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California saw dense housing near transit as its future. What now?

March 30, 2020

By : politico – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO — As Californians grow accustomed to 6-foot social distancing, the coronavirus could have a chilling effect on the state’s efforts to build more apartments near public transportation to solve its housing crisis…

But the coronavirus will likely stand in the way of that momentum. Opponents of infill and transit-oriented development are blaming population density as a primary factor behind the pandemic’s spread in urban areas, largely based on New York City’s exponential increase in coronavirus cases and deaths. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo conceded as much this week when explaining why the virus has been found in 15 times as many New Yorkers as Californians so far.

“We have one of the most dense, close environments in the country,” he said Wednesday. “And that’s why the virus communicated the way it did. Our closeness makes us vulnerable.”…

For two years, battle lines have been drawn over bills by Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat. His proposals would have forced local governments to allow more housing near transit stations and office buildings, but they died under intense opposition.

California still has 30-odd bills attempting to boost housing production, including a new one by Wiener that would allow more duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes based on the size of a city. Newsom declared in his State of the State address last month he wants more housing construction “especially near transit and downtowns.”

The landscape changed overnight, however. Wiener said he fully expects opponents to invoke the coronavirus…(more)

It is time to rethink density and stop the bills in Sacramento designed to force it on communities that don’t want it. We invoke the virus and social distancing as proof that dense living is not healthy for humans.

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