The most closely watched midterm election since the last midterm election offered voters an opportunity to decide on matters of consequence related to land use, housing, transportation, and the environment.
It’s hard to recall a Midterm election captivating the attention of a national audience—not since the last midterm election in 2018, anyway. That election was framed in similarly apocalyptic tones as this year’s, but some of the traumas of yester-election seem to fade after a pandemic and an insurrection. Some of the traumas linger, such as the ongoing, thoroughly debunked conspiracies about the 2020 presidential election.
Most of the high fevers and lost tempers this time around are reserved for House and Senate horse-races or the extremely pressing concerns about voter suppression and gerrymandering. The national media and every pundit worthy of their armchair is making pronunciations about a failed red wave, Democratic voter turnout in Florida, and the implications of Senator-elect John Fetterman (D-Pennsylvania). Meanwhile, extremely consequential elections to determining the future of life-or-death issues like housing affordability, mobility, and greenhouse gas emissions tend to miss the public’s attention.
Not here at Planetizen.
We’ve been tracking election results as they’ve been pouring in, following through on leads generated by Yonah Freemark and the Eno Transportation Center, among others, in the days and weeks leading up to the election. So far, lessons in transit, land use, and affordable housing are harder to identify from the election results, with results on a few potentially game changing measures still up for grabs and newly elected officials likely to shift from campaigning in poetry to governing in prose. An article by Vox makes the point that the Democratic victories in the state legislatures and governors’ offices of Minnesota and Michigan mean those states can finally pass climate laws. However the scales eventually settle, election day 2022 was critical for affordable housing funding, rent control, and transportation funding. Results vary by location.
Planetizen will continue updating this post throughout the week as we encounter more election results and as more results are finalized.
Pinal County, Arizona. Early returns show the tally for Proposition 469 trailing by a few thousand votes. Proposition 469 would authorize a half-cent sales tax, expected to raise more than $1 billion over 20 years to fund projects to overhaul connections from Interstate 10 to local roadways and provide additional roadway connections to the Phoenix metro area, led by the Pinal Regional Transportation Authority.
Fresno, California. Measure C, which would extend the county’s transportation sales tax, trails the two-thirds of the vote it needs to pass, with 58 percent voter support as of this writing.
Sacramento, California. Measure A, “which would increase the countywide sales tax rate by half a percentage point to fund transportation improvement projects,” according to the Sacramento Bee, is trailing in early results.
San Francisco, California. Voters approved Measure B, which will disband the city’s Department of Sanitation and Streets.
San Francisco, California. Voters rejected Proposition I, deciding they prefer JFK Drive without cars. “With Prop. I failing, the competing Prop. J, which asked voters to affirm the supervisors’ decision to remove car traffic from JFK Drive, is essentially irrelevant,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
San Francisco, California. Proposition L, which would extend the city’s half-cent sales tax for transportation if approved with more than two-thirds of the vote, is above that threshold but still too close to call as of this writing.
Boulder, Colorado. Ballot Issue 1C, an extension of a 0.1 percent transportation sales and use tax, was approved by voters.
Denver, Colorado. Voters approved Ordinance 307, the “Denver Deserves Sidewalks” ballot initiative. The ordinance would shift the responsibility for the maintenance of sidewalks from property owners to the city government.
El Paso County, Colorado. Voters approved an extension of the sales tax to support the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority.
Hillsborough County, Florida. Voters rejected a countywide one-percent sales tax to fund transportation improvements.
Orange County, Florida. Voters rejected a “Charter County and Regional Transportation System Surtax” that would have enacted a penny-per-dollar sales tax to fund transportation improvements in the county.
Fall River, Massachusetts. Voters approved a ballot question asking whether the city should join the MBTA, allowing the city to use a South Coast Rail commuter train station under construction on Davol Street, restoring passenger rail service to Fall River for the first time since the late 1950s, with service connecting Fall River to Boston through Taunton and Middleboro.
New Bedford, Massachusetts. Voters approved a ballot question asking whether the city should join the MBTA. New Bedford is now allowed to use the forthcoming South Coast Commuter commuter rail stations at Church Street and near the Whale’s Tooth parking lot.
Macomb County, Michigan. Voters approved a 0.95-mill transit millage for a duration of five years “that is expected to raise $31.1 million in its first year for the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation,” according to the Detroit News.
Oakland County, Michigan. Voters approved a countywide transit millage, allowing the county to join the SMART regional transit system for the first time. Oakland County voters approved a 0.95-mill, 10-year property tax, according to the Detroit News.
Wayne County, Michigan. Voters endorsed a four year, 0.994-mill levy. “The tax is expected to raise $20.2 million in its first year,” according to the Detroit News.
Kansas City, Missouri. Voters approved Question 3, supporting the removal of city parkland to make space for the proposed Tiffany Springs Parkway.
Carson City, Nevada. Voters have so far supported Question 1, which would continue the city’s 5 cent per gallon tax on the sale of diesel gasoline.
Brazos County, Texas. Voters strongly approved Proposition A, a $100 million transportation bond with funding for eight transportation projects to improve and maintain roads and bridges, according to the Eagle.
Brazos County, Texas. Voters rejected Proposition B, which would have raised the cost of vehicle registration by $10 to fund projects for the county’s Regional Mobility Authority.
Lago Vista, Texas. Voters approved Proposition A, electing to continue CapMetro transit service in their city.
Manor, Texas. Voters approved Proposition A, electing to continue CapMetro transit service in their city.
State of Massachusetts. The results for Question 1, the “Fair Share Amendment” to tax millionaires and spend the money on schools and transportation, is too close to call [paywall] as of this writing.
Arlington County, Virginia. Early returns suggest strong support for a $53 million bond to fund transit improvements on the WMATA system.
Land Use, Housing, and Development
Alameda County, California. Voters approved Measure D, increasing the maximum floor area ratio of agricultural buildings in Large Parcel Agriculture areas and covered equestrian riding arenas in Large Parcel Agriculture and Resource Management areas to .025.
Alameda, California. Voters approved Measure F, raising the city’s hotel tax from 10 percent to 14 percent.
Berkeley, California. Voters fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to approve Measure L, a $650 million bond to fund affordable housing and infrastructure, financed by a property tax increase.
Berkeley, California. Measure M, a tax on vacant housing units, seems headed for approval with 61 percent of the vote as of the most recent report.
Berkeley, California. Measure N, which calls for the construction of 3,000 new units of low-income housing, is in the lead as of this writing.
Livermore, California. Voters approved Measure P, allowing an extension of sewer services beyond the South Livermore Urban Growth Boundary established by the city’s general plan, into the South Livermore Valley Area Plan Planning Area.
Los Angeles, California. Measure LH, which would “allow the development, construction or acquisition of up to 5,000 additional affordable housing units in each of the city’s 15 council districts,” took an early lead in results, but is still too soon to call.
Los Angeles, California. Measure SP, which would impose a new parcel tax of 8.4 cents per square foot on residential and commercial buildings to fund parks, the L.A. Zoo, and open spaces is running well short of the two-thirds it needs to pass.
Los Angeles, California. Measure ULA, which would “impose a tax of 4% on sales above $5 million and 5.5% on transactions above $10 million,” is ahead in early returns.
Oakland, California. Voters are so far supporting Measure U with more than the needed two-thirds of the vote. Measure U would approve an $850 million bond to fund infrastructure and affordable housing.
Pasadena, California. Measure H, which would implement rent control throughout the city, has a narrow lead, less than one percent, as of this writing.
San Francisco, California. Voters approved proposition C, creating a homelessness oversight commission.
San Francisco, California. Voters are so far rejecting Proposition E and Proposition D, both of which would require market rate developers to include affordable housing. Proposition E requires a larger number of affordable units.
San Francisco, California. Measure M, which would tax vacant homes in the city, has a 9,000-vote lead as of this writing.
State of Colorado. Proposition 123, which would establish a state affordable housing fund, is too close to call [paywall] as of this writing.
Denver, Colorado. Voters rejected Ordinance 305, which would have taxed landlords to fund tenant protection programs.
Grand Junction, Colorado. Voters rejected Measure 2C, which proposed an 8% tax per night on short-term rental businesses.
State of Louisiana. Voters approved Amendment 2, lowering property taxes for disabled veterans.
State of Louisiana. Voters rejected Amendment 6, which would have capped property assessments at 10 percent annual increases in Orleans Parish.
Portland, Maine. Voters approved Question A to require operators of short-term rentals to live within 20 miles of the city.
Portland, Maine. Voters approved Question B to reduce the number of short-term rentals allowed in the city from 400 to 250.
Portland, Maine. Voters approved Question C, implementing new tenant protections that require landlords to give 90-days notice for any lease termination.
Kansas City, Missouri. Voters approved Question 1, supporting an $80 million bond, to be spent over five years, “to reopen shuttered public pools, to fix up its 10 community centers and repair historic fountains, and to do other playground and park improvements,” according to KCUR.
Kansas City, Missouri. Voters approved Question 2, supporting a $50 million bond to fund affordable housing over the next five years.
King County, Washington. Voters approved Proposition 1, enabling a property tax levy to support the Conservation Futures program—funding to pay, finance, or refinance acquisition and preservation of: urban green spaces, natural areas, wildlife and salmon habitat, trails, river corridors, farmlands and forests.
Portland, Maine. Voters approved Question 1 to add a land acknowledgement to the city charter reading as follows: “Portland is located in the unceded territory of the Aucocisco Band of the Wabanaki, which also includes the Abenaki, Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot people. European colonizers displaced Wabanaki people by force and went on to displace and harm indigenous peoples throughout what is now Maine and the United State.”
New York City, New York. Voters approved Charter Amendment 1, adding language to the preamble of the city’s charter calling on city agencies and officials to work toward a “just and equitable” city for all and adding a land acknowledgement for Lenape tribe.
New York City, New York. Voters approved Charter Amendment 2, to create a new citywide agency and commission to craft Racial Equity Plans every two years. “A new Commission on Racial Equity appointed by city elected officials will propose priorities for the planning process, and a new office of racial equity would coordinate it,” according to Gothamist.
New York City, New York. Voters approved Charter Amendment 3, requiring the city “to create and annually measure a new ‘true cost of living’ metric, including housing, childcare, transportation, medical care, household items and other expenses,” according to the Gothamist.
Portland, Oregon. Portland voters approved the massively consequential Measure 26-228, reforming the entire structure of local government. “The proposal will end Portland’s unique approach of having individual City Council members act as administrators over the city’s many bureaus and turn most of that responsibility over to a professional city manager overseen by the mayor,” according to the Oregonian. “It will also create a 12-member City Council with three members elected from each of four large geographic districts with about the same population as Eugene or Salem.”
Climate Change and the Environment
State of California. Voters rejected Proposition 30. Proposition 30, also known as the Clean Cars and Clean Air Act, would enacted a 1.75 percent tax on income above $2 million to fund electric vehicles and fight wildfires in the state.
Boulder, Colorado. Voters approved Ballot Issue 1A to increase a countywide 0.1 percent sales and use tax to fund wildfire mitigation.
Denver, Colorado. Referred Question 2J looks like its headed for approval, allowing the city to hold on to an excess $1.3 million gathered from the city’s sales tax, approved in 2020, that raises funding for programs that fight climate change and economic disparities.
Denver, Colorado. Ordinance 306, requiring recycling and composting services in apartment complexes, restaurants, office buildings, and other businesses, looks likely to pass.
New York City, New York. Voters approved Proposal 1, enabling a $4.2 billion bond to climate resilience projects and programs including improvements for stormwater infrastructure and wastewater treatment facilities as well as investments in wetlands protections and zero-emission school buses.
State of Arkansas. Voters rejected Issue 4, legalizing the possession and use of marijuana for people over 21.
State of Maryland. Voters approved Question 4, allowing recreational use of marijuana in a state where medicinal use has been legal since 2013. “The legislation made the purchase and possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis legal for adults 21 and older, and removed criminal penalties for possession of up to 2.5 ounces. In addition, adults are allowed to grow up to two plants for personal use and gift cannabis legally,” according to Vox.
State of Missouri. Voters approved Charter Amendment 3, legalizing the possession and use of recreational marijuana for people over 21.
State of North Dakota. Voters rejected Measure No. 2, which would have legalized recreational marijuana for residents over the age of the 21.
State of South Dakota. Voters rejected Measure 27, which would have legalized recreational for residents over the age of 21.
State of Texas. Voters in five Texas cities—Denton, San Marcos, Killeen, Elgin, and Harker Heights—decriminalized the possession of marijuana. “Like Austin’s ordinance, the successful propositions establish city ordinances that end low-level enforcement, including citations and arrests for possessing less than four ounces of marijuana and related drug paraphernalia, in most cases. They also largely ban using city funds and staff to test substances for THC, the cannabis plant’s chemical that gets users high,” according to the Texas Tribune.
The Top Urban Planning Books of 2022
An annual list of the must-read books related to urban planning and its intersecting fields.
How Urban Trees Save Lives
New research shows a strong connection between a healthy urban tree canopy and lowered mortality rates.
How To End Homelessness: The Houston Model
While the numbers of unhoused people in other major U.S. cities grow, Houston has managed to effectively end veteran homelessness and house more than 26,000 people since implementing a ‘Housing First’ approach a decade ago.
New York MTA Releases Plan for Improved Accessibility
The MTA announced plans for new or improved elevators at almost two dozen stations as part of its pledge to make more of its stations fully accessible.
The Best, Worst, and Most Questionable in 2022 Architecture and Design
A list of innovative projects, intriguing design, and flummoxing failures.
Los Angeles To Phase Out Oil Drilling
The city has banned new wells and will end all extraction within two decades.
Chaddick Institute at DePaul University
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
City of Dallas
American Planning Association, Sustainable Communities Division
California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority)
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.