Redwood City sustainable transpo updates: El Camino, grade seps, affordable housing

Here are three updates from late in 2017 relating to Caltrain and sustainable transportation in Redwood City. The grade separation, affordable housing, and more details about bike and pedestrian safety will come back for more review and participation…

El Camino Real Bike Lanes.  Before the holiday break, you might have seen that Redwood City City Council approved the El Camino Real Corridor Plan, including direction for protected bike lanes on ECR, and other changes to improve pedestrian safety, public space, and affordable housing.  Here is the writeup from Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition.

Whipple grade separation. Also, in November, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority allocated $750K of transportation sales tax funds to study grade separation options where Caltrain crosses Whipple in Redwood City.   A grade separation would will make a difference for safety and cross-town access in Redwood City, and have the potential to support more Caltrain capacity longterm. There is likely to be a community process to assess various options.

Affordable housing. Lastly, on Monday, December 18, the City Council gave direction to to staff to assess the level of affordable housing to require in rental housing. This step follows the passage of AB1505, a new law that fixes a court decision that prohibited cities from requiring a certain percentage of rental housing to be provided at below market rate. It had been ok to require condos to include a percentage affordable.

Before the new law passed, Redwood City was among several cities that had rental affordable housing targets (15% downtown) and corresponding fees, and would use these fees to negotiate with developers for affordable housing to be included in a development.   Residents of affordable housing tend to drive less than other residents, and Redwood City is already seeing downtown residents drive a rate significantly lower than in other parts of the city.