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?

  • Mary Gallagher
    posted about this on Facebook 2016-02-16 23:20:15 -0800
    Join with me to support more housing and transportation options in Palo Alto!
  • Mary Gallagher
    signed 2016-02-16 23:19:55 -0800
  • Lillian Lieberman
    signed 2016-02-16 17:57:41 -0800
  • Deanne Daly
    signed 2016-02-16 10:59:42 -0800
  • Michael Loughran
    signed 2016-02-15 21:08:34 -0800
  • Marianne Mueller
    signed 2016-02-15 17:56:16 -0800
  • David Lieberman
    posted about this on Facebook 2016-02-15 09:36:07 -0800
    Join with me to support more housing and transportation options in Palo Alto!
  • David Lieberman
    signed 2016-02-15 09:32:44 -0800
    I am in agreement with the goal, but I have a quarrel with the desire for more senior housing. Because of limited land this is really a zero sum game. Senior housing takes away housing for young families, mid-career professionals, lower income service workers, etc. I am 77 years old but I do not wish to live in a geriatric community.

    Furthermore, the demand for senior housing is practically limitless. We could easily become like Florida’s Gold Coast (Sarasota. Tampa, etc.) known in that area as God’s Waiting Room.

    Another issue is hotels. There are several proposals for very large hotels in the San Antonio Road corridor. This is the worst use of developable land but it will likely sail through the City Council because hotels are a cash cow for the city. If you want to do something practical, oppose those plans and call for the sites to be dedicated for apartment development.
  • David Snider
    signed 2016-02-14 17:57:01 -0800
    Julan Chu
  • Bertie Gannon
    signed 2016-02-14 16:53:00 -0800
  • Marta Rodriguez
    signed 2016-02-14 16:51:45 -0800
  • Linette Salcedo
    signed 2016-02-14 16:50:41 -0800
  • Kate Bistula-Dyla
    signed 2016-02-14 16:49:48 -0800
  • Bill Farrell
    signed 2016-02-12 16:25:16 -0800
  • Sylvia Star-Lack
    signed 2016-02-12 10:32:06 -0800
  • Michelle Doan
    posted about this on Facebook 2016-02-12 09:34:51 -0800
    Join with me to support more housing and transportation options in Palo Alto!
  • Eve Feinstein
    signed 2016-02-12 08:55:55 -0800
  • Baq Haidri
    signed 2016-02-11 22:23:34 -0800
  • Sheldon Marder
    signed 2016-02-11 21:06:42 -0800
  • Betsy Marder Friedman
    signed 2016-02-11 20:46:28 -0800
  • Andrew Harwell
    signed via 2016-02-11 20:20:18 -0800
  • Deborah Tostevin
    signed via 2016-02-11 16:09:13 -0800
  • Rachel Solomin
    signed 2016-02-11 16:06:52 -0800
    When my family moved to the middle of the Peninsula, we wanted to purchase a home inside the eiruv (Jewish sabbath border) and could not afford to. I’ve worked at two PA synagogues over the past eight years. My husband is a senior product manager… and we still can’t afford to live in Palo Alto. Young adults and families who make meaningful, yet less well-paid, contributions to Palo Alto shouldn’t have to live far from their work and communities due to a lack of housing that is based not on a lack of building but on bad city planning.
  • Daryl Waggott
    signed 2016-02-11 15:14:58 -0800
    Housing affordability is the single reason I will leave the bay area. I’ve got a great job, but renting is not sustainable with a young family. I understand the arguments of supply and demand. However, the problem appears to be that there is no vision or sane adherence to urban planning fundamentals. Lots of NIMBY’s with deep wallets to protect interests though.
  • Blanca Rebuelta
    signed 2016-02-11 15:10:05 -0800
  • reine flexer
    signed 2016-02-11 14:51:45 -0800
  • Efraim Feinstein
    signed 2016-02-11 14:37:40 -0800
  • Kent Schneeveis
    signed 2016-02-11 14:13:06 -0800
  • Sarah Kummerfeld
    signed 2016-02-11 12:30:24 -0800
  • Karen Price
    signed 2016-02-11 10:20:36 -0800
    The one thing people forget is RENT CONTROL!! Do away with skyrocketing costs by limiting the amount of rent that can be charged by greedy landlords.


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