How Many Of Your Neighbors Actually Drive To Work?

How Many Of Your Neighbors Actually Drive To Work?
A collection of stores near the intersection of East 16th Street and Sheepshead Bay Road.
A collection of stores near the intersection of East 16th Street and Sheepshead Bay Road. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

Sheepshead Bay residents are fiercely protective of their parking spaces: Try proposing a development that doesn’t include parking, and we guarantee community members will have some choice words about your plan.

A new study released by the Center for an Urban Future shows why. Sheesphead Bay has the second highest percentage of residents who drive to work (38.3 percent) out of any Brooklyn neighborhood. Only the nearby neighborhood of Flatlands/Canarsie, where 44.3 percent of residents drive to work, edged us out.

The study, called Fast City, Slow Commute, analyzes work-related travel for New Yorkers in 55 “census-defined” neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. Researchers examined a range of information about commuting, including travel time, where people work, and how they get there.

The report revealed that in all but one New York neighborhood (Greenwich Village/Financial District) commute times generally exceed the national average of 26 minutes. In Sheepshead Bay, the average commute time is 43.5 minutes — ranked 18th city-wide for the longest commute. However, nearby neighborhoods like Bensonhurst, East Flatbush, and Flatlands/Canarsie landed in the top 10 places with the longest commute times.

The long commutes have caused a sea change in how and where New Yorkers work. For instance, more and more residents are choosing to work from home, rather than commit themselves to the rush-hour slog. The number of people working from home rose by 68 percent between 2000 and 2014. In Sheepshead Bay, 4.3 percent of neighbors do their work at home, according to the study.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers are increasingly finding employment in their own borough. In Brooklyn, that number grew by 37 percent between 2000 and 2014.


When it comes to commuting by car, most of neighborhoods with lots of motorists are predictably concentrated in the outskirts of the city: Places like the northern Bronx, eastern Queens, and Staten Island. (The highest percentage of drivers (75.6) is in Staten Island’s South Shore.)

The revelation that more than one-third of Sheepshead Bay residents get to work by car jibes well with a previous study by Trulia, the real-estate website, which placed Sheepshead Bay among the top 10 Brooklyn neighborhoods to find available parking. Some commenters found it hard to believe, considering the zeal with which neighbors defend their spots, that parking would be so available. However, the Center for an Urban Future study shows why its such an important issue: parking is a hot commodity when so many people rely on them as their primary mode of transportation.

And considering Sheepshead Bay is in the midst of a development boom, those spots are likely to only increase in value.

Check out this interactive map from the Center for an Urban Future to see how people prefer getting to work in different New York City neighborhoods.


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