Our favorite part of San Mateo is downtown, because it “works.”

However, incrementally approving new buildings, each with insufficient allocated parking, and without doing a cumulative impact analysis, may result in both economic and environmental ruination. (“New mixed-use development in works for downtown San Mateo,” in the Oct. 7, 2021, edition).

Five new living units is a plus, especially if at least one is low-income. However, 34,000 square feet of office space with no onsite parking is a negative, and the project needs to be redesigned on a site that can meet its own parking needs, at no cost to the city.

We live near downtown and cherish and benefit from the balance of small businesses and adequate parking provided by the city. That parking is those businesses’ lifeblood.

Each planning decision should not stand alone. Developers of the Draeger’s site, Talbot’s, etc. expect the city to accept reductions in required onsite parking, each pointing to the same limited, but balanced number of existing city-provided parking spaces. And not providing additional public parking as a community benefit.

City decision-makers must slow down this incrementalism, on behalf of the customers of our Walgreens, our post office, our medical providers and restaurants, and our smaller service businesses like cleaners, florists, our ethnic groceries, banks and bookstores.

Office development demanding over 100 off-site parking spaces destroys our delicate balance.

Moderation in all things. Our downtown is not in need of renewal, just gentle reinforcement.

Doug Handerson

San Mate

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