Before Jane Brennan sunk $250,000 into remodeling her San Mateo home last year, she asked city officials if they were planning anything that might affect the character of her neighborhood. They said no.
Several months later, she was infuriated to learn that the city was considering turning her quiet, residential street into a truck route.
“It’s terrible,” she said. “We have small children on our street. And now they’re turning it into a truck route?”
Brennan’s street is one of about 30 San Mateo roads that may be newly designated truck routes if the City Council approves a proposal by the city’s Public Works Department.
Some of the proposed routes would flow on major arteries in commercial areas, such as Mariners Island and Hillsdale boulevards. Others, however, would run on wide streets in residential and downtown neighborhoods. Some would pass right next to public schools, including Fiesta Gardens International School and Sunnybrae Elementary School.
The city’s outdated truck routes are badly in need of updating and streamlining, according to a truck route study commissioned by Public Works.
Only a handful of major arteries officially allow truck traffic. But because those rules are not enforced and the routes are not signed properly, trucks freely travel in the city, the report states.
But expanding the truck routes is not a simple task, the report indicates: Large trucks bring noise, traffic and road damage. The report cites research showing that one 80,000-pound, five-axle truck causes pavement damage equivalent to 9,600 cars. San Mateo also has several bridges that won’t support truck weights, and other overpasses that are too short for some trucks.
To keep such damage and danger to a minimum, Public Works is recommending that all truck routes be consistently marked with signs, and that the San Mateo Police Department help ensure that designated truck routes are enforced.
The truck-route study, which recommended the expanded routes, was presented to the Public Works Commission in October and again this month. Both presentations were met with concerns by residents who did not want large, noisy trucks on their streets.
Feinman said the commission will move forward on the issue because the city’s truck routes haven’t been revised in years, while the truck traffic flowing through the city has multiplied. The proposal will be considered by the commission again Feb. 8.