Peninsula growth prompts congestion woes

Expected growth in South San Francisco and Brisbane has caught the eye of state legislators concerned about additional congestion inthe U.S. Highway 101 corridor.

The two north San Mateo County cities could potentially see 10,000 more workers coming from throughout the Bay Area in the next 10 years thanks to expanding biotechnology companies and new development.

The area is also attracting business away from San Francisco — South City has a task force dedicated to the effort — due in part to its cheaper land prices and proximity to San Francisco International Airport.

The expansion of biotech giant Genentech and the development of the 660-acre Baylands in Brisbane appear to be fueling the concern of the impact on U.S. 101 and the surrounding infrastructure.

In the next 10 years, Genentech will nearly double its size to 5,937,000 square feet and add an estimated 6,000 workers to the 8,200 that work there now. The trouble is that only 5 percent of Genentech employees live in South City, putting a number of them on U.S. Highway 101.

In addition, a huge, 800-unit resort/condominium unit could join a new 500,000-square-foot biotechnology park at Sierra Point in Brisbane. The city is also reviewing a draft plan from Universal Paragon Corp. for 300 acres in the Baylands to have commercial, office space, restaurant/retail and open space.

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, was named chair of the Select Committee on Bay Area Sustainable Development and Economic Progress to highlight the problem that additional workers pose for the highway.

“The thought of having another 5,000-10,000 people using 101 to get into Brisbane and South San Francisco is an absolute nightmare,” Yee said.

According to data from the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, traffic congestion is expected to dramatically worsen leading up to 2030. The number of commuters in San Mateo County should increase to 172,468 from its 2000total of 146,163.

Yee said the “least controversial” alternative is a “robust ferry system.” A $50 million South San Francisco ferry terminal at Oyster Point is expected to come on line in 2008. The new ferry stop is expected to alleviate some congestion along U.S. 101.

Legislative staff is beginning the fact-finding process on potential impacts and solutions and a hearing is expected in the fall, Yee said.

dsmith@examiner.com  


Cars on U.S. 101

Per average weekday

1985: 140,000

2000: 236,400

2003: 211,000

2030:* 328,700

* Projected

Source: Caltrans, MTC

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