A new report [pdf] released by the Public Policy Institute of California shows that California's housing market continues to recover from its low at the beginning of 2012. Median home values in the most populous counties have increased by 39 percent since 2012, though they remain 20 percent lower than they were at the market's peak in 2006-2007. The report also shows that the housing recovery has caused a problem for some less affluent residents, as "increasing prices place housing out of reach for many Californians." It finds that homeownership rates in California have fallen more sharply than the rest of the nation, with California falling to 53.8 percent as compared with a 64.7 percent nationwide.
Another report released by NYU's Furman Center describes the percentage changes in rental populations in major US cities from 2006 to 2013. Los Angeles and San Francisco rank among nine cities where more than 50% of the population rents, as of 2013. San Francisco scored in the top five increasing rental populations, with 22% more San Franciscans renting since 2006; Los Angeles' rental population increased by 11%.
Richmond-San Rafael Bridge closer to getting new lane, bike path
The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge near the northern end of the San Francisco Bay is one step closer to getting an extra lane of traffic and a new, separated bike path following an approval of $4.65 million for the project by a committee of the Bay Area Toll Authority. Though no structural work will be necessary on the bridge, officials say that some components on the ground will need to be adjusted on the 5.5-mile bridge to accommodate the new lanes, and they will need to reconstruct an approach on the east side of the bike path to protect bikers from traffic. The Bay Area Toll Authority hopes that the extensions will alleviate the increasing congestion on the bridge. The vote now goes to the full board of BATA for a vote on Feb. 25. Construction will not begin until 2017.
SF Proposes Development Curbs in Mission District
A San Francisco supervisor is attempting to limit, or impose a full a moratorium on, the development of market-rate development in the Mission District, one of the most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods in San Francisco. Supervisor David Campos said that he is responding to a community outcry in the district for more affordable housing. "There has been a cry from the community for the last couple years that there is a housing crisis and the projects that are in the pipeline are not responding like it is a crisis," Campos told the San Francisco Business Journal. He will likely propose legislation in the next few weeks that could attempt to either a moratorium on market-rate housing or create a special-use district near the 24th street BART. So far, about 500 housing units in the district have been approved for upcoming development by the Planning Department, but only 34 affordable units have been generated. Prop. K, due on the ballot in November, will attempt to make one-third of all units in the city affordable.
Property Owners Vote to Support Sacramento Streetcar
Two-thirds of property owners near Sacramento's proposed new streetcar line voted in favor of providing funds to help finance the $150 million project. Project advocates said that the mail-in vote - while only advisory in nature- showed that local businesses are on board with the benefits that the trolley line would bring in creating a more vibrant downtown, boosting property values, and serving as a connector between historic and commercial locations. The Federal Transit Administration is also considering funding the 3.3-mile project this year with $75 million in requested money, covering half the project's cost. In May, a an advisory ballot measure will go before 3,800 voters who live within three blocks of the project.
Chargers, Raiders Propose Shared Stadium in Carson
The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders recently made a surprise proposal to build a shared stadium in a city near Los Angeles. The teams announced that they will continue to pursue options for stadium deals in their current cities, but that they will jointly pursue the $1.7 billion stadium in Carson as an alternative. Both the Chargers and the Raiders are on year-to-year leases with their current stadiums, and both teams have shown restlessness with city reluctance to fund new stadiums with taxpayer dollars. The teams stated that they plan to launch a petition drive immediately to put the stadium to a vote of city residents.
Gold Line Authority Pushes for Extension to Montclair
The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, which is constructing Phase II of the Gold Line light rail in eastern Los Angeles County, has asked for funding for the next phase, from Azusa to Montclair. It would be the first light rail line to reach into San Bernardino County - have asked for a transfer of $33 million in sales taxes for the 12.3 mile extension. The money would come from leftover construction funds from an 11.5-mile extension from East Pasadena to the Azusa city limits, which will be completed in September. The authority says that it has already completed its Environmental Impact Report and hopes that it can get the funding to be ready for operation by 2023. Proponents say that the $1.18 billion project should undoubtedly be a priority for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, but with several other public transportation projects fighting for money, it could be difficult to get the needed funds. "I would say there is no question our project (Azusa-to-Montclair Gold Line) should be a priority. But this is a political game," Doug Tessitor from the Construction Authority Board told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.