By the Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo
When BART expanded their south-bound line to Millbrae in 2000, they estimated that 30,000 riders a day would use their services. Eighteen years later, it is clear that they were overly optimistic — only 6,000 people use the Millbrae BART station every day. This data point seems mysterious until you visit the Millbrae BART station. Surrounded by parking lots and strip malls, the biggest multi-modal transit hub on the West Coast is underperforming, due to our poor land use decisions. For most people, it’s impossible to get to and from the BART station without a car. We need to fix this.
In 2016, the BART Board of Directors voted to prioritize developing housing on their land, and to require 20% of that housing to be affordable. The 6 acres in Millbrae is the perfect site to build desperately-needed housing and to leverage our massive public investment in the BART system.
Building affordable housing at the Millbrae BART station would open up a world of opportunity for people who have been historically marginalized and shut out of affluent communities. Living at a BART station means easy access to thousands of jobs in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. It means their kids can attend excellent Millbrae schools. Building affordable housing at this particular site would be life-changing for low-income folks and their families.
The benefits of building housing at transit hubs don’t stop there. Sustainability advocates know that building housing near transit hubs reduces a family’s dependence on their car, and cuts down on greenhouse gases.
And yet, there is significant opposition to the proposal to build 80 affordable homes and 320 market-rate homes at the Millbrae BART Station. The city of Millbrae has recommended the proposal for approval, but Mayor Gina Papan has been clear that she does not support the proposal. She has spoken in favor of building destination retail at the site, with no housing. Already she has used her influence as mayor to delay the development. Now the affordable housing proposed for the site may lose $3 million in Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program funding if the council does not act soon.
Please help support affordable homes at the Millbrae BART station. Click here to sign a postcard – we’ll send it for you! Or contact Leora Tanjuatco email@example.com to get involved in the campaign.