Proposed development to be built near the under-served Hayward Park Caltrain station
SAN MATEO — A proposal to build 600 homes near the Hayward Park Caltrain station is the latest in a train of transit-focused development ideas, but neighbors fear that the station’s infrequent service will force newcomers to keep using their cars.
EBL&S Development LLC has proposed high-density housing, neighborhood retail, office space and a large public park on the 12-acre site housing the Kmart, Michael’s and Shell station at the corner of Concar Drive and Delaware Street. They’re hoping project residents and employees will use the Hayward Park station next door, but residents in the 19th Avenue Park and Sunnybrae neighborhoods, who met with developers Wednesday, said they don’t use the station now because trains run just once an hour.
With or without train service, EBL&S is required by San Mateo’s Corridor Plan, which governs development in areas close to the Hillsdale and Hayward Park Caltrain stations, to produce 25 percent fewer vehicle trips than a similar site away from transit. But many neighbors fear that new residents will bring plenty of cars with them, snarl traffic on Delaware and Highway 92 and bring overflow parking into the 19th Avenue neighborhood.
“How are you going to assure us smooth traffic, sufficient parking, and no overflow?” asked resident John Winters.
When San Mateo’s Corridor Plan was adopted in 2005, it assumed that Hillsdale Station — adjacent to the planned Bay Meadows Phase II project — would be the first to see significant transit-oriented development, according to resident Cheryl Hylton, who helped craft the plan. That station is a busy express stop for the Baby Bullet service and is slated for a major rebuild that includes several grade separations.
EBL&S’s concept, however, highlights the relatively sparse service at Hayward Park, which was reduced when Caltrain launched its Baby Bullet service last year. The station sees only a fraction of the riders at San Mateo’s other stations. On a single day, 244 riders boarded at Hayward Park, while 1,815 boarded at Hillsdale and 1,238 boarded at San Mateo, according to Caltrain spokesman Jonah Weinberg.
“Right now there’s little room for changing our schedules — the trains are booked about as tight as possible,” Weinberg said. To add service at Hayward Park, “someone would have to come to us with very compelling statistics and we’d have to have the available equipment to provide more service there.”
“We are going to need to talk to the Caltrain Joint Powers Board,” said Alan Talansky, vice president of EBL&S. Talansky suggested his firm might provide a shuttle service to take residents to another train station nearby.
The Kmart redevelopment proposal goes to the Planning Commission for a public study session Nov. 14.