Letter of Resignation from the Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission
Kate Vershov Downing
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Thank you, Kate.

I moved out of the area to Seattle, which (despite our small size) manages to produce more new housing units than SF, San Mateo County and all of Santa Clara county combined. That development certainly doesn’t prevent price increases, but it dramatically curtails the out-of-control spiral you describe.

Every time I return to visit the Bay Area, it floors me to see the lack of new housing and development in the former railroad downtowns like Palo Alto that have strong shuttle connectivity to major tech employers (Google & Facebook) and would be great to live in without needing a car.

There is nothing sacred about the configuration of these downtowns that happened to occur in the 1980s. Even just at 3–4 story multifamily buildings, there could easily be thousands of new residents accommodated.

Instead, we get city-as-museum, as you describe — and incomprehensible narratives around a city being “full” when it’s, in fact, largely empty.