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.