Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 27, 2018

*Extremely Snape voice* Obviously

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

Oh look.  Yet another study that rejects the argument straight from the gut of so many Alamedans, from the East Bay Times:

Study: Lack of housing means more traffic, not less

This CityMaus Tumblr highlighted all the key parts to the report itself if you want to mosey over there.  But from the East Bay Times:

A new report by housing and transit advocates finds the rejection of new housing developments in the county has led to more, not less, congestion as workers move farther away to find affordable housing. One new home was built in San Mateo County for every 19 jobs created between 2010 and 2015.

Many cities and their residents have fought new development because they are “really concerned about traffic,” said Evelyn Stivers, executive director of the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo. But, she added, “not building housing really causes traffic problems.

Stivers said the the housing shortage threatens to cripple local businesses. Small, downtown shops and restaurants struggle to keep workers, and some have purchased apartment buildings to house their employees, Stivers said. “We’re just falling so short,” she said. “There’s an opportunity to do something better.”

The congestion has made commutes 80 percent longer since 2010, robbing workers of nearly a full work week of time stuck in traffic, according to a 2017 study by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Although the county is home to a growing number of well-paid jobs in tech, those workers are supported by many more low-paid service workers, according to the report. The county has more than 100,000 service and retail workers making less than $25,000 annually.

I don’t remember what Alameda County’s ratio of new homes built for every job added, the ratio is probably not as stark as San Mateo County, but it’s still not keeping up with demand.

I mean, we’ve all seen those maps of the hourly wage it takes to afford a two-bedroom rental around the United States, it’s not pretty.  So we can put our heads in the sand and say unhelpful things like, “well employers should pay more.”  Well of course they should, but you still want your Starbucks grande no whip half caf full caf skim and full milk latte for less than six bucks right?  If that’s the case then the baristas that serve you are always going to get the shaft.  And then more unhelpful things like “we should only build low income housing and if we don’t do that nothing else can be built.”  Well great, that just means that all the people with huge wads of cash will be able to pluck up all the, what should be, affordable units and then push out people who would typically be able to afford that unit.

Psst, FYI, Paul Foreman.  These are the kinds of things that Angela was referring to when she wrote that ACT doesn’t look outside of its closed information loop to understand the plight of people outside of its group.

TL;dr: you’re complaining about traffic?  The solution: build more housing closer to job centers rather than making people commute from Manteca or Gilroy because they can’t afford the closer in the Bay Area.

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13 Comments »

  1. Thanks for the FYI. You and many others assume that ACT is against building more housing which is not the case.
    There is a real housing crises, especially for those who don’t have the income to afford market rate housing. However history is replete with instances where we respond to one crises by creating a worse crises. I summarized my position and that of many members of ACT in my response to Angela in your June 25 posting and reprint it below

    Angela, I was not part of ACT in 2014-into early 2015. Since then the only project that I recall that we have really actively opposed in concept is Encinal Terminals. However we do oppose the formula used to compute maximum units for the MX projects and believe it is not in conformance with our zoning ordinances and is not mandated by state law. We do not believe that the developer should get credit for acreage not dedicated to residential use, Thus the max units for an MX project that is 10 acres residential and 10 acres commercial with 15% affordable housing should be 360 units (10 X 36), not 720 units (20 X 36).

    We also believe that all residential developments should be required to have a CFD (Community Financing District) where home owners have a special annual assessment to cover police and fire protection that their standard property taxes do not cover. These CFD’s are required of Bayport, Alameda Landing and Alameda Point. Why are all of the current developers being left off the hook? If this continues our entire city budget will be devoured by police and fire costs.

    We also think that there needs to be much more traffic planning, based on the assumption, that regardless of how much public transportation is provided, traffic flow is already a problem and could reach the point of strangulation.

    If you have read my article at https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2018/06/07/alamedas-housing-development-plans-now-not-states-fault/ you know that I think that the City’s current 15% inclusionary rate is counter-productive in producing affordable housing and needs to increase, even at the cost of allowing more density due to the density bonus increase.

    Is there a project I like? Absolutely! Site A should be the model for all future projects. It has a 25% inclusionary rate and has a CFD provision, so it provides both affordable housing and financial sustainability for the City. Also it is an argument against those who think that such requirements will never be accepted by developers. It has had its problems getting off the ground, not related to these requirements, but to properly sequencing the infrastructure improvements with both market rate and affordable housing.

    Comment by Paul Foreman — June 27, 2018 @ 10:29 am

    • The problem is ACT doesn’t really have an agreed set of policies. Your personal support for housing is wonderful, Paul but other leaders of ACT have and continue to take public stands against any additional housing – affordable or not. So which ACT should we believe? the first act or the second act?

      Comment by notadave — June 27, 2018 @ 11:33 am

      • We have at least 75 members and I cannot account for each of their views. Our official views are expressed in emails and public statements that ACT sends to Council and articles and letters in the newspaper that are submitted in the name of our organization. All of these are available to the public. That is the ACT you should be following.

        Comment by Paul S Foreman — June 27, 2018 @ 12:39 pm

        • Mr. Foreman, can you give 1 example of a letter in support of housing that has been made as an official statement of ACT?, also who are the designated leaders of ACT? is it you? Lisa Brown? Gretchen Lipow? How is membership defined? Teh questions, they could keep coming, and unfortunately may have to since ACT isn’t too big on self transparency.

          Comment by notadave — June 27, 2018 @ 4:20 pm

        • Notadave, I have to consider the source of your criticism of ACTs lack of transparency. You hide behind a pen name! I am going to answer some of your current questions, but I am certainly not going to promise to respond to your promised follow up questions. We have no obligation to respond to anyone other than our members.

          ACT’s governing group is a Steering Committee. It consists of myself, Gretchen Lipow, Patsy Baer, Kathleen Schumacher, Mark Greenside, and Janet Gibson. Anyone can become a member by paying the $20 membership fee. The full membership meets at least 4 times a year. As to your request for copies of some of our position papers, we do not keep an archive of those. I am not going to devote time to researching it.

          Comment by Paul S Foreman — June 28, 2018 @ 9:45 am

        • Thanks for your response Paul, I’m not organizing a group to promote transparency in government, so its ok if I use a pen name. You on the other hand are attempting to organize a group that promotes “decisions based upon a clear understanding of all of the options” How do I know what my options are if I can’t get information about your organization. I find it amazing, and unique that you choose not to provide a repository/space where someone like me can go to learn more about the track record of your organization. But since you state you have no obligation to inform me about ACT, i guess I’m not part of your tent, whoever big or small.

          Comment by notadave — June 28, 2018 @ 12:14 pm

        • Notadave, I did not mean to imply that I would not answer any general questions, but you were implying an endless list. In any event, our website is down, but I have found an archived version which you can find at https://web.archive.org/web/20180413041755/alamedacitizenstaskforce.org/blog#content It is devoid of images or proper formatting but all of the links appear to work, so you can learn a lot about us at this site. Again, it is not current, but I hope it will provide a lot of what you seek. If you have questions after going through the site, I will try to respond to any reasonable request. I am sorry if I was a little brusque. As you might imagine, I have been under a lot of stress non-stop for the past week or so.

          Comment by Paul S Foreman — June 28, 2018 @ 3:09 pm

      • sorry Mr. Foreman but I and many, many others just don’t believe that ACT is in favor of building more housing. notadave, I don’t believe the first or second act.

        Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — June 27, 2018 @ 3:53 pm

  2. War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength.’(Building more housing and increasing the population of an island will reduce traffic)

    George Orwell, 1984

    Comment by Nowyouknow — June 27, 2018 @ 12:04 pm

    • Did you read the study? Or you just going with your gut?

      Comment by Lauren Do — June 27, 2018 @ 12:05 pm

      • I read the linked article. Another study by TransForm, the company john Knox White worked for the whole time he was appointed to the Transportation Commission. An egregious conflict of interest appointment if there ever was one. TransForm is a “non-profit” that exists to craft studies that push the “force everyone out of their cars and damn the disabled” agenda. Any study by TransForm automatically has a bias.
        And the study is funded by…Facebook! [aka the tech oligarchy]

        Comment by vigi — June 29, 2018 @ 9:21 am

        • If this study has any value, it is limited to [as it should be] San Mateo County, which has both the abundance of tech jobs AND the abundance of land for residential development. Of course, you might have to break up a few multiacre private estates to get at that land. Some of those estates no doubt belong to the same tech oligarchs pushing the YIMBY agenda.

          Nothing in this study justifies densifying housing in the City of Alameda. Alamedans would still have to commute to those off-island tech jobs.

          Comment by vigi — June 29, 2018 @ 9:37 am

  3. If you want to reduce traffic in the Webster Tube, build a grocery store in west Oakland.

    Comment by Gerard L. — June 27, 2018 @ 4:39 pm


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