Samantha Weigel/Daily Journal
Construction and equipment on 25th Avenue in front of the San Mateo County Event Center.
Road construction on 25th Avenue in San Mateo during the busy summer fair season has some business owners frustrated while city officials say it’s a necessary part of avoiding future sewer overflow.
With the Maker Faire this weekend and the San Mateo County Fair in June, some question how limited parking and massive construction equipment lining 25th Avenue between Flores and South Delaware streets will affect the events.
The 25th Avenue Sanitary Sewer Relief Line Project involves a trenchless technique to install larger sewer pipes that would help prevent sewage overflow during storms, said Susanna Chan, deputy director of Public Works.
“We have that problem, and it’s not a secret. We, at the city, actually got a cease and desist letter from the [Regional Water Quality Control Board] that requires us to address the issues. That’s why we have a capital project to address that,” Chan said.
Construction is on track and expected to last through August, Chan said.
The city has reached out to local businesses and the affected neighborhood to try and mitigate as many concerns as it could, Chan said.
The construction primarily occurs at night and Joseph Brinzo, a certified public accountant who runs an office on 25th Avenue, said noise hasn’t been much of a problem.
Brinzo said parking in the area is already tough and for those who are handicapped, it’s even more difficult to patronize any establishment in the area. Brinzo said he can only imagine the problem will be amplified during the upcoming fairs.
“I’ve been here for a lot of fairs and if this (construction) is still going on at fair time, I think it’s going to be a bigger disruption because people park on 25th on Sunday when there’s no meter maid and there’s a lot of people walking to the fairgrounds,” Brinzo said. “A lot of people park on side streets and I think that’s going to have a big effect.”
Yet the construction seems necessary and the city did a good job reaching out and providing plenty of notice, Brinzo said.
Brinzo said, as a CPA and with tax season now over, he’s probably luckier than neighboring retailers.
Becky Wu, a hairdresser at iSalon on the corner of 25th Avenue and El Camino Real, said they’re probably losing clients.
“There’s fewer people coming because they don’t find parking. … Sometimes they don’t want to walk far away,” Wu said. “Sometimes it’s slow. Sometimes clients complain there’s no parking or too much traffic there.”
Wu said she understands the construction is purposeful, but nonetheless inconvenient.
Chunny, who didn’t want to give her last name, is a manager of the San Mateo K9 Social Club on 25th Avenue and said she fears construction will last longer than the city estimates.
“Our customers will still come in because they need (doggie) day care or they need their pets groomed. But our customers … are annoyed because they usually could park right up front and there’s been a bunch of minor fender benders and it’s just an eyesore. It’s horrible looking,” Chunny said.
The club also has a retail component that has been lacking and other businesses that rely heavily on foot traffic must be hurting, Chunny said.
“People aren’t going to want to shop or walk down the street unless they really need to come to businesses on the street. They’re not just going to stroll on by,” Chunny said.
The city rented a lot to provide public parking south of 25th Avenue on Delaware Street, Chan said. Yet some of the business owners said it’s a far walk and patrons are still discouraged.
Vanessa Payton, office manager at American Eagle Roofing on 25th Avenue, said most of the company’s work is done off site. But Payton said she often doesn’t know if she’ll be able to find parking or how long it will take.
Like the upcoming Maker Faire and San Mateo County Fair, Payton said visitors at the San Mateo County Event Center park on 25th Avenue and side streets so they don’t have to pay for parking.
Chan said city officials, police and fair organizers all worked together to plan for this summer’s events. The city ensured the work directly in front of the Event Center was finished before Maker Faire opens and agreed it would close a lane of traffic on Delaware Street between Saratoga Drive and 28th Avenue.
“One of the issues we’ve dealt with in the past is there’s a lot of pedestrian traffic, especially in front of the Event Center. It’s where they have the ticket booth, it’s also a meeting place. … So a lot of pedestrian[s] overflow into the street,” Chan said.
The 25th Avenue project is just one portion of San Mateo’s Sanitary Sewer Relief projects to connect the sewer lines to the wastewater treatment plant for both San Mateo and Foster City on the east side of Highway 101.
For more information visit cityofsanmateo.org.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106