We see the symptoms every day. Housing prices (sale and rent) that get more and more expensive. The struggle to get to work, to school, to accomplish life’s basic tasks. Palo Alto Forward was launched in an effort to start a conversation about how we can pursue better housing and transportation options for Palo Alto. And part of that journey starts with understanding how these problems came to be.
Palo Alto is not an island. In the last few decades, the Bay Area has seen several waves of success, and Silicon Valley in particular, has launched several new industries that have spawned thousands of new jobs. Despite this success, our region and our city has not seen much change around land use and transportation policies, and those policies exert increasingly stronger pressures on our daily lives.
This regional context was discussed at Google recently with Egon Terplan, the regional planning director of SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research). Egon helped frame the broader regional context, tying in specifics about Mountain View and Palo Alto.
The last point Egon leaves with: “While the challenges are regional, the solutions will start locally.” Again, with just a few days left to register to vote, and a city council election in 3 weeks, your participation in local government has never been more important, both to help shape Palo Alto, and to help regional challenges.