San Mateo is starting several parking mitigation programs to address parking removal in North Central caused by its North Central Bike Lanes Project, with Public Works Director Azalea Mitch planning more long-term initiative efforts.
“The intent here is to continue to work long-term with the community to figure out how we can best address the parking needs, specifically the parking supply issue,” Mitch said.
North Central residents are now eligible for programs that offer driveway parking in front of homes, driveway red tipping, and disabled parking space options. For tipping, city crews can add red curbs painted on both sides of a driveway at a resident’s request to prevent others from blocking it. The city put the programs in place following complaints about cars blocking driveways. Residents who live in a single-family residence or duplex with eligible street parking can block their driveway entrance. The vehicle must be parked parallel to and in front of the driveway, with any cars blocking the sidewalk facing tickets or towing. Eligible residents can now request an on-street accessible parking space next to an ADA compliant curb ramp nearest to their address. Residents must fill out an application for the ADA program.
“We are trying to be responsive to the challenges that we heard about from the community,” Mitch said.
The city is assessing other parking options in North Central, including overnight parking lots and a permit parking program. San Mateo is exploring turning the Martin Luther King Community Center Parking lot on Monte Diablo Avenue into overnight use. The Public Works Department and the Parks and Recreation Department are coordinating options. Parks and Recreation manage the facility and have programming needs for parking, adding a layer of difficulty in finding a solution. City staff will present potential ideas about a feasible parking permit program at a community-run meeting April 13, with potential council direction in June.
“The [permit parking] program can be structured in many different ways. We want to share those ideas with the community and solicit feedback so we can decide on what type of program to proceed with,” Mitch said.
Mitch was optimistic that several effective options under consideration could work with the proper feedback and long-term planning.
“I think we can develop a feasible program. The question is, what does the community prefer,” Mitch said.
The mitigation programs are due to bike lane installations in North Central along Humboldt Street and East Poplar Avenue that removed 214 parking spaces. Bicycle lanes will be added on East Poplar Avenue from El Camino Real to North Delaware Street, North Delaware Street from East Poplar Avenue to Indian Avenue, and Humboldt Street from Peninsula Avenue to Fifth Avenue.
A bicycle boulevard would be added on Indian Avenue from Delaware Street to North Humboldt Street, Poplar Avenue from Delaware Street to Eldorado Street, and Eldorado Street from Poplar Avenue to Indian Avenue. Around 170 parking spaces will be eliminated on the west side of Humboldt Street from Peninsula Avenue to Fifth Avenue and 43 on the south side of Poplar Avenue from El Camino Real to Delaware Street. The council voted 3-2 to approve the controversial project at its Feb. 22 meeting amid public pressure for and against the project. Crews started paving the area in late February and will complete the project at the end of April.
The parking reduction led to a neighborhood campaign from some North Central residents over the past few months to stop the project. Those against it said losing parking will make it harder for people to park, particularly the elderly and people who are disabled. Residents were also concerned that it would lead to more parking issues on the surrounding streets and for those who need to park in North Central. Others were concerned about the lack of communication from the city beforehand and raised concerns about equity in infrastructure projects compared to other San Mateo neighborhoods. Residents asked for significant parking mitigation measures like parking permits due to the loss of parking. The public response led to the council prioritizing parking mitigation measures in its strategic plans and city staff direction, with the council seeking solutions this year.
The city has made more bicycle infrastructure a key priority in its bicycle master plan, which calls for improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The project would improve the city’s carbon footprint and incentivize fewer cars. By removing bicyclists from shared lanes, bicyclists and pedestrians would likely see improved safety, potentially reducing the risk and frequency of future collisions. From 2017 to 2021, there were 11 bicycle-involved collisions on the project corridor and 30 in the neighborhood.
The programs are now available following a door-to-door mailing campaign underway about the programs. Mitch said the city plans to use the project’s budget to pay for the programs. However, budgeting demands for the programs will also determine the cost and how the city will pay for it.
People can go to http://www.cityofsanmateo.org/NCParking to learn more and find application forms.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102