Election season meetup at Scotty's - Tuesday 8/30, 6:30pm

Meet Up Tonight at @ Scotty's Come meet with your neighbors to talk about the upcoming election, housing issues, and enjoy the good company. And meet local hero Kate Downing - the former planning commissioner whose resignation made Palo Alto's contribution's to the local and regional housing crisis into regional and national news.     Time: 6:30pm548 Emerson RoadPalo Alto, CA 94301 

Five Common-Sense Steps to Fix Palo Alto's Housing Crisis

The cost of living in Palo Alto has skyrocketed. As a result, we are seeing long-time neighbors move as 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. That’s why we need you to sign our petition asking the City Council to take immediate, common-sense steps to address the housing crisis. Sign the petition!   The housing shortage has been caused by city policies that have discouraged new housing while encouraging office space. While the city has taken steps this year to slow the growth of office space, it is now time for the city to fix the policies that put up unnecessary barriers to new housing. Read more

Missing Middle Housing

On Thurs Nov 5, 2015 6-7:30p, we heard from Daniel Parolek, a nationally recognized thought leader in architecture, design, and urban planning, who specializes in creating livable, sustainable communities. Daniel conceived the term Missing Middle Housing to describe the range of multi-unit or clustered housing types compatible in scale with single-family homes that help meet the growing demand for compact, convenient, walkable lifestyles. If you missed his presentation live, video of the presentation can be found below and slides will be forthcoming! Read more

When Studio Apartments are Forbidden, Hostels Appear

The Hotel President Apartments, built in 1929, is one of the only buildings in Palo Alto to offer studio apartments. According to an article in the Palo Alto Weekly, neighborhood hostels have begun to appear in Palo Alto, in the form of single-family homes where the rent is split between many students or recent graduates. While it's long been common for students and young workers to split a lease on a house, what's new is how many tenants are required to pay the rent: in some cases, the homes are being filled with bunk beds and the rent split between as many as 16 people at one time! It's easy to see why landlords would like to rent to so many people for so much money. But why don't students and young workers have better options? Surprisingly, it's because Palo Alto's zoning code has strongly discouraged buildings with housing units appropriate for single people, such as studios or one-bedroom apartments, leaving single tenants little option other than sharing a larger space with one or more roommates. Read more

Council Listens to Residents on Housing Shortage

To the overwhelming number of residents who came to speak at City Council about the need to address the city's housing shortage - thank you! There were 45 pro-housing comments made at the Land Use Element, compared to only a handful of comments against. City Council listened to you. Council members Marc Berman, Pat Burt, and Cory Wolbach proposed motions that spoke directly to the need to increase housing supply in our downtown areas for all residents and specifically for Palo Alto's increasing population of seniors. These ideas were included in the Council's final direction for the Comprehensive Plan. Nevertheless, it is clear that achieving our goal of a Palo Alto that remains inclusive to residents of all incomes and all ages will be an continuing struggle. Your voice will be needed in the weeks and months ahead to make sure Council addresses the housing shortage with the same urgency that it has displayed for other important issues this year such as managing office growth and regulating downtown parking. Thanks again to all the residents who spoke or wrote in favor of housing - your voice is beginning to be heard!

Do Foreign Investors Drive High Housing Prices in Palo Alto?

  A ghost home owned by a foreign buyer? Attrib: sanfranman59 on Wikipedia. Foreign investment seems to be on everyone’s mind these days with stories about unoccupied “ghost” homes making the headlines. Many people are saying that foreign investment is the cause of Palo Alto’s sky-high housing prices.  Others say that the foreign investment trend is a reason for Palo Alto to not build more housing.  But how much do foreign buyers increase home prices, and what can Palo Alto do about it? Read more

Housing as Transportation Solution?

Palo Alto has the highest in-commuting rate in the region and the second highest in the country after Manhattan.  Downtown areas are busy and it’s hard to find parking. On Tuesday, the Comprehensive Plan Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) will be discussing talking about the policies and programs to help address the city’s transportation challenges. As we think about the future of transportation, here are some thoughts for the committee to consider…   Read more

Ideas for the Next 20 Years of Palo Alto Transportation

Palo Alto is updating the city’s Comprehensive Plan, setting guidelines for the coming decades.  You can share your ideas about the future of transportation in Palo Alto on this city website.  This is your chance to provide comment on Palo Alto's Transportation Element, and you can do it in 5 minutes or less. Please respond before September 3rd to have your comments incorporated as part of the recommendations of the CAC! Share your ideas now, or check out our food for thought as you consider your suggestions. Read more

The Unintended Consequences of Subsidized Parking in Palo Alto

If I were to ask you whether or not the city should pay commuters to drive to work in Palo Alto, I imagine you’d scoff at the idea. Who me? Subsidize vehicle traffic? Encourage employee parking on neighborhood streets? No way. Many Palo Altans are acutely aware of parking shortages downtown and challenging commute-hour traffic. Some are complaining about the lack of parking on neighborhood streets due to employee parking. However many people don’t realize that subsidizing commuters is in fact what the City of Palo Alto is doing today. Read more

New Palo Alto Downtown Commute Survey Shows 55% Drivealone Rate

The first employer survey for the Palo Alto Transportation Management Association shows a 55% drivealone commute rate, with 45% of commuters traveling to work in some other way. 17% of downtown commuters used Caltrain, and 15% of commuters walked or biked to work. The TMA plans to use the survey data help plan investments to further reduce driving into Palo Alto downtown, where car parking is experienced as scarce, and traffic makes driving inconvenient. Read more

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