Cities slowly making progress

A handful of cities along El Camino are pressing ahead with efforts to revamp the state highway, but most projects are still largely in the planning stages.

While the cooperative effort known as the Grand Boulevard Initiative is several years old, it’s a vast undertaking bringing multiple agencies and governing bodies to the table. There is still more process than product, said Mike Garvey, the lead consultant to SamTrans in the effort.

Daly City has installed a lighted crosswalk at Mission Street and Alp Avenue, near their community center, and is now looking at similar projects in the area of its “Top of the Hill” transit center, City Manager Pat Martel said.

Colma is still in the planning stages for possible improvements around its BART station, said Chief Planner Andrea Ouse. Additional crossings or better-signalized crossings are being considered in that six-block area.

In conjunction with SamTrans, Millbrae is landscaping the median on El Camino Real from border to border and pushing for a signalized intersection at Victoria Avenue to provide safe pedestrian access to the BART station. The city is also working to encourage dense transit-oriented development in the station area.

Carlos de Melo, Belmont’s Community Development Manager, said the city has applied for a $1.7 million Transportation for Livable Communities grant to improve the pedestrian experience around its train station. He added that planning officials are months away from any public presentation of their plans for improvements along El Camino Real, however, because other projects are currently a higher priority.

San Carlos is still looking at ways to make the area adjacent to its train depot more of a “pedestrian amenity,” Brian Moura, the assistant city manager, said. The effort is especially important given that plans for a 319-unit mixed-use condominium project are in the works for a SamTrans-owned property at Holly Street and El Camino, next to the Caltrain station.

“There was enthusiasm in the community for this sense of making El Camino Real more of a grand boulevard,” Moura said.

Redwood City has also applied for the Livable Communities grant, to try to improve access from Sequoia High School to the downtown area, Garvey said.

dsmith@examiner.com

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