Picture of Amy Henson

Amy Henson

Sunnyvale City Council Selects Smart Alternative For El Camino Real

For the Bay Area to thrive, we must protect our natural and agricultural landscapes and provide new homes to meet the needs of people across the income spectrum. It’s not one or the other. It’s both. That’s why your support for the right development in the right places is so critical.

The city of Sunnyvale has become ground zero for the region’s housing affordability crisis. In Sunnyvale, a two-bedroom apartment rents for over $3,200 per month. Far too many families are struggling with the burden of high housing costs and must endure ever-longer commutes to find a home they can afford. Sunnyvale has the opportunity to do better for its residents and we’re helping make it happen.

Recently, Sunnyvale took an important step to tackle the housing crisis. The city is preparing a plan for the future of El Camino Real, a four-mile corridor through town that offers one of the city’s best opportunities to create walkable, transit-friendly neighborhoods. In August, the City Council voted to accommodate 6,900 new homes along the corridor, the most homes of all the options under consideration, in its upcoming plan. The final plan is expected to be adopted in mid-2018.

Sunnyvale has more potential for infill development—development on vacant lots or leftover properties—than nearly any other city; surpassed only by the big three cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. With two Caltrain stations, light rail, and frequent bus service, it’s a perfect location to create homes and jobs near public transit.

By shaping plans like Sunnyvale’s, we’re bringing homes that people can afford to the Bay Area. Together with local resident group Livable Sunnyvale and others, we’ve been working for years to help Sunnyvale realize its potential to create affordable, sustainable homes for its residents. That includes the El Camino Real plan kick-off in 2015, and this April when over 80 community members came together at the Sunnyvale Community Center for an inspiring panel discussion with council members and residents on the future of the El Camino Real corridor.

Together with Livable Sunnyvale and other partners, we have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life in this important Bay Area city. And we’re hopeful that this experience can serve as a model of community engagement to inspire the rest of the Bay Area.

Next Steps

Although the City has reached the first milestone of selecting their “preferred alternative” for El Camino Real, the final plan won’t be passed until 2018. In the meantime, residents must continue to show their support for adding new homes for residents across the income spectrum to safeguard this victory and ensure that the final plan truly serves all of Sunnyvale.

Click here to add your voice to the many Sunnyvale residents who want to see the right development happen in the right place.

Photo: Taylor Hanigosky

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