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?

  • Judy Barry
    signed 2016-08-15 15:10:20 -0700
    I live in Sunnyvale and work in Redwood City. This spring I looked for a place but had trouble finding housing in Redwood City because the prices were too high, partly because the prices in neighboring Menlo Park and Palo Alto are so high.
  • Michael Phelan
    signed 2016-08-15 13:19:09 -0700
    I worked in Palo Alto for several years, it would be my favorite place to live and raise my son (and work) if only it were more affordable.
  • Christopher Monnier
    signed 2016-08-14 22:01:10 -0700
  • Cee Son
    posted about this on Facebook 2016-08-14 19:23:41 -0700
    Join with me to support more housing and transportation options in Palo Alto!
  • Charity Son
    signed 2016-08-14 19:22:48 -0700
    I work at Palo Alto, VA. Can’t afford to live on the west side of the bay as a GS-11 (which means I have a Master degree) even though I am also receiving additional pension from previous employment. My roommate got promoted and is happy to be moving to the Central Valley, where he will be able to afford a place on his own. Back to looking for another roommate for me!!!
  • Derek Lee
    signed 2016-08-14 17:05:26 -0700
  • Uday poo Koppikar
    signed 2016-08-14 12:05:26 -0700
    Have some ideas to minimize housing problems
  • Melissa Miranda
    signed 2016-08-12 17:30:24 -0700
    Let’s reconsider some of the outdated rules in the building code. Hardly anyone uses a garage for their cars, they are giant storage dumping grounds that could be used as housing. The no second story rule on smaller lots is so limiting, as are the 20ft setbacks. So many houses are occupied by one or two people, and they would work better as duplexes.

    My 3 year old biking to her Crescent Park preschool asked, Mom, where are all the people? We were on Guinda street at 9am on a Wednesday and there wasn’t a single pedestrian on the street. That made me sad, because we live here because it’s a town, and it feels like a ghost town just a few blocks from the busy main street (University).

    Keeping suburbia looking like suburbia hurts the housing supply, makes commutes longer and raises carbon emissions. We have a great city here in Palo Alto, and to have more people live here would make it thrive.
  • Alyssa Solomon
    signed 2016-08-12 16:10:29 -0700
  • Patricia Christensen
    signed 2016-08-12 14:36:14 -0700
  • Ann Weiss
    signed 2016-08-12 13:14:46 -0700
    Ann Weiss
  • Olgu Tanriverdi
    signed 2016-08-12 09:54:33 -0700
  • William Clements
    signed 2016-08-12 06:23:05 -0700
  • Carolyn Donlin
    signed 2016-08-12 03:09:23 -0700
  • Eli Robinson
    signed 2016-08-11 23:25:11 -0700
  • Mora Oommen
    signed 2016-08-11 19:09:46 -0700
    Mora Oommen
  • Mark Kennedy
    signed 2016-08-11 19:08:42 -0700
    I applaud your noble efforts to forge a community that has opportunity for all.

    Sincerely Yours

    Mark D Kennedy
  • Raayan Mohtashemi
    signed 2016-08-11 19:04:45 -0700
  • Michael Jurka
    signed 2016-08-11 18:41:36 -0700
  • Ron Merom
    signed 2016-08-11 17:47:19 -0700
    Ron Merom
  • Harry Yip
    signed 2016-08-11 15:45:23 -0700
  • John Clark
    signed 2016-08-11 14:54:20 -0700
  • Luis Munguia
    signed 2016-08-11 13:59:21 -0700
  • David Lam
    signed 2016-08-11 13:50:29 -0700
  • Alexa Gelfenbaum
    signed 2016-08-11 11:08:05 -0700
    I am a teacher/childcare provider who has lived in the Palo Alto/Menlo Park area for the past 18 years. I would like to be able to continue living in this amazing area with great community but it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so with the ridiculous cost of living space. I have already seen all of my family move out of the area partially because of this and many of my friends. In order to maintain the wonderful community and people who work hard within it, as well as continue our desires and initiative to be a low environmental impact area, we must add a substantial amount of low to moderate income housing. Please choose to be a champion for this area
  • Isaac Rosenberg
    signed 2016-08-11 09:06:59 -0700
  • Ethan Yung
    signed 2016-08-11 05:46:54 -0700
  • Jon Goldman
    signed 2016-08-02 15:48:51 -0700
  • Corinne DeBra
    signed 2016-07-27 00:17:06 -0700
    Love mixed use.
  • Shirley Foster
    signed 2016-07-26 21:47:34 -0700


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