Editor,

Let’s incentivize cities to get large employers to build housing instead of parking. Employers like Facebook and Genentech put in large parking lots to accommodate commuters from outside the area and then wonder why traffic has drastically increased on the freeways leading to their campuses. This is very costly to the companies and creates considerable congestion, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. 

If the employers built housing nearby rather than commuter parking this problem could be significantly reduced. They could hire architects and contractors directly to design and build the housing on their campuses or they could purchase land off-site in the local community and work with nonprofit affordable housing developers who could build the needed housing.   

Google is proposing to build housing in San Jose at the Diridon Caltrain Station. Some local colleges and schools have built teacher housing on campus. Facebook is subsidizing some housing in Menlo Park, but not enough in relation to the size of its workforce.

Every day, many of our local Peninsula cities are approving new office/R&D proposals without a plan for the new housing needed to support them. It’s time for our cities to require any new commercial developers to present a feasible plan to the city for where their new employees will live, and for the cities to reject the proposal if the plan is not adequate.

Leaving balanced development to the “market” is not a sustainable strategy.

David Crabbe

San Carlos

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(3) comments

tdonnelly

Who says the employees want to live there? Young people want to live in the City, not out in the boonies.

HFAB

Such a novel idea that housing activists on the Peninsula have been espousing for almost 10 years now. Instead, we saw big companies buy up apartment buildings that housed low-income essential workers, purging them from our community, only to fill them up with their employees.

Terence Y

Mr. Crabbe – interesting idea that brings up two thoughts… Although attempting to force businesses to build housing (not their core business and not in the interests of their shareholders) may result in them leaving the current area to find a more welcoming area without these extraneous expenses. Or, your idea may result in companies branching out to become real estate developers, or landlords, who will then sell or lease their units at market rate to anyone. After all, if your employee leaves, can you toss them out? With tenant rules these days – I’m thinking no, so it’s better to just lease to anyone, employee or not.

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