News

East Palo Alto to add affordable homes, new transit connections with $20M grant

Funds to be used for 91 new apartments, three zero-emissions buses

An East Palo Alto coalition will receive $20 million to add additional affordable housing units at Light Tree Apartments and expand transit services that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, the California Strategic Growth Council announced on Friday.

The funding is a result of a competitive grant application submitted through a partnership between the city of East Palo Alto, Eden Housing, EPA CAN DO and San Mateo County Transit District, which operates SamTrans.

The award includes $13.5 million in loans to develop affordable homes and $6.5 million in grants for transit and infrastructure improvements, including $2.25 million for SamTrans to add three electric buses to its fleet for a future express bus route linking East Palo Alto with the San Bruno BART station.

The money will also fund the construction of 128 new units at Light Tree Apartments at 1805 E. Bayshore Road, 14 of which will be set aside for formerly homeless people, the disabled and/or transitional-age youth. The additional units were approved by the City Council in January.

Eden Housing, which acquired Light Tree Apartments in 2001, currently has more than 200 applicants on the waiting list for an apartment, the nonprofit's President Linda Mandolin said in the statement.

East Palo Alto Mayor Lisa Gauthier was proud of the collaboration with the two nonprofits and transit district, which put together a "winning plan."

"The project will ensure that our residents have access to permanent affordable housing, and everyone in the city will benefit from the transit and infrastructure improvements. The electric buses will reduce direct pollution exposure to our residents and connect everyone to job centers and transit hubs along the Peninsula," she said in a statement.

The collaborative team's proposal scored the highest among 25 projects from 18 jurisdictions statewide through the council's Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program, which is supported through cap-and-trade revenue. The program aims to decrease the number of drivers in California by engaging them in "active transportation," such as walking, biking and using transit services, according to the Strategic Growth Council.

"We are very excited about the ways this grant will benefit residents of the City of East Palo Alto. It is critical that we continue to look for ways to link high-quality transportation and affordable housing for our residents in San Mateo County," SamTrans General Manager and CEO Jim Hartnett said in a press release.

In the press release, SamTrans Planning Director Christy Wegener added the funding will help SamTrans acquire zero-emissions buses that will run on a future express-bus route linking East Palo Alto with Redwood City, Redwood Shores, San Francisco International Airport and San Bruno BART station. The future connection, a recommendation of the agency's US-101 Express Bus Feasibility Study, will be a limited-stop service operating in part on new Highway 101 express lanes. The route will provide important local and regional connections around the Peninsula and simultaneously reduce public health concerns such as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

About $500,000 of the funds will provide Light Tree Apartments residents with up to 650 SamTrans transit passes annually for up to three years. The remaining $3.75 million will enable the city to create the first "complete green street" on Addison Avenue for 3,200 feet of safe and accessible sidewalks on Addison and Clarke avenues and up to 8.6 miles of bikeways.

---

Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2019 at 10:23 am

This has to be good news for Palo Alto as well as EPA.

We are not far from this development and it will make a difference to our perceived housing and transportation problems. We have to look beyond city and county boundaries and instead look at the radius of where people need to travel on a regular basis.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


All your news. All in one place. Every day.

After experiencing harassment, owner of Zareen's restaurants speaks out about Islamophobia, racism
By Elena Kadvany | 28 comments | 7,172 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 14 comments | 2,389 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 2,294 views

Premarital and Couples: Tips for Hearing (Listening) and Being Known
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 824 views

Is racism also a local problem?
By Diana Diamond | 23 comments | 609 views

 

Register today!

​On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More