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City weighing $250,000 traffic offer

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San Mateo is offering Belmont $250,000 to counteract traffic increases associated with future development at the Bay Meadows racetrack and other sites, but some say it isn't enough.

An environmental review of San Mateo's Bay Meadows plan predicted that it, along with other proposed projects, could bring significant gridlock — including waits of more than 95 seconds — to Belmont's Ralston and El Camino Real intersection. The work required to keep traffic flowing smoothly will cost $750,000, according to a report from Public Works Director Raymond Davis.

City officials predict some drivers will use side streets like Old County Road instead, worsening traffic in nearby neighborhoods.

“I am very concerned with the effect this development will have, especially on the Sterling Downs neighborhood,” Vice Mayor Coralin Feierbach said. “I think the developer should pay for part of it, as well as the city of San Mateo.”

The Bay Meadows plan will bring housing, office space and retail to the 83.5-acre racetrack site.

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Sterling Downs residents are “not happy about” the predicted rise in traffic, according to Councilmember Bill Dickenson, who is president of that neighborhood association. San Mateo's contribution won't pay for nearly enough mitigation, Dickenson said.

However, Bay Meadows Phase II is projected to bring only 6 percent of the projected traffic increase, Davis said.

San Mateo's $250,000 offer was based on what it cost to install similar traffic-flow improvements locally, according to San Mateo Public Works Director Larry Patterson.

The Belmont City Council meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1 Twin Pines Lane.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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