across the street. The parents are already mobilizing against this.

    16. MaggieMay241 says:

      https://twitter.com/MarkLevineNYC/status/989142769347256320

      If Mark Levine cares so much about neighborhood parking why is he getting rid of our parking garages! Where will the 750 cars go? How many fumes will we have to inhales as 750 cars circle the hood for hours on end looking for a parking spot on the street. We have our fair share in MV build somewhere else!

      • Jill Davillo says:

        Put me on waiting list. I could benefit living here after I retire in 3 years. I will definitely benefit from low income housing since I will be collecting SSI.

    17. Graciela Hernandez says:

      How I can apply to live th
      Here ?

    18. Barbara Harper says:

      Please keep me informed my Mom is on 62 Amsterdam Ave would love to move back home presently in NC I am a senior my Mom has been in her apartment 68 years

    19. Rob says:

      The bull coming from the parking garage supporters is Trumpian. Affordable housing “would likely precipitate traffic accidents and fatalities, increase our carbon footprint and release of ambient particulates and other pollutants into the air,”

      If anything, these apartments will do the opposite. Kudos to Council Member Levine for having the guts to stand up for what’s right.

      • trish says:

        you may not know that the wall ball courts under construction contain historic landfill with metal and pesticide contaminates that exceed safety standards of NY state. yet the residents and children in this area were not protected. dust has been flying for 8 months with no protective barrier and no information to educate the community. this site on W 108 is more of the same. for those of you who’ve never had cancer or asthma you can poo poo that environmental concerns matter. i just can’t believe that city hall rams this through without really educating people. wake up nyc. no one is looking out for your health except YOU. we will all die of something some time no doubt. but what about all the housing on W 109 that faces this site and will breathe these contaminants? where do they get a voice – lower income people in section 8 housing? who speaks up for them? this isnt just about entitled rich people and cars. don’t believe the hype.

        • Jay says:

          There are so many statements you’ve made that are just crazy hyperbole. None of the contaminants found at the site were in concentrations you wouldn’t find anywhere else in NYC. In fact, some of the sampling results showed no contaminants whatsoever at the site.

          The developer is required to do air monitoring at the site and downwind and water the soil as it is being removed. So, if dust is being produced the state DEP would know about it.

    20. Scott says:

      So just how cheap were these garaged spaces that generated so much controversy?

    21. MTS says:

      The upshot:

      Unless your car is necessary in the actual performance of your livelihood (not to commute to and from your job), owning a personal vehicle in Manhattan comes under the heading of a LUXURY.

      Anyone who can afford to purchase a car and pay for car insurance, car maintenance, a parking garage, etc can certainly afford to find alternative ways to get around, especially since the advent of Uber, Lyft, etc.

      I realize there are probably some exceptions, but in the vast majority of cases, cars are simply an unnecessary luxury in any large congested city that has a subway system, buses, taxis, et al.

      They also create air and noise pollution and cause pedestrian deaths and injuries.

      The fact is– parking garages take up real estate that could be used for desperately needed affordable housing.

      Car owners who value their enjoyment of personal luxury over the very survival of the homeless and elderly have got some very skewed values indeed.

      Sounds to me like most of you folks have lived the kind of spoiled privileged lives that preclude any real sense of proportion.

      With the exception of emergency vehicles, buses, cabs, delivery trucks, and vehicles used in the performance of one’s livelihood– cars should be completely banned in urban settings.

      And public transport should be installed or upgraded accordingly.

      • Juan says:

        I agree with you that for many, a car is a luxury, but not for all. I know several families where one family member works in NYC and takes public transit to work, but the other works in a suburb that is not easily accessible by mass transit, so they reverse commute by car. This is the exception and not the rule, but there are definitely a lot of these types of people.

        We have done the calculations repeatedly and have found that Zipcar and other such services work fine and are significantly cheaper, even though we are out of the city quite a bit. But there are countless people in the city for whom money is of little concern and the convenience of owning a car is worth the cost.

        That being said, supply and demand rules the market. With a few exceptions, such as this one, most parking lots are private enterprises. If the owner feels they can make more money charging high rates for people to park cars than making the property residential, that is their right. There is a former lot on 87 between WEA and Broadway that is now being converted to residential for just this reason.

    22. Zenobia saafan says:

      I vote

    23. Quinn Pastor says:

      The Save Manhattan Valley people are a piece of work.

      1) “It is shocking that we were not given any advance notice of the vote by our Council Member Mark Levine”
      Why is it shocking? The community overwhelmingly supports it. He voted for what makes sense. Get over it!

      2) “we offered the City 10 alternatives to this site”
      Yeah, I’m sure the city is missing out big time by not jumping on the offers you scribbled on a napkin… lol

      3) “The environmental analysis prepared by SMV’s independent consultants”
      You mean the consultants you hired to tell you that removing a parking garage will “increase our carbon footprint” and cause “accidents and fatalities”? What if your *independent* consultants gave you the opposite results? Would you share them, or would you just hire another consultant to give you the result you wanted?

      4) “This information was largely uncontradicted by WSFSSH’s environmental consultants”
      I’m really shocked they didn’t bother to contradict the drivel of “analysis” you and your “independent consultant” came up with. Maybe you should have printed it on more official-looking paper?

    24. MAG says:

      My concern “expected to house 194 permanently affordable apartments for low-income seniors and families”. Families? What happens when the senior dies – family gets the boot? – not likely. So does this building perpetuate yet another generation of people living off the city? How does this building maintain its seniors status?