Meeting delves into debate

It didn’t take long for San Mateo’s City Council candidates to begin interrupting each other and debating density and traffic at Tuesday night’s meeting of the 19th Avenue Park Homeowners Association.

Although the candidates aren’t running on formal slates, the forum very quickly turned into a near-argument between current officeholders John Lee and Mayor Jack Matthews and council hopefuls Anne Arnold and Bertha Sanchez, debating the direction in which the City Council has taken San Mateo in past years.

Lee and Matthews both advocate continuing the current direction of San Mateo — including high-density, transit-oriented-developments. Sanchez and Arnold, on the other hand, told the two dozen attendees they wanted to improve the city’s communication with residents and work to better deal with declining space, both in open areas and roadways around San Mateo.

Shortly after Tuesday’s meeting began, the candidates dug in on the Bay Meadows Phase II redevelopment project, the potential moving of the Hillsdale Caltrain Station and the increase in traffic and density the city faces from upcoming high-density projects, such as Delaware Place and what is now the K-Mart site, both of which are within blocks of Bay Meadows.

“I already see the change from Bay Meadows Phase I,” Sanchez said. “It’s hard to get across Delaware Street at some times of the day without getting hit or crashing.”

Arnold — a land-use attorney in San Francisco — said she questions the traffic studies performed for the entire Bay Meadows sight. Her concerns were met with nods and affirmations from the crowd, some of whom accused Matthews of “whitewashing” the traffic concerns and overlooking “dozens of problems.”

<p>The continued tension centered on the Hillsdale Avenue and U.S. Highway 101 area, regarding the under-crossings that must be built for the redevelopment to proceed. Sanchez said the installation of the under-crossings was "a big if" that they should not rely on.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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