New Report: How New Homes Near Transit Address Climate and Affordability

Contact: Edie Irons, [email protected], 510-334-1344

(Oakland, CA) - The nonprofit advocacy organization TransForm has released a report that quantifies the climate and affordability benefits of potential future development at several BART stations, with wider implications for housing development near transit everywhere. The key strategy to ensure new housing reduces emissions and maximizes affordability: don’t overbuild parking near transit. 

The report, Measuring the Promise of Transit-Oriented Development, shows the collective benefits of hypothetical development scenarios at seven BART stations where new homes are most likely to be built on what are currently surface parking lots. Together, such development would create 4,837 new homes, 2,035 of which would be below market rate. These homes would generate two-thirds less GHG emissions than the regional average and bring 6,900 new daily BART riders to the system. On average, 90% of riders would take sustainable modes of transportation to their station, a 14% increase from pre-COVID levels. 

“Achieving these benefits for the climate, for low-income families, for transit ridership hinges on limiting replacement parking and providing new alternatives to access stations for those who currently drive alone,” said Darnell Grisby, the Executive Director of TransForm. “Everyone needs a home, not everyone needs a parking space at a BART station.”

The report also discusses the crucial role that cities and other public agencies play to ensure the best outcomes from new housing development near transit. It describes the local policies necessary to preserve existing affordable housing, prevent and mitigate displacement of residents with low incomes, and minimize gentrification. Cities and transit agencies can also enable more sustainable station access alongside new housing developments with bike lanes, pedestrian infrastructure, and convenient access by buses and other shared modes of transportation.

The report is the culmination of a two-year project, funded by a Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant, in which TransForm provided technical analysis and community engagement support to BART with a focus on proposed developments at the Lake Merritt and El Cerrito Plaza stations. TransForm’s independent report offers a range of recommendations to BART and other transit agencies with developable land near transit, as well as cities, developers, and advocates. 


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