By Paul Bendix
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About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl... (More)
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Affordable Housing ? We Can't Afford to Blow It
Uploaded: Jul 4, 2014
There's good news for Menlo Park on this, our day of independence, and it comes from the state legislature.... California raked in $872 million in cap-and-trade revenues last year. It plans to spend that money more or less in ways the state's Air Resources Board recommended. In this first year, 70% will go to transportation-related projects, including transit-oriented housing and development. The good news for Menlo Park? We can learn from what's happening statewide and see our own growth in perspective.
Recent data from Caltrans shows the varying effects of building housing within 1/4 mile of frequent public transportation. Basically, the lower the income of the household, the higher the impact of living close to transit. Affordable apartments in, say, downtown Menlo Park would achieve tremendous greenhouse gas benefits. Placing them within walking/biking distance of work would boost the payoff even more. See the recent analysis by the Center for Neighborhood Technology
In short, affordable housing benefits everyone. Based on conservative assumptions, investing just 10% of cap-and-trade revenue in California's Transit-Oriented Development Housing Program for the next three years will result in 15,000 affordable homes. That translates into 105,000,000 fewer miles of vehicle travel per year on our roads. Statewide, that's 1.58 million metric tons less of greenhouse gas pollution...and cleaner air for all.