Shading Parking Lots: Tree Ordinance Phase 2?

From NBC

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As a means to make the city’s “asphalt eyesores” easier on the eyes and on the environment, NYC City Hall has introduced a plan requiring public parking lots to be landscaped with more trees.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan defines parking lots as “asphalt fields that cover the industrial landscape of many neighborhoods.” The plan would require all new and enlarged commercial parking lots with at least 18 parking spaces or 6,000 square feet to require perimeters with shrubbery and trees. All lots over 12,000 square feet would also have to put one tree every eight parking spaces in specially designed islands, creating a canopy effect.

“This will have a tremendous effect, not just on aesthetics and the environment, but on the way we live,” says Department of City Planning Chairperson Amanda Burden.

Burden describes that planting islands will “capture the rainfall and will make the islands green, but will also help our storm sewers and help prevent flooding in our neighborhoods.”

But critics fear that the additional costs might hurt small business owners.

“It’s a difficult environment to do business – New York City,” says Richard Lipsky of Neighborhood Retail Alliance. “Taxes are through the roof, regulations and fines are pervasive and given that situation, I think more thought needs to be given to the cost/benefit analysis here.”

Parking garages, gas stations and residential parking lots would be exempt from the new rules, which will be in public review over the next seven months.

One comment

  1. This is a good idea, but far greater impact on the environment would come from limiting runoff. The concept of using the tree plantings to work with runoff control structures would be the best idea. To be effective this concept has to apply to existing lots also, when they are renewed by the city a requirement could be added. For example more of the U of M area will be devoted to asphalt for the foreseeable future, this should not just add to the runoff and be an eyesore.

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