OP-ED: SB 827 can reduce California’s greenhouse emissions

Utilizing a car to get around the city has become a part of my weekly routine but lately it seems to be more inconvenient than rewarding.

Constant traffic congestion on streets, such as Sunset Boulevard and 19th Avenue, means that getting anywhere takes twice as long and twice the effort.

This week, the California Senate halted Sen. Scott Wiener’s transit-housing bill SB 827 in Sacramento with their vote of 6-4, preventing it from moving forward. The bill’s future is in limbo after an inability to compromise on affordable housing.

Despite the surrounding controversy, the SB 827 bill has the potential to make a positive environmental impact for the city of San Francisco and save students money.

Creating more housing near transportation stations would not only alleviate California’s housing crisis but would also help reduce greenhouse emissions.

According to the California Air Resources Board, nearly 40 percent of California’s greenhouse emissions are from transportation.

For overcrowded cities such as San Francisco, the key to creating more housing is to build up instead of out.

The amended SB 827 proposes that housing be built up to five stories high (as opposed to the previous proposal of eight) and limit some local building restrictions on housing construction near major public transit stations for the benefit of ensuring that development would continue.

It is the current prohibition of denser housing near urban areas and transit stations that have caused an urban sprawl. The closer people live to their workplace or school, the more likely they are to reduce or eliminate their greenhouse emissions.

The convenient location of this proposed housing has led critics to say that this would cause displacement in the communities and drive in more upscale housing that San Francisco has tried to avoid amid the popularity of the booming tech industry.

However, the bill would require developers to create more affordable housing units — depending on the size — and prohibit the demolition of low-income housing for upscale residences.

SB 827 could be the answer to the shortage of affordable housing for students as well as cutting down the commute times, especially for commuter students.

From a student perspective, scoping out new locations to rent is a long and tedious process that takes weeks upon months because it is difficult to find a middle ground. Costs and transit access are my top two concerns.

My solution to fighting my lack of access to public transportation has become more expensive than effective. It has also contributed to California’s high transportation greenhouse emissions.

As part of the generation that needs to take responsibility for our dire global warming problem, I see SB 827 as a way to combat greenhouse emissions in a big way.

Under SB 827 housing will become more economical, by meeting the demand for housing. SB 827 should be revived because it seeks to transform how cities like San Francisco incorporate affordable transit-accessible housing and reduce California’s greenhouse emissions.