City to increase parking rates at public housing lots

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CITY HALL — The city plans to increase parking rates for public housing lots as part of efforts to secure the massive system’s financial future.

The move is among several steps in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 10-year strategy to tackle budget woes and disrepair at the New York City Housing Authority, which faces a nearly $2.5 billion cumulative projected deficit over the next decade.

NYCHA will start raising parking rates to local market values next year, phasing in price increase for residents through the end of 2017.

Public housing tenants will be charged no more than $150 a month for parking permits under the plan. Spaces go for about $315 for 12 months now, depending on the type of permit.

The agency aims to make up to $5 million annually on parking by increasing the rates and boosting occupancy. Right now average occupancy is at 59 percent and the city collects $2.4 million for parking permits.

Current tenants will have first dibs on any open spots, but those that remain will be offered to the public at market rate. This will determined by neighborhood.

The permit charge increases for tenants, while capped at about $150 per month for areas with highest demand, will also be determined by location.

The city estimates the rate will increase to about $50 a month for NYCHA residents on Staten Island. The current system-wide average is $26.33 a month.

PERSPECTIVE

NYCHA will phase in rate raises at 80 to 90 developments first beginning in 2016. The rest will follow in the next year.

Officials stressed that the change wouldn’t affect many of NYCHA’s more than 400,000 residents. Only 10,111 tenants have parking permits for NYCHA lots.

There are 19 parking lots across seven housing projects on Staten Island, offering 706 spaces. Four of those lots are considered “full” and 288 of borough parking spaces are occupied. Forty-eight are taken by non-residents.

“It’s a meaningful issue,” de Blasio said when asked about those Staten Island public housing residents who rely on the lots and would be subject to an increase. “I want to put it in perspective of the overall situation.”

THE OVERALL SITUATION

In addition to the nearly $2.5 billion deficit, NYCHA faces some $17 billion in unmet capital needs for major infrastructure repairs.

De Blasio’s 10-year plan also includes leasing unused land in housing complexes for private residential development. The city is looking at dozens of sites — parking lots, trash areas and other open spots — to create some 10,000 affordable housing units. An additional 3,500 rent-regulated apartments would be created in mixed-use developments that would be half affordable and half market-rate.

Another measure would modernize rent collection with online payment options and other changes. NYCHA only collects some 74 percent of rent and fees now.

“If we are committed to affordable housing and reducing income inequality, we should not try to balance the books by raising fees on those already struggling to make ends meet.”

Officials said the entire plan would address $4.6 billion of the agency’s repair and improvement needs, creating a $200 million surplus over 10 years.

Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore), whose district includes most of Staten Island’s public housing, said overdue repairs and incomplete renovations are “unacceptable” and applauded de Blasio and NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye for their commitment to improving the system.

“However, their proposal to drastically increase parking fees takes too heavy of a toll on my constituents, most of whom are underserved by public transportation,” Ms. Rose said in a statement. “If we are committed to affordable housing and reducing income inequality, we should not try to balance the books by raising fees on those already struggling to make ends meet.”

Source: http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/05/nycha_parking_rate_increase.html

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