Low-density, single-family-home zoning is effectively a ban on economically diverse communities.
Californians need more and better alternatives to cars for transportation, and easier access to walkable communities and affordable housing near mass transit. Of course, we also have to accelerate the electrification of our vehicles, another way to reduce pollution from cars. But, as the air resources board has found, electrification alone cannot happen fast enough to solve the problem, and we need to reduce the number of miles people drive by 25 percent.
In his first major speech since taking office, Gov. Gavin Newsom placed solving the housing crisis at the top of his agenda. Under his proposed budget, cities that don’t build enough housing will lose state transportation funding.
And this legislative session, a bipartisan coalition of California legislators is supporting the More Homes Act, which is sponsored by one of us (Senator Wiener). The bill would override local restrictive zoning by legalizing small to midsize apartment buildings (up to five stories) near job centers and public transportation and set minimum affordability standards for some of those units. The legislation would also help existing renters keep their homes in areas that qualify for new housing. The measures are intended to stem the growth of super-commuters — workers who are priced out of areas near their jobs and forced to drive long distances to get to work.