The policy of housing: what makes housing more plentiful and more affordable?

This is a long post. It gets to the heart of why Palo Alto Forward exists, though: how to make housing more affordable and more available, and how can we have transportation solutions that support a more sustainable city. The tl;dr of the post below: everyone says that they are “pro-housing”, and sometimes policy discussions at City Council are framed such that each side has a “pro-housing” claim.  We wanted to dissect these policy discussions around a lens of “what would actually make housing more affordable, and what would serve to make housing less affordable”.  If you’re interested, read on :) Read more

Affordable Housing Overlay

Dear Planning and Transportation Commission, On this Valentine’s Day, we he hope you give affordable housing a little love!  Palo Alto Forward is a community group made up of Palo Alto residents who support the City’s efforts for to create better housing and transportation options.  We were highly supportive of the housing policies outlined in the Comprehensive Plan and are excited to see an Affordable Housing Zoning overlay so it can help the friends, neighbors and community members in our city who need housing the most.   Read more

Car Lite Housing Moves Forward

On Jan 31, 2018 the Planning and Transportation Commission UNANIMOUSLY supported moving this to Council.  We will alert everyone when the Council meeting is going to take place. Huge thanks and congratulations to the 134 people who signed the petition supporting the project at 2755 El Camino Real! In the meantime, if you're interested, here is the article about last night's discussion and passage (if you get further inspired, you can leave a supportive comment at the bottom of the article).  For the time being, though, be happy that you helped support a sustainable, more affordable, car-light project in our city :) Read more

Stanford GUP Letter

Dear Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, Thank you for your hard work shepherding the Stanford General Use Permit (GUP) process and for allowing the public an additional 60 days of comment. Palo Alto Forward is a community group that supports better housing and transportation options in Palo Alto, and helps educate our broader community on different topics, from ADUs to cycling infrastructure, Missing MIddle Housing to Mobility as a Service.  Our board members have served as Planning & Transportation and Human Relations Commissioners and Comprehensive Plan Committee Members.  We support positive change in our city’s long range planning efforts. Palo Alto Forward’s board has had an opportunity to review the Stanford GUP proposal and DEIR and respectfully submit the following comments for your consideration. Read more

ADU follow up

  We had a full house (60+ people, standing room only) to hear Palo Alto Planning Director Hillary Gitelman, Russ Reich (from the City's Development Center), architects, mortgage specialists and others talk about the process of designing, approving, financing and building Granny Units.   Read more

Car light housing forum wrap-up

Palo Alto's Planning and Transportation Commission just completed its review of the Comprehensive Plan.  Although the plan itself spans a vast array of topics, the Commission spent much of their review time talking about parking policies.   The reason that parking policies have moved front-and-center has to do with housing (and development more generally).  Palo Alto's new Comprehensive Plan recognizes that there is a housing crisis in Palo Alto, and has committed to a significant increase in housing unit construction.  However, our community fears some of the undesirable side effects that come with this commitment: chief among these are traffic and parking issues.  To help our community learn more, Palo Alto Forward hosted a lively discussion with experts from TransForm (transportation policy think tank and advocate), Palo Alto Housing (affordable housing developer), and Harmonie Partners (market rate housing developer focused on walkable infill developments).   Read more

New Affordable Housing Proposal

In Palo Alto, Summer break is officially over!  Kids are back in school and City Council has resumed weekly Monday meetings.  This Monday, August 28 at 6p, City Council has a study session with Palo Alto Housing, a local non-profit housing developer, about a proposal for new 100% affordable housing project at 3709 El Camino Real, at the corner of Wilton Avenue.  You can read the full staff report here, which includes preliminary plans for 61 one bedroom & studio units (for low income or developmentally disabled adults) and ground floor retail. Read more

Taming Traffic

Palo Alto Forward’s Taming Traffic event hosted Evan Goldin, Director of Product at Chariot, and a former product manager at Lyft, and Jamie Jarvis, Transportation Demand Manager for Stanford Research Park.  60 eager attendees included residents, community leaders, and a brain trust of transportation and sustainability oriented professionals. Thanks to all who attended and if you couldn’t come, we are posting the presentations here: Evan Goldin’s PresentationJamie Jarvis’ Presentation Read more

ADU Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

Palo Alto City Council is finally weighing in on ADUs or Accessory Dwelling Units! (see staff report) Granny Units, Second Units, Nanny Flats, In-Law Unit, whatever you call them, if you want to make it easier to build them, come to City Hall on Tuesday March 7, 2017 8:30p (at 250 Hamilton Avenue) to show your support!   Palo Alto Forward's Board of Directors has just submitted the following letter to  If you'd like to write in with similar comments, please do so, and please cc:     Read more

Land Use and Transportation

On Monday, January 30, 2017 at 6:10 pm, Palo Alto City Council is going to review the Land Use and Transportation Elements of our Comprehensive Plan. Sounds boring – why should YOU care? Read more

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