What will the population of Palo Alto be in 2040? 67,480? 100,000?
How many jobs will there be in Palo Alto in 2040 89,370? 118,650?
“Toward the end of the decade, the new population began to strain city services. Palo Alto installed its first parking meters along University, Hamilton and Lytton avenues. Rumors were rampant that incensed shoppers were planning to move their bank accounts to Menlo Park where one could park for free. The issue finally went to a town vote and citizens voted almost 2-1 to keep the meters.
In November 1947, a $300,000 bond issue to improve City Hall, which was located on Ramona Street behind today’s Senior Center, was rejected by the voters. The next year a special campaign was launched to inform people about the future, when the population was expected to double in 10 to 15 years. Said the mayor, a member of the South Palo Alto Civic Club: “It won’t be long before you will be the center of Palo Alto and not the south end of the city.”
Based upon the Association of Bay Area Governments, ABAG, the bay area will increase in population by 2.1 million by 2020 going from 7.2 million to 9.3 million as reported in Saturday’s Daily Post. ABAG estimates that 1.1 million jobs will added to the bay area over the next 30 years. Additionally ABAG forecasts that 29,270 jobs will be added to Palo Alto by 2040 increasing from 89,370 to 118,650. In 2010 there were 28,200 housing units in Palo Alto which equates to 3.1 workers per housing unit. ABAG is requesting that Palo Alto add 7,140 housing units to a total of 35,340 units by 2040 which equates to 3.35 workers per housing unit.
Palo Alto City Council Member Gregg Schmidt is quoted in the March 9, 2012 San Mateo Times stating, “The most basic problem is that the state is mandating communities to commit to aggressive housing growth rates now that are based on very speculative long-term assumptions.”
As reported in the Daily Post 3/10/12 Palo Alto Planning Director Curtis Williams and other officials stated that ABAG’s initial request of 12,500 additional housing units was unrealistic that the city does not have the land or infrastructure to accomplish such growth.
Yet, the city has the land and infrastructure to assimilate 29,270 new jobs? An additional 12,500 housing units would increase the total to 40,700 units which equates to 2.9 workers per housing unit.
In 2010 there were 89,370 jobs in Palo Alto yet only 28,200 housing units with an average household size of 2.41 which equates to 67,480 residents. This result means that a minimum of 21,890 people who work in Palo Alto are forced to live in other communities. Why should other communities be burdened with housing Palo Alto’s workers?
Palo Alto’s 2010 population was 64,403 people which means that 21,890 employees of Palo Alto businesses are forced to live in other cities due to a lack of housing in Palo Alto. That is 21,890 people whom the majority are burning fossil fuels to get to work every day and parking on residential streets to avoid parking violations upsetting home owners.
The limited amount of housing available to all workers forces the cost of housing up putting more of workers’ hard earned income into the hands of landlords and the state. Those workers at the bottom of the earning scale are not able to afford much of anything and have absolutely nothing to show for their hard work at the end of the year. The numbers play this out.
Numerous workers at Palo Alto’s retail outlets live in other cities handing over 60, 70 and 80 percent of their incomes just to have a roof over their heads. And this goes on year after year after year. I imagine that most of them would prefer to live closer to work in affordable housing. I imagine that the employees at Peete’s Coffee and Whole Foods and the reporters at the Daily Post would like to be able to live in Palo Alto as apposed to having to have to commute from some other city forced to park on residential streets.
The root cause as to why there are homeless people living in Palo Alto and the bay area is a result of a lack of total housing units available in each city to the number of workers in each city. This limited amount of housing causes higher rents and mortgages and taxes which results in a number of people moving into their vehicles to survive.
Palo Alto wants to punish people for trying to survive by getting into their vehicles because Palo Alto and the surrounding cities refuse to provide housing to the workers that serve them.
If Palo Alto wants to truly solve the homeless problem and people living in their cars then Palo Alto would address the problem, which is a lack of housing, a lack of living wage housing.
If Palo Alto added enough housing units to house every Palo Alto employee and every city in the bay followed suit, homelessness/vehicle dwellers would disappear on its own without having to take any other actions.
The population of California increased from 10,586,223 in 1950 to 33,871,648 in 2000 and to 37,253,956 in 2010. That totals an increase of 26,667,733 over the last 60 years and 3,382,308 over the last 10 years, not counting undocumented immigrants which would push the number higher. Based upon these rates it is reasonable to conclude that the population of Calif. will increase 10 to 13 million over the next 30 years.
The figures above clearly demonstrate that Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Williams are simply in denial over the facts of growth not wanting to upset land owners’ property values. It is this selfishness which results in ill-planned communities and societies to the detriment of the majority of workers and citizens.
Case in point, the Developers of that Lytton Gateway project put forth a 5 story building with 14 apartments that included 7 for low income tenants. On Monday 3/12/2012 the City Council of Palo Alto rejected that Plan and demanded that the housing be removed. The Lytton Gatway project is at a busing downtown corner where there are numerous buildings over 5 stories. One of which happens to be Casa Olga which is three blocks away. Casa Olga once housed a very diverse population of low income, elderly and disabled people and now will be turned into an upscale, for wealthy people, hotel.
The Lytton Gateway project and Casa Olga are choices to not to provide housing for blue collar workers, but to provide high end office space and luxury living to wealthy transients.
Mr. Williams’ and other officials’ assertion that they are not capable of providing housing for all of the workers in Palo Alto is not true. If we are creative enough and ingenious enough to send men to the moon, surely we’re capable of providing housing to everyone who works in a specific local.
The fundamental problem with a lack of housing is the type of excessively expensive housing, both homes and apartments, being built. There-in lies the problem. Communities do not want to build eco-friendly; high-density housing because the current residents are more concerned about their own property values then about the 2 million new people who need places to live.
Contrary to Mr. Williams’ and the city’s position, it’s not that he and the city are not capable of providing the housing and infrastructure, Mr. Williams and the city simply choose not to provide the housing. Had the people of Palo Alto in 1940 used Mr. Williams’ and the city’s 2012 illogical rational there could very well be only 20,000 residents in Palo Alto for there isn’t enough land or infrastructure for the additional 40,000 residents that exist today.
“In the 1930s, Palo Alto was just a sleepy little burg with fewer than 14,000 residents. By the end of 1939 that had grown to only 16,774.
Palo Alto was not a center of high finance. Rather, it was a pastoral area, with orchards to the south and farms to the east in the neighboring communities of Ravenswood and Runnymede. If you couldn’t afford to buy one of the homes (which cost about $4000), you could always rent a seven-room house near schools for about $70 a month.”
If the people of Palo Alto want to provide housing for all of its employees, then Palo Alto would find a way to build the housing for there is plenty of land and infrastructure to accommodate every worker in Palo Alto. The same goes for every city in the bay area.
As reported in the March 15, 2012 Daily Post-pg. 38, Councilman Schmid is quoted as stating that the each of the 14 units of housing axed from the Lytton Gateway project would cost $ 625,000.00 each. This just demonstrates the lack of creativity on the part of city planners and a choice to only build expensive housing for the wealthy when they could choose to build inexpensive housing for the people who work at Peet’s Coffee, Whole Foods and the Daily Post. Based upon two eco-freindly building methods, the 14 units could cost anywhere from $ 20,000.00 to $50,000.00 per unit which brings the total cost down to $280,000.00 to $700,000.00 for the 14 units as apposed to $8,750,000 that was proposed. Or better yet, that 8.75 million could build 175 to 437 living units in Palo Alto for full-time employed adults.
Just about any male and most females over the age of 16 have the ability to build a safe and sanitary permanent living structure with-in a few months. As such an adult’s permanent single abode should never cost more than one years work or 2,000 hours, anything beyond that is exploitation. Anything beyond that, is not free-market capitalism, but a form of land owner socialism.
If Palo Alto can get away with using the excuse of not to provide housing, “we don’t have enough land or infrastructure” then all of the other cities in the bay area can get away with using the same excuse and absolutely no housing will be built for the 2 million new people.
Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Williams, “if you and the other bay area cities are not going to build housing for the 2.1 million new people, where do you expect them to live if you’re not going to allow them to live in their vehicles, detention camps, prison?
What is interesting is that most of you who are dictating to others how and where they can live are in your late fifties or older won’t be around in 2040 to see your work for you will be dead due to old age
The true cause of vehicle dwellers is a lack of housing, all housing. And instead of addressing the cause of homelessness and vehicle dwellers by applying the one solution that would work , the City of Palo Alto, society, criminalizes the result of a lack of housing.