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Santa Fe Right of Way is wrong for housing, critics say

By Devona Walker, Daily Planet Staff
Monday March 18, 2002

Tomorrow the public will be given an opportunity to weigh in on Councilmember Linda Maio’s proposal to build affordable housing on the Santa Fe Right of Way. 

The proposal is adamantly opposed by the Berkeley Partners for Parks who have called it “illegal housing.” 

The proposal called for an amendment to the General Plan Open Space Policy OS-6 on March 12 — the decision to add that amendment was a 5-to-4 vote in favor of the progressives. The proposal would add to the city’s supply of affordable housing, but has many who live around the Santa Fe Right of Way concerned. 

The SFRW is a former railroad right-of-way and critics of Maio’s plan say it is ideally suited for open space, community garden and bicycle/pedestrian greenway uses. 

“This proposal allow dense public housing on the SFRW, a precious green corridor better used for a pedestrian/bicycle greenway and public open space uses,” wrote Berkeley Partners for Parks in a prepared statement. “Councilmember Maio has a vision of an asphalt pathway skirting between housing, but given that the SFRW is only 30'-40' wide where a pathway is proposed, this seems highly improbable, and even if realizable, will be more like a public sidewalk adjacent to a 40' wall then a greenway.” 

Council will discuss the SFRW tomorrow night at a public hearing.