Daily News Publishes My Platform's "Walk To Work" Initiatives
Today the Los Angeles Daily News published, with a few revisions (e.g., I would never use the word "incentivize"), an essay I wrote in early March 2007 on my platform's "walk to work" initiatives. Here's the link: "Living close to job would clear traffic."
We can attack the traffic problem by amending laws that make it hard for people to find homes near their jobs.
One reason people can't find a place to live near their jobs is rent control, which effectively makes 550,000 to 620,000 apartments unavailable to commuters at any price. The result is a distorted housing market. Owners of non-rent-controlled units charge higher prices than otherwise, because they don't have to compete with the rent controlled units.
So one of my walk-to-work initiatives is to repeal rent control -- while guaranteeing 100% Section 8 housing assistance at market rates for any qualified person who is adversely affected by the repeal.
Another walk-to-work initiative is to make Proposition 13 "portable" for anyone who is moving to a home within a mile of his or her job. That way, a person who wants to sell one home to buy another, much closer to work, will not have to pay a massive tax penalty. Likewise, we should allow a first-time buyer to keep a home's existing property tax level if the home is within a mile of the buyer's workplace. This would help reduce traffic without reducing the tax revenues the properties generate.
Finally, we should provide for "instant" mixed-use zoning for the upper floors of commerical and office buildings. Owners of those buildings should be allowed to convert the upper floors to residential for people who work within a mile of the buildings.
These walk-to-work initiatives could reduce significantly the number of people stuck in traffic every day, without our having to spend billions and wait decades to build subways.