Housing and transportation are two of the largest household expenses, and we had a full house at our Indicators Report Launch event centered on housing and transportation solutions. We shared our newest research and welcomed an expert panel representing local government, businesses, and advocacy groups. Speakers shared ideas to bring communities to together to collaborate on housing and transportation solutions.
Peggy Jensen, Deputy County Manager, San Mateo County summarized the findings of the county’s Jobs-housing taskforce: the biggest hurdles in the housing crunch are the lack of land, funding, and public support for new housing. Because over 2/3 of housing stock in the county are single family homes, there is huge potential for constructing second units that increase housing capacity in areas that already have supportive infrastructure in place. There are 14,000 sites suitable for second unit construction in the unincorporated areas of the county alone, and recently enacted state laws decrease barriers to construction of secondary units. To raise awareness about the many solutions to housing challenges, the taskforce produced the Home For All website.
Isabella Chu, Founder, Redwood City Forward is determined to promote evidence based land use policies and prioritize humans over cars. Reforms in parking requirement policy point to land that could be utilized for homes, but is instead devoted to parking and effectively subsidizes driving. Increasing housing density through infill development enables walkable neighborhoods that reduce reliance on cars.
Don Cecil, spokesman for Peninsula Mobility Group of SAMCEDA discussed transportation solutions that help the workforce commute more efficiently, such as express bus transit, additional HOV lanes, and shuttles. Transportation improvements require public support and collective action that span multiple jurisdictions. There is potential to modernize the our current model of civic engagement through digital participation, but in the mean time residents can sign-up for our city council email list, show up to meetings, and help shape the future of transportation.
Seamus Murphy, SSMC Board Member, Chief Communications Officer for SamTrans, and panel moderator, explained how various local leaders and agencies won federal funding for Caltrain electrification as part of a 9 party funding agreement. Electrification will enhance service, reduce GHG emissions, and encourage development in proximity to stations. The audience asked about opportunities to enhance east-west transit in addition to Caltrain improvements. Though local bus ridership has declined, SamTrans is working to refine bus routes to retain core customers like students and seniors and pilot on-demand bus service to increase convenience.
We deeply appreciate the contributions of all our volunteers, donors, program sponsors, SSMC members, and the Redwood City Library.
Big thanks our event sponsors Catered Too!, Commute.org, and the San Mateo County Spare the Air Resource Team! And to our favorite videographer, Rick Bacigalupi of BaciPix, who captured the event on video.
Introduction from SSMC Executive Director, Adrienne Etherton
Indicators Updates from SSMC Program Manager, Flora Kaplan
Housing and Transportation Solutions Panel:
- MODERATOR: Seamus Murphy, Chief Communications Officer, SamTrans
- Don Cecil, SAMCEDA and Peninsula Mobility Group
- Isabella Chu, Founder, Redwood City Forward
- Peggy Jensen, Deputy County Manager, San Mateo County