Fix Palo Alto's Housing Crisis!

Please join eight former Mayors and over 1000 community members in asking City Council to exercise leadership and address Palo Alto's housing shortage now!


1,500 signatures

The cost of living in Palo Alto has skyrocketed. As a result, we are seeing long-time neighbors move because they can no longer afford the rent. It is not unusual for Palo Alto workers to commute in from areas as far as Stockton, Gilroy, and Tracy, putting severe strain on our roads and our climate. We are on the path to being a city composed only of long-time landowners and wealthy newcomers.

This situation is the result of city policies that have discouraged new housing while encouraging more office space. As a result, Palo Alto has the nation’s highest median rent and the region’s highest jobs-to-housing ratio. City Council has taken measures to address the jobs side of the equation by limiting office growth. Now, it is time to address the housing side of the equation.

A true fix will require a long-term focus and deep commitment; we believe, though, that we can maintain the character of our community while making changes to alleviate this imbalance. Council can show leadership by crafting policy to achieve the following goals:

1. Encourage construction of more studio apartments and other naturally affordable smaller units. 

2. Encourage buildings composed of apartments and condos over ground-floor retail. Current policy requires developers to build office space into any new four-story building in a commercial district.

3. Make it easier for homeowners to build second units on their property, especially to accommodate multiple-generation households and caretakers.

4. Allow car-light and car-free housing in walkable, transit-accessible areas for residents who are able to not own a car.

5. Facilitate the development of new senior housing, including alternative models such as co-housing, home sharing, and mixed-use senior communities with retail and services.

We ask the City Council to plan for more housing so that Palo Alto can be the community of opportunity it has historically been: a family-friendly city that welcomed interesting thinkers and doers of all ages and all incomes.  Many of the above ideas were implemented successfully in Palo Alto’s South of Forest (SOFA) plan.  We know that this can be done!

To find out more see our blog post.

Will you sign?

  • Miguel Galvez
    signed 2016-03-06 19:42:07 -0800
  • Eleanor Fukshansky
    signed 2016-03-06 19:40:45 -0800
  • Susy Poma
    signed 2016-03-06 19:38:58 -0800
  • Vincent Roybal
    signed 2016-03-06 19:37:17 -0800
  • Sarah Dunbar
    signed 2016-03-06 19:35:44 -0800
  • Jami Dunbar
    signed 2016-03-06 19:34:42 -0800
  • Travis McMahon
    signed 2016-03-05 15:28:46 -0800
  • Olga Rubchinskaya
    signed 2016-03-05 15:27:53 -0800
  • Maria Cristina Reyes
    signed 2016-03-05 15:26:59 -0800
  • Rafael Hurtado
    signed 2016-03-05 15:25:52 -0800
  • Marina Pereverzeva
    signed 2016-03-05 15:23:59 -0800
  • Maria Ibarra
    signed 2016-03-05 15:22:57 -0800
  • Dina Putilova
    signed 2016-03-05 15:21:42 -0800
  • Larisa Putilova
    signed 2016-03-05 15:05:15 -0800
  • Milt Grinberg
    signed 2016-03-02 18:09:46 -0800
  • Drew Maran
    signed 2016-03-02 15:24:44 -0800
    Drew Maran
  • Hiwot Aweka
    signed 2016-03-01 20:34:07 -0800
  • Wim de Groot
    signed 2016-02-26 08:24:49 -0800
  • Zachary Alberico
    signed 2016-02-23 16:11:49 -0800
  • Bill Bindi
    signed 2016-02-22 03:39:33 -0800
  • Kristal Caidoy
    signed 2016-02-21 21:49:44 -0800
  • Amie Ashton
    signed 2016-02-21 18:12:11 -0800
    I support more high-density housing in Palo Alto. It is essential our our future as a vibrant, economically healthy, interesting place to live.
  • Barbara Sloan
    signed 2016-02-20 14:47:07 -0800
  • Craig Bright
    signed 2016-02-19 11:46:36 -0800
  • Ylza Blalock
    signed 2016-02-19 11:45:45 -0800
  • Raul Rojas
    signed 2016-02-19 11:43:54 -0800
  • Lavelle Seebauer
    signed 2016-02-19 11:42:51 -0800
  • S.V. Vasudevan
    signed 2016-02-18 12:13:26 -0800
  • Russel Schwartz
    signed 2016-02-17 21:52:26 -0800
    Affordable housing is one of the best things to happen in Palo Alto yet there are a few points from personal experience I would like to share for the benefit of many perhaps.

    Affordable housing should be made as far away from railroad tracks as possible. There seems a tendency to try to build close to the tracks specifically Alma or busy roads because it seems cheaper yet the people in the housing frequently really suffer from noise and then want to stay because of lower cost even when their peace of mind and perhaps health because of disrupted sleep is troubled.

    If near busy streets then triple-paned windows minimum. Why bother to build hugely expensive building and then skimp on one of the most important parts – soundproofing.

    The relatively tiny cost of effective soundproofing can make all the difference in the success of a building project meeting the basic need of a place of calm to rest and restore to find the vivacity to go out and do the things needed to be done.

    I write from experience. Sadly, many builder designers and architects and builders do not live in the buildings they build so they might be unaware of the effects of under-soundproofing.

    While triple-paned windows can reduce road sounds they really can do almost nothing for low frequency vibrations of trains. Many are unaware of the power to disrupt a sense of well-being and even disrupt sleep until they have experienced those ninety-six trains per day plus freight trains at many hours of the night. Sure there’s a two or three hour window of no trains at night. The point is it’s rougher than people know until they’ve experienced one hundred twenty feet from the tracks and the walls shake. True enough. They shake.

    Okay, carry on.

    Gratitude for reading.
  • Aasim Jukaku
    signed 2016-02-17 16:33:56 -0800
    My wife, 2 yr old daughter, and I would all love to live in Palo Alto (where I work), but its prohibitively expensive. I can’t even imagine affording a place there.


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