Palo Alto council splits over downtown housing plan | April 22, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - April 22, 2022

Palo Alto council splits over downtown housing plan

Division puts grant-funded planning effort in jeopardy

by Gennady Sheyner

Despite general consensus that downtown Palo Alto is the perfect place to add residential development, the City Council clashed on Monday over whether to move ahead with a housing plan for the transit-served area just east of the University Avenue Caltrain station.

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Email Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner at [email protected]


Posted by Jeremy Erman
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 19, 2022 at 12:07 am

Jeremy Erman is a registered user.

Why does the regional Transportation Commission have this kind of money to give away for a housing plan, but not for public transit? Wouldn't it make more sense to use this money to restore the free shuttle program that was cut in 2020?

And why does the City need an $800,000 grant to help develop a "housing plan?" anyway? Doesn't the City have its own planning department? Isn't this their job? Why do we need extra money for this, and why would it involve outside consultants who don't necessarily live here or know anything about what it's like to live or work in Palo Alto?

Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Apr 20, 2022 at 12:05 am

chris is a registered user.


The city needs money to hire people with VISION. The current politicians and staff are mired in the muck created by years of inattention to housing. The limited amount of housing built in the last 20 years is evidence that the current and recent incumbents lack the creativity to push through the changes required to make housing happen.

The MTC needs to put money toward encouraging housing in areas near transit, in order to drive ridership to current transit and hopefully new and more frequent options. Only putting money toward transit in sprawling residential areas is very expensive.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 20, 2022 at 10:19 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Yes, the city needs to hire people with vision and objectivity after years of catering to the big-money, build-more-offices-and-hotels crowd which has increased competition for housing thus raising prices. PA has a much higher proportion of rental housing than surrounding towns -- a point the pro-density crowd consistently ignores.

And speaking of vision, the city loves to plead poverty and mourn the decline of downtown while both Los Altos and Menlo Park both have multiple monthly and weekly events to bring people downtown. What has PA done??

Nothing because the residents who'd be coming downtown to those events aren't big developers, big employers etc. on whom they've based the city economy. Now they're working tirelesssly to turn the "business tax" into one on residential utility customers by making it a two-tier ballot initiative where only aoproving the latter will restore our city services!

Some might call that "creative repositioning" while others call it a shaneless cash grab.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 25, 2022 at 6:19 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The obvious place for new housing is on El Camino - similar to Menlo Park and Redwood City. The other obvious place is in the downtown area where you already have tall buildings.
We have a major problem in that a lot of the El Camino section has SU property so it looks like we are not doing anything. SU will either build or not build - we don't control that process. However - reading part of the problem at the SU hospital is "visiting nurses". People who come in for major problems then leave. The City of Palo Alto is not responsible for providing housing for traveling nurses - that is a SU decision on hiring practices. The have ample land to build suitable housing for traveling nurses if that is how they want to operate.

We seem to end up being responsible for hiring decisions of major institutions that we have no control over. They appear to be effectively managing that situation through the local legislators. There lies part of the problem - the local legislators are tone deaf to what the residents and cities want.

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