Our Platform

In the 1890s, University and California Avenue were founded and flourished as compact, vibrant rail town centers. Since then, Palo Alto has attracted creative, innovative souls from around the country and the world, and enabled them to invent the future. A strong local economy has increased the number of jobs in Palo Alto, and today Santa Clara County is one of the fastest growing economies in the country.

More office space has been built, yet the city has over time refrained from building housing and supporting transportation policies necessary to sustain economic growth in this area. This has resulted in more people traveling to work from further away, causing traffic congestion along both local roads and freeways, as well as a shortage of parking. Palo Alto has a larger percentage change in population from commuting than any other city in the country: the city’s population nearly doubles during work hours (93% increase for Palo Alto, 7% for New York City).

Given a nearly stagnant housing supply not only in Palo Alto, but all of Silicon Valley, housing has become extraordinarily expensive (the median price of homes currently listed in Palo Alto is $2,198,000) and whole groups of workers have been priced out of living in the community they serve (the average studio is $1905/month). The result has meant a city whose population is skewed towards the middle-aged and senior population, many of whom would like to downsize but have no appropriate options to do so while remaining in Palo Alto, and therefore often must leave their lifelong friends and grandchildren.

On its current course, Palo Alto will continue to experience traffic and parking issues from denser uses of existing buildings, but it will have turned away new businesses and new workers who no longer have appropriate housing. The very economic growth that makes Silicon Valley a gem in America’s economic crown will slowly be chipped away, hurting local businesses, school funding, and employment rates alike.  

 

Our Vision to Shape and Manage Growth in the Right Places 

Manage Impacts:

  • Manage parking by supporting the city’s current parking management strategy of managing pricing, reducing parking demand, and increasing parking supply

  • Mitigate impacts by setting goals and enforcing them for new building projects, setting clear and specific car trip goals (net new trips or vehicle miles traveled), offering incentives to reach those goals, and creating real enforcement measures: stiff penalties for development projects that miss goal targets (i.e. $100,000 per additional parking spot)

  • Invest in safe walking/biking infrastructure in all parts of our city. We support the 2012 Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan

  • Incent and invest in public transportation such as Caltrain (University Ave is the most popular Caltrain station after 4th & King), buses, and shuttles

  • Support transportation innovation such as rental bikes and car sharing

 Build for the Future:

  • Add more housing clustered near services and transportation options in Downtown, El Camino, and California Avenue. This reduces the length and frequency of car trips, parking demand, and greenhouse gas emissions, while increasing the quality of life and health in the community

  • Enable schools to thrive by increasing availability of smaller housing units aimed at singles and active seniors who pay property taxes but do not have school-aged children

  • Build mixed-use buildings that combine housing, retail, and commercial uses.  This enables a more walkable/bikeable community, convenience, and a greater quality of life

  • Preserve parks, foothills, marshland and other native habitats by preventing sprawl

  • Design for livability by creating public amenities such as delightful plazas, beautifully landscaped street networks, and active ground floors with businesses that serve the public

  • Data-driven decision-making that allows us to pinpoint transportation and parking weak spots for rectification, and make sure our solutions actually worked

  • Champion specific plans for areas like Downtown, California Avenue, and along El Camino. Build impact management strategies into growth plans, and actively engage the community

Ask City Council to Make Housing a Priority!

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