Neighbors fear Caltrain site revamp would smother streets

Nestled under Highway 92 in San Mateo’s industrial area is the overlooked Hayward Park Caltrain station, which handles fewer than 500 passengers a day.

But the smallest of the city’s three train stops could face a massive influx of traffic if the city approves EBL&S Development’s mixed-use project, Station Park Green, at South Delaware Street and Concar Drive.

The proposed 599 residential units, 10,000 square feet of office space and 60,000 square feet of retail space could bring more traffic than the station or area can handle.

The 12-acre site — the subject of a Planning Commission study session tonight — currently holds a Shell gas station, Kmart and Michaels, an arts and crafts store.

Unlike Hillsdale Station, which serves 1,850 departing and 1,775 arriving passengers daily on more than 75 trains, Hayward Park only sees 231 departures and 233 arrivals daily on 38 trains, said Caltrain spokesman Jonah Weinberg.

“The real issue is that some of our morning trains are very full already,” he said. “We don’t have any extra cars, but we are in the process of trying to procure eight more cars to add some capacity to some of our rush-hour trains.”

According to a report from senior planner Lisa Ring, the site — part of San Mateo’s trend toward transit-oriented developments — will include walkways and bike parking areas to encourage the use of alternative transportation.

In a letter to the city, Marla Wilson of Greenbelt Alliance, a group that advocates green developments, praised the city for the project.

“Quite simply, this project replaces undesirable development — an underutilized, big-box Kmart-anchored shopping center with gratuitous surface parking — with a vibrant new transit-oriented community,” she said.

Some residents are concerned that the nearly 600 homes will cause a surge in traffic along Delaware Avenue, which has other high-density projects in the works. Those projects include the Bay Meadows development at 25th Avenue and the proposed 111-unit Delaware Place project south of the police station.

The police station itself will also likely be developed into housing after the department moves to a new location.

“The traffic on Delaware will come through our neighborhood,” said Laurie Watanuki, of the Central Neighborhood Association. “We just don’t have that residential protection and traffic calming to address it.”

The San Mateo Planning Commission study session begins at 7:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 330 W. 20th Ave.

Development plan

Where: South Delaware Street and Concar Drive

Size: 12-acre lot

Proposed developments:

» 599 housing units

» 10,000 square feet of Class “A” office space

» 60,000 square feet of retail space» 1.9 acres of open space

– Source: City of San Mateo

jgoldman@examiner.com


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