In the Bay Area, one of the smartest choices we can make is to transform some of the vast parking lots around our transit stations into thriving neighborhoods with homes for residents across the income spectrum. This helps tackle the housing affordability crisis, increases transit ridership, and cuts our bone-crunching traffic. It also reduces sprawl pressure, ensuring residents can afford to live near transit and jobs rather than being forced to search for housing at the edges of the region.
So we’re ecstatic to report that BART—one of the largest landowners of sites for potential transit-oriented development in the Bay Area—has just approved a policy to ensure that new development includes homes for residents across the income spectrum.
We’re excited to report that on January 25 the City of Sunnyvale approved the Edwina Benner Plaza Apartments by the non-profit affordable housing developer MidPen Housing Corporation. The development—named after the local civic leader who was first female mayor in California—will provide 66 new homes for low-income residents, along with community rooms, play areas, and after-school facilities, on an underutilized 1.32-acre lot.
A recent SFGate article highlights what many in the Bay Area already know: that affordably-priced, walkable neighborhoods near decent schools are few and far between. Redfin, a real estate brokerage firm, conducted an analysis of over 170 neighborhoods in 20 cities, comparing home sales and income data with rankings from Walk Score and GreatSchools. The study showed that a mere 14% of neighborhoods across the country qualify as affordably-priced, walkable, and near decent schools.
On February 1 at a public hearing in Santa Rosa, Greenbelt Alliance joined a standing room only crowd of about 100 neighbors, advocates, and elected officials to speak out in favor of a safe at-grade crossing over the SMART tracks at Jennings Avenue for walkers and bicyclists. No one spoke against the City of Santa Rosa’s application to build the at-grade crossing.
Those of us who live in the Bay Area are lucky to have access to a 3.6 million-acre greenbelt that provides us with fresh food, clean air, and great places to hike. Greenbelt Alliance works to protect these lands from unsustainable sprawl development. But exactly what is a greenbelt?
The Bay Area has lost a legend. Sylvia McLaughlin, one of the original co-founders of Save the Bay, passed away on Tuesday. She was 99.
This year, Napa and Solano counties are moving forward on initiatives to bolster parks and open space.
The Sebastopol City Council has unanimously decided to renew its voter-approved urban growth boundary (UGB) before it expires at the end of 2016, but residents will have to help make it happen. Greenbelt Alliance is partnering with civic leaders and local organizers to finalize and pass a new urban growth boundary measure that will promote smart growth, affordable housing, and prevent sprawl for another 20 years or more.
The vulnerable residents and vast natural lands of the Sonoma Developmental Center face an uncertain future due to state plans for closing the facility within three years, an expedited move to cut costs. Greenbelt Alliance has joined with the many voices calling for the rambling state facility to be transformed instead of closed to allow for continued health care and land conservation.
The Bay Area’s housing affordability crisis has hit Oakland particularly hard. You may have heard that Oakland has the “hottest” rental market in the entire nation—yes, even ahead of San Francisco. Oakland rents have risen an astonishing 20% in just the past year. Now some help is hopefully on the way.