The LAT does some fine reporting on SB 827, the bill that seeks to allow much more housing to be built near transit lines in California:
The impact could be huge. A Times analysis found that about 190,000 parcels in L.A. neighborhoods zoned for single-family homes are located in the “transit rich” areas identified in SB 827. Residences in those neighborhoods could eventually be replaced with buildings ranging from 45 to 85 feet, city officials say.
“While we are still evaluating the full effects of the bill, close to 50% of the city’s single-family homes would be impacted under SB 827,” said Yeghig L. Keshishian, spokesman for the Department of City Planning.
Less clear is SB 827’s effects on neighborhoods that already have apartments and condominiums. The bill could increase height limits and eliminate parking requirements in those locations, but have fewer impacts in areas such as downtown, which already allows high-density development.
I think most readers here likely agree on this: Many parts of the state have seen soaring real estate costs and there is a shortage of affordable housing. Many cities could support more density, especially near transit, but don’t.
The part where I’m guessing readers will disagree: whether single-family neighborhoods near transit should be rezoned. Before we go further, a disclosure: I’m a single-family homeowner (well, me and the bank) that might be impacted by this bill. I think it’s also safe to say that single-family homeowners and their elected officials will be taking a hard look at this bill and could help determine its fate.
The political difficulty is this: homes tend to represent peoples’ nest eggs. And there are likely a fair number of homeowners who purchased their properties without realizing their parcels be rezoned via state law and the bungalow next door could become a much bigger multi-unit building, as the LAT reports. This could, I suppose, actually increase property values because a parcel that could support (for example) 10 units is more valuable than a parcel with a single house.
Which raises the question: Are there other ways to get more housing built near transit that are perhaps more politically palatable? I live in Pasadena, where more than 2,000 units have been built nearish to the Gold Line, mostly on parcels that were formerly zoned commercial or light industrial. That’s the upside. The downside: prices in Pas are still very high.
This bill may certainly mean well. But meaning well doesn’t mean much if the bill fails to gain enough votes. Again, I repeat: I’m a single-family homeowner so I have skin in this game. What do you think about SB 827? Are single-family neighborhoods in a region such as ours a good thing? Or a relic?
The Metro Board of Directors at their meeting last Thursday asked Metro to produce a study looking at whether any Metro properties — including bus divisions and stations — had space for temporary housing as well as, reports the LAT, “showers, storage for belongings, parking lots where people could sleep in their cars overnight, or other facilities.”
This was part of a broader discussion on homelessness in our region at the meeting and the impact it’s having on transit. Click here and go to item 14 to listen. Several Board Members made it pretty clear they understand the scope of our region’s crisis and the urgent need to do something.
The video released by Tempe police last week shows the moments leading up to the fatal collision last week between the Uber test car and a woman walking a bike across a four-lane road outside of a crosswalk. The human driver — there to serve as backup to the car’s software — was looking down until it was too late. The car was in the far right lane. The woman with the bike had already crossed one lane going in the same direction although that lane was partially in the shadows.
Bloomberg says an expert it spoke to concluded a human paying attention had time to slam on the brakes and narrowly avoid a collision. Others questioned why the car’s sophisticated sensors didn’t detect the woman to at least slow the car. My hunch is different people will see the video and come to different conclusions.
Again, it bears repeating: the companies developing self-driving cars are touting safety as their primary benefit. As far as I know, none of them are saying 100 percent safe and collision-proof — and I don’t think anyone can realistically expect that. But this crash calls into question those statements and raises questions about how safe these vehicles are at this time.
Great read alert! Sunstroke! Sharks! Boredom! Lack of food! Wet clothes and rashes! All of which are part of the appeal for Aleksander Doba of Poland.
Categories: Transportation Headlines