Tell East Palo Alto to Prioritize Parks and Trails

East Palo Alto residents indicated strong support for parks and trails in a city survey. Photo credit: Imogen Brendel, flickr

On July 26, the East Palo Alto City Council will discuss which community benefits should be prioritized under the Ravenswood Business District Specific Plan (Ravenswood Plan). Recent surveys demonstrated that there is strong support among residents for parks and trails as part of the community benefits. Please use the form below to automatically email the City Council to ask them to prioritize parks and trails, along with other community benefits that received strong support.

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Community Benefits Must Be Prioritized

The Ravenswood Plan would forever change East Palo Alto. In 2013, the City Council adopted a development plan for the Ravenswood area that provided for 1.4 million square feet of commercial office space. Now, the City might double the amount of office development allowed under the Ravenswood Plan, resulting in a massive development right next to the Ravenswood Open Space Preserve and its sensitive wetlands.

The City is currently conducting an environmental analysis of the impacts of this massive development, and the draft plan is expected later this year. Meanwhile, the City is drafting a plan to require the developers to provide community benefits to help mitigate the development’s effects on local residents.

Strong Support for the Parks and Trails Residents Need

Surveys conducted by city staff have shown strong support amongst residents for the following community benefits:

  • Subsidized space for local entrepreneurs
  • Affordable housing units
  • Public parks and trails
  • Local restaurants
  • Subsidized space for local community use

The inclusion of parks and trails as a community benefit is not surprising. A neighborhood park is often the social center of a community – the place where family gatherings happen, where birthdays and special events are celebrated, and where friendships among neighbors are formed and strengthened. Parks are a place for communities to come together at a time when concerns are being raised about increasing social division.

Parks are important for other reasons too. They help:

  • increase mental and physical health
  • reduce temperatures up to 20 degrees in the summer
  • clean the air residents breathe by filtering out fine particles and absorbing harmful pollutants

City Council Must Honor the Strong Support for Parks and Trails

The City Council needs to honor the wishes of the community and prioritize parks and trails as community benefits by:

  • Including a requirement for a certain percentage of the land on each parcel to be dedicated to urban green space
  • Maintaining the target ratio of 3.9 acres of green space per 1,000 residents as set out in the 2013 Specific Plan.

What You Can Do

Please use the form below to automatically email the City Council to ask them to prioritize parks and trails, along with other community benefits that received strong support in recent surveys.

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