Hilbert Morales | EL OBSERVADOR
Photo Credit: Unsplash

On January 14 Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously supported Supervisor Joe Simitian’s proposal to expand the County’s safe parking programs more feasible and effective.

EO’s thoughtful analysis results in the following comments:

1) What data is available? 2) What is the requirement by community? 3) What will it take to establish housing construction financing programs? 4) Who can influence to suggest to local corporations that they accept spreading their facilities in several communities?

There is a need for regional facility planning for several functions: manufacturing space; management office space; commercial retail centers, and housing developments (which include community centers and public-school sites. And hopefully a County Traffic Office is involved to ensure that public transit, bus routes, and roadways can be installed, operated and maintained.

The current need for safe parking is a direct indicator of the lack of affordable housing for the wage-earning working class. I observe that companies always seem to have adequate parking for their employees.

When I am informed that families end up sleeping in their vehicles, that indicates that local wages are too low. Firms such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google could have their facilities located in several communities rather than in a single industrial community.

Is any one authority issuing permits which inform a jurisdiction that an additional office center or manufacturing plant is being proposed. Zoning helps utilities to locate their services appropriately. Is the County monitoring all jurisdictions which issue building and construction permits?

Major landowners (i.e., Stanford University with its 8,000 acres of land recently removed its facility planning from public overview by the County.

Downtown San Jose has recently experienced the construction of several multi-storied buildings which reveal the growth and expansion of businesses. What can be done to meet needs for housing and parking?

One idea is to begin placement of both residential and commercial developments all along the Cal-Trans railroad line from San Francisco all the way down to Gilroy and beyond to Hollister. By spreading out developments along this main transit line, property values will remain modest and affordable.

The need for safe parking may be an indicator of an affordable housing shortage; or the lack of community development planning. These are several indicators of local need.

The lack of safe parking is the main indicator of the reality that today too many individuals commute up to two hours to get to their jobs. Company leaders need to consider not concentrating their corporate facilities all a single location. That approach may be the beginning of creating the gridlocks now being experienced. I personally make a game out of watching for indicators…and the need for safe parking is one such indicator.

Take time this 3-day Martin Luther King Memorial Weekend to consider his efforts to achieve social and economic justice. Both issues still need much developmental work.