Considering Building a Secondary Unit in Palo Alto?

                  Secondary units or homes, often referred to as “granny units” or “in-law units” can be an excellent way of allowing people to age in place. They can serve as a home for family or a caregiver or they can serve as an income stream during retirement, providing a relatively affordable rental option for students or young adults. Secondary homes can also be a terrific way of safeguarding against mobility issues in the future: they can be built as a single floor with no-step entries, extra wide hallways and doors, and switches and outlets reachable at any height. It can often be much cheaper to build a secondary home in this manner than to retrofit an existing home or to find another home to purchase, so many people choose to move into the secondary home themselves and let their children live in the main home.   Read more

Sustainability Climate Action Plan Study Session

On Monday, April 20, Palo Alto's Chief Sustainability Officer, Gil Friend, will lead a study session with the City Council on the Sustainability/Carbon Action Plan (S/CAP).  The S/CAP is "Palo Alto’s ambitious plan to create a prosperous, resilient city for all residents. It supports Palo Alto’s leadership position on climate protection and shows how the City will meet or exceed, state requirements for GHG emission reductions."  Read more

Tactical Urbanism

With Island Press and City of Palo Alto Library, we had a unique opportunity to host Mike Lydon, author of Tactical Urbanism, for an event in Palo Alto.  Mike provided inspiration to almost sixty participants.   Read more

Palo Alto Forward Steering Committee Endorses Measure A to Support Palo Alto Schools

We at Palo Alto Forward believe Palo Alto is strengthened by having more housing and transportation options as well as the infrastructure that supports it, including PAUSD’s wonderful schools. We thank the Measure A  Campaign Team for their hard work in ensuring it gets passed in May and thank them for their guest blog post below. Read more

Sustainability + Mobility as a Service

On Thursday, Feb 26 over 40 Palo Altans gathered to hear Gil Friend (Chief Technology Officer/Palo Alto) and 2 guests from Finland (Krista Huhtala-Jenks and Sonja Heikkila) talk about sustainability with a focus on transportation issues.   Read more

Smart Solutions to Parking and Congestion: Addressing Palo Alto's problems head-on

Dear Palo Alto City Council Members: I am writing to you to share Palo Alto Forward's perspective on the annual cap on office/R&D development to be discussed at your March 2nd meeting. Thank you for considering our perspective on this very important issue.  Palo Alto Forward represents citizens who support more housing and better transportation options. We are concerned about increased traffic and parking, expensive housing, and the difficult retail climate. But implementing an office/R&D square footage development cap will not solve these problems and may make them worse. Why? Because it’s all connected: We are trying to balance two opposing forces: The Bay Area is growing rapidly. Palo Alto is not an island-- we have an opportunity to steer this growth intelligently within our city Growth brings some positives and negatives: positives: a more vibrant (more shops, restaurants, employment opportunities), diverse community; negatives: increased congestion and noise Let's harness growth to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives. Instead of the cap, let’s solve our problems head-on. Read more

Doubling Caltrain Capacity Recap

  On Tuesday, several dozen people who live and work in Palo Alto came to learn about how Caltrain can keep up with ridership growth and capacity needs. Caltrain ridership has well over doubled in the last decade, and ridership in Palo Alto has increased by over 30% in the last three years alone. Read more

Downtown Housing Walking Tour

Thanks to everyone who came out to the great Downtown Housing Walking Tour.  It was a sunny day, great for a walk with 30+ Palo Altans. Special thanks to Gunn High School student Emily Cao for writing about our tour for Palo Alto Pulse. And special thanks to Corinne DeBra for the great photos. For reference, our handout, with map, project data and background can be found here. Read more

Commercial Development Cap thoughts: Open Letter to Council

To City Council/ City Staff-   We have seen that you are considering an annual cap on office/R&D development in Palo Alto at your January 26 meeting.     The staff report includes data on the rate of annual additions to non-residential building stock, and also includes benchmarking data on what caps other California cities have put in place.   But why is the cap being proposed, and what should it accomplish?  If the reason for the cap is to reduce traffic and parking problems in Palo Alto, then the most important data to understand is the relationship between new office/R&D development and traffic/ parking problems.  Santa Monica decided to attack the heart of the problem (cars and parking) vs. one aspect of the problem (development): their goal is to “limit new trips” vs. “limit new construction”.      Read more

Steve Levy Presentation

Thanks to all who came to our general meeting last week.  40+ people packed Mitchell Park Community Center's Adobe Room South to hear Steve Levy present his voluntary research: Region and County Economic Trends and Implications for the Comprehensive Plan.  For those who were unable to attend, Steve has updated his slides to clarify some points and incorporate some of the discussion.  Slides: Region and County Economic Trends and Implications for the Comprehensive Plan Read more


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