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Palo Alto's push for more housing spreads to San Antonio

Original post made on Sep 11, 2019

Facing a shortage of housing proposals, Palo Alto is now considering a move that would have been virtually unthinkable just a few years ago: allowing dense apartment buildings on San Antonio Road.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 9:02 PM

Comments (29)

Posted by Invisible Hand
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 11, 2019 at 9:05 pm

How about no?

Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 11, 2019 at 9:56 pm

More housing = more population = traffic. It's that simple.

Posted by Local
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 11, 2019 at 10:07 pm

Can we just ban all new office developments. These new jobs are causing the housing crisis as people flood into Palo Alto.

Posted by Don't be EVIL Companies
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2019 at 1:46 am

The City should be looking to convert office space into housing, and getting employers to move jobs to where the housing is, which is a much more sustainable longterm goal. The infrastructure here is maxed.

Posted by Birds
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 12, 2019 at 5:40 am

Birds is a registered user.

As said more office complexes. They are causing the problem (creating more housing demand) and using land that could be used for housing. And plenty of other areas of our state/country need more businesses. We dont.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 12, 2019 at 10:29 am

I’m not sure! I generally like this housing.
I think the devil is in the details.
It would help if Palo Alto and Mountain View would work cooperatively in that borderline and crossroads location with respect to traffic levels and flow and parking..
Nothing wrong with living in new housing in s thriving area. Meanwhile, it would be better if the cities discussed how to streamline traffic, encourage pedestrians, etc.

Posted by Parking
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2019 at 11:14 am

Where will they park? This is a car centric location. Bicycling access is poor. Transit access is worse. There is inadequate parking in the proposal for this location.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2019 at 11:18 am

Buses stuck in rush hour traffic are useless "transit". IF San Antonio is going to become devoted to housing, without some kind of real transit option for the people who live there, THEN it is going to get even more gridlock than it is already. It is irrational to deliberately create a gridlocked area like that.

Posted by sheri
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 12, 2019 at 12:03 pm

sheri is a registered user.

Get real! Charleston Shopping Center is not remotely within walking distance of this development, especially for food and pet supplies shopping. Even Costco is a bit of a stretch. Not to mention the already horrendous traffic on San Antonio.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2019 at 12:23 pm

Article: "Palo Alto's plans for San Antonio remain modest compared to Mountain View, which in the last three years has approved more than 1,000 residential units along the busy east-west artery. Even so, they represent a shift for a city that has traditionally been cautious about approving housing in areas outside the core commercial areas."

Which busy east-west artery are they referring to? Leghorn St? It is east-west, but, medium-traffic, not an artery. San Antonio is an artery, which happens to be almost north-south at that intersection. New Mtn View housing on San Antonio is a mile south on the other side of the tracks/viaduct. I'm confused about what Mountain View housing this proposal is being compared to.

In any case, this is a very car-centric location, so, I would expect one car per adult, both parking, and, traffic-wise.

"The city frequently requires developers of major projects to create transportation-demand-management (TDM) plans, which aim to steer tenants away from cars and toward modes such as transit and biking. Because of the shortage of good transit options and biking amenities in this area, such a program would have to be especially aggressive, Lauing said."

"Aggressive"? Did they really say this with a straight face? Are they going to make it illegal for residents to own cars? If they do, residents will get relatives to assume ownership under their names and park down Leghorn. This is a driving location, and, there is no feasible way to make it transit-friendly. Build it and residents will drive. Guaranteed.

Posted by Parking
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Anon is right. Has Palo Alto ever enforced a Transportation Demand Management program? Name just one that our city leaders has enforced. Are they even posted in a prominent, easy-to-find location on the city's website?

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 12, 2019 at 1:37 pm

What's next? Will the City Council propose we buy all these new residents on "car-light" private property electric chargers for another $9,000,000?

Seriously, stop allowing new offices which generate more traffic,

Posted by Don’t be EVIL Companies
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2019 at 2:32 pm


Thank you. Palo Alto should just rename planning and transportation as”department of irrational and magical thinking”.

Posted by Make a PLAN.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2019 at 2:39 pm

I'm not opposed to housing on San Antonio, but if they do this, the city MUST preserve Cubberley for public uses: schools, community center space, playing fields. We will need capacity to serve all of the new housing (3,000 units) with community services, public schools. The site is zoned for Public Facilities for good reason.

Mayor Filseth RAN on the Comp Plan. CM Cormack seems not to understand land use planning and transportation generally. Kou is interested in parking homeless people out of sight in their cars. Good grief. Let's consider all of this comprehensively. We can build housing AND maintain quality of life if we PLAN comprehensively.

Slapping housing on Cubberley and parking homeless in the baylands is short-term, easy, and foolish if we are going to build all of this housing on San Antonio. We need to work with the county to facilitate integration of affordable housing with market-rate housing. We need to PLAN where that should go. San Antonio was not identified in the updated Comp Plan for high density housing? There is no PLAN for this. Put together a BALANCED vision and plan for growth vote on it. Once approved, stay the course.

Every single member of this Council ran on strategic, comprehensive planning. Every one of them seems to have abandoned that approach. This is not good for our community. This is not good leadership. Staff should know better and so should Council.

Posted by Liz Gardner
a resident of Mayfield
on Sep 12, 2019 at 4:13 pm

Gennady, YES to housing. There is no mention in this article of what percentage is deemed affordable and what the AMI will be for this percentage. Thank you!

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 12, 2019 at 4:19 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

So let's see - housing at FRY's seems to be in limbo because that would respond to most of the requirements of the city at this time. So that conveniently creates a "dilemma" justification for all other crazy ideas. The PACC wants to stampede stupidity. Meanwhile there is the Palo Alto Business Park which has many empty buildings and a huge amount of space. No mention any where as to the options for that property. Very tiring that the PACC is manipulating the scene here.

No housing at Cubberley - that is a school that is going to be desperately needed in the immediate future - as a school. You cannot keep adding people to the scene without covering the growing population with schools and amenities.

Posted by Liz Gardner
a resident of Mayfield
on Sep 12, 2019 at 4:21 pm

Note: We must be also mindful that pushing multi family housing away from single family home owned properties with a lack of amenities is not wise for diversifying neighborhoods, our carbon footprint or our social fabric of future generations. Is San Antonia 102 unit housing project only serving giants employees like Google?? Too. Anyone who travels along Alma between Oregon and San Antonio can see how no one walks, rides bikes along there and it's pretty much where all the "poor" people are pushed to house themselves. Please urge and lure Mid-Pen, Bridge, Eden Housing along Winn Residential to develop housing here with tax incentives for the low and moderate wage earners. Let's keep it real.

Posted by I laugh at the quoted text
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 12, 2019 at 4:53 pm

" Charleston Shopping Center is not remotely within walking distance of this development, especially for food and pet supplies shopping."

The shopping center is a 0.7 mile distance from the proposed housing? Not remotely within walking distance??? Maybe to the people who oppose any and every housing development in town this is the excuse de jour. The original poster has always supported walkable neighborhoods. I wonder why she opposes this one.
It is also within walking distance of Costco and there is a small grocery store on San Antonio as well.
Plus as we all know, housing does not generate that much traffic. People go to work and then come back--not like a business where you have constant comings and goings.
Shall we try again????

Posted by Why
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 12, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Forcing out small businesses to build homes...where are the shops will be...I'm already traveling distant just for milk..traffic is bad enough..

Posted by Might As Well
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 12, 2019 at 6:41 pm

The San Antonio Road shopping district has been totally destroyed so a new housing complex won't make any difference appearance wise & at this stage of the game.

You can't go back to the way things were.

Posted by Dangerous, unpleasant, and service-free
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 12, 2019 at 9:22 pm

Dangerous, unpleasant, and service-free is a registered user.

@I laugh. Really? Would you carry your gallon of milk, half-gallon of ice cream, and frozen vegetables 0.7 miles back to your house from Piazzas, assuming you can even afford Piazzas? It is a very unpleasant walk. I've done it. It's also a dangerous bike. A kid who was obeying all the traffic rules was just run over at that intersection in the past few days. Live it before you talk it.

Posted by I laugh at the quoted text
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 13, 2019 at 6:44 am

Dangerous, unpleasant....

How would you know how "unpleasant" it is living in Palo Verde- why would you shop at Piazzas and walk with you rgroceries to a housing development that does not exist yet???? 0.7 miles is not far--for decades residents have pushed the concept of "walkable neighborhoods"-- this is a perfect example- being within walking/biking distance of shopping. I saw nothing in the news or the accident reports indicating a bicyclist was run over at that intersection. But how do you know he was "obeying all the laws"??

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2019 at 10:41 am

An aside, but, the usual radius for "local" is often given as around .5 miles/800m/10 minutes. But, a full load of groceries including frozen foods, -with ice cream- , would probably be driven by many people at that distance, especially on days when it is 94F out.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 14, 2019 at 8:32 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I drove around that CUB site yesterday and noted that the football field is under "renovation". The football field with bleachers is tucked away behind Greendell. I think we need an explanation as to what is going on there - I get he uneasy feeling that something is going very wrong there and that piece of property is being preempted for some other use. If anyone knows what is going on there then please let us know. I am sure that the residents in that neighborhood have an interest in that property. I would hate to see it torn up with no explanation as to the end use.

Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 14, 2019 at 4:40 pm

Who is "Palo Alto" in this context? Who do we fire? The City Council? The City Manager? Let's see some names of the people who are promoting development over livability in this City. Who do we hold accountable for the traffic mess? The $9 million dollars wasted on a bike boulevard that citizens had to be up in arms about to get cancelled. The mess that Charleston Ave has become?

Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 14, 2019 at 10:24 pm

I like the idea of letting high-density seep into Palo Alto where it can. We need
more non-super-rich people to balance that "Thurston Howell III" attitude we get
so often now in our fair city that used to be so down to earth. ;-)

You know ... Gilligan's Island, or am I dating myself?

Posted by I Bike
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 15, 2019 at 2:31 pm

It’s awesome to see all the back and forth about what is walkable what isn’t, with a load with or without a load. (@I laugh & @sheri and @registered)

Do you all realize how bass ackward this country is in prioritizing cars over people? I bike from my place to Safeway/BevMo/Costco/Ranch 99 a bike can get most anywhere. I use a backpack, fits on my back (two grocery bags of items). And the baskets on a bike (that I’ve seen with other cyclists) can cover almost a week’s worth of grocery.

So, if you (as an individual) prioritize walking/biking over getting in your car and you think bike/walk first, then the needed accommodations by you need to happen. As in life, nothing is handed to you, you need to go out and make it happen.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 15, 2019 at 10:12 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I used to ride a bike but at the rate we are going now I would not get on a bike on the streets in this city. I no longer trust the way the streets have been re-mapped. Closing the larger streets and reducing the lanes has shoved people onto residential streets as opposed to what was major cross streets. Just too much confusion going on the streets and people who no longer pay attention to any of the rules of the road. Businesses use residential streets as employee parking lots which reduces the road surface available. San Antonio could work if you took out the median and created more lanes. Any apartments that you build here will require parking for the residents. No excuse to do otherwise. It is mystical thinking that you assume people will use bikes. That could work at the FRY's site because you could build a major bike throughway to Gunn.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 16, 2019 at 7:19 am

Of course the city approved this project. After making Charleston into a two lane road ,there traffic mitigation consultants says now San Antonio can handle the extra traffic. The city promoted the traffic calming all in the name of safety for the students on bicycles. For such an area with highly educated people, we sure are dumb for putting these folks in charge.Remember the higher density, the higher tax revenue= more $$$ for City, county, state and Federal Government.

Folks love the Kool-aid here.

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