By Nina Rizzo Submitted: 04/23/2020
Affordable housing and accessible, equitable transportation options are at the heart of so many crises that our communities face across the region and state. That’s as true as ever during the era of the coronavirus. There’s a lot of urgent work to do on those topics, but we want to share good news when it happens: a 358-unit affordable housing development right near a major transit hub in San Jose is moving forward, and it’s the first fully affordable project to earn GreenTRIP Platinum Certification.
Our GreenTRIP Certification program recognizes multi-family developments that right-size parking and provide transportation alternatives for residents. Platinum Certification goes beyond standard GreenTRIP Certification by requiring developers to expand their traffic reduction strategies, working from a menu with over 20 different options. The standard GreenTRIP transit passes and car-sharing options are still expected, but Platinum goes further. From bus shelter improvements to bike fix-it stations, Platinum Certified projects offer a comprehensive suite of amenities to tempt residents out of cars and onto transit, bike paths and sidewalks.
The McEvoy and Dupont Apartments are being built by First Community Housing, an affordable housing developer based in San Jose that has Portfolio GreenTRIP Certification (that means all of their projects achieve GreenTRIP Certification. The 358-unit project was unanimously approved by the City in January 2020. With the first affordable housing project to receive Platinum level GreenTRIP Certification, the McEvoy and Dupont Apartments join only four other Platinum projects, which are all market-rate developments.
This project is within a half mile of Diridon station, which includes Amtrak, Caltrain, Altamont Corridor Express, VTA light rail and buses, and eventually BART and High-Speed Rail. Residents will drive 76% less than the regional average and emit 68% fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
First Community Housing will provide the following transportation benefits, valued at more than $5,001 per unit, for at least 40 years:
Free VTA transit passes
1 long term bike parking space
$100 Clipper cash per unit per year
Free bike share memberships for the first year
Bike repair station on site
Transit info screen with real-time arrivals of nearby travel options in the lobby
Education on travel options, including an annual transportation fair and knowledgeable on-site staff
Affordable GreenTRIP projects are a climate and equity solution
Locating affordable housing near transit is important not only to provide low-income people better access to less expensive ways to get around, it is also a key strategy to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from traffic and urban sprawl.
We’ve done the research to prove this. In collaboration with the California Housing Partnership Corporation and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, we analyzed data from Caltrans’ California Household Travel Survey for our report, Why Creating and Preserving Affordable Homes Near Transit is a Highly Effective Climate Protection Strategy.
The report showed that higher Income households drive more than twice as many miles and own more than twice as many vehicles as Extremely Low-Income households living within a quarter-mile of frequent transit. And lower income households drive less and use transit more regardless of whether they live in a transit-oriented neighborhood or not. If they live within a quarter-mile of frequent transit, they will drive up to 50% less; if within a half-mile, they’ll drive 25-30% fewer miles.
Our report supported the creation of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program in 2014, which remains the state of California’s largest investment in affordable homes.
Bring GreenTRIP benefits to your neighborhood
The McEvoy and Dupont Apartments are part of a family of GreenTRIP Certified projects. Since the program started in 2008, TransForm has worked with 33 housing developers in 24 cities to certify 55 projects that have leveraged more than $26 million in private investment for public transit across the Bay Area. These projects total 9,131 units of housing, 3,703 of which are affordable.
GreenTRIP Certification is powered in part by a free online tool, GreenTRIP Connect, that instantly calculates reductions in parking demand, driving and greenhouse gas emissions. It is the only tool of its kind that was developed with the community in mind--so that anyone could easily learn to use it to help advocate for more affordable housing in their city.