S.S.F. officials: Development would add to 101 congestion on 101

Traffic on U.S. Highway 101 will be made worse by the addition of a research and development park proposed for east of the highway in the short and long term, according to city staff.

Alexandria Real Estate plans to build a campus-style research and development complex on the 15-acre former Georgia Pacific site at 249 E. Grand Ave., in an area that already has several such developments. The project consists of four 3- to 5-story office buildings with a total of 534,000 square feet of office space, 5,500 square feet of retail space and a four-level parking garage.

The project, set to come before the City Council tonight, would create approximately 1,500 new jobsbut produce more than 100 average daily vehicle trips, according to city staff. Those cars will affect the evening commute at the Oyster Point/Gateway/U.S. 101 flyover and on segments of 101 between Oyster Point and East Grand Avenue, according to acting Chief Planner Susy Kalkin.

“It will add additional traffic onto 101 that is already operating at unacceptable levels,” Kalkin said.

The project also includes open space areas, pedestrian plazas and pathways linking the buildings to the parking garage. It would increase property and sales tax revenues in South San Francisco, according to city staff.

Caltrans spokeswoman Gidget Navarro said there are no feasible projects that can mitigate the traffic impact in the area affected by the project.

The city has created a transportation demand management program to find alternatives to mitigation, Kalkin said. In the case of 249 E. Grand Ave. the developers will be asked to meet a target of getting 32 percent of employees out of single-commuter vehicles and into vanpools, carpools or mass transit.

The proposed ferry terminal at Oyster Point, now in the planning stages, could also help get some employees out of cars, Kalkin said.

Because there are no mitigation possibilities for the area, the City Council will need to approve a statement of overriding considerations, saying that the benefits of the project outweigh the significant impacts, before they can approve the project.

The South San Francisco City Council meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. in its chambers at 33 Arroyo Drive.

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