Two years ago, Millbrae decided on a plan to transform the parking-dominated areas around the BART and Caltrain stations into a lively, mixed-use place with homes, offices, and retail. Now, the city reviewing specific development plans – will the city follow through on the vision?
If you are interested in seeing this regional transit hub develop into a place with homes, offices and stories, come to Millbrae tonight, 620 Magnolia Avenue, less than a mile from BART/Caltrain. Or contact city council, using this form.
Tonight, Millbrae City Council will review the second major development at the Millbrae Caltrain/BART station, transforming the area east of the tracks, dominated by surface parking lots, into a mixed use are with 400 homes including 80 affordable homes, ~150,000 square feet of offices, ~45,000 square feet of ground floor retail, and a 164-unit hotel.
On January 23, the Council reviewed Millbrae Serra Station, with 444 homes, 290,000 square feet of offices, and 13,200 square feet of retail on land west of the railway tracks on the site of a closed convalescent hospital and vacant land. At that meeting, many residents were concerned about the size of the proposed buildings – adding denser buildings near transit looks different from lower-density, car-oriented pattern that shaped the area’s post-war expansion.
One topic that is likely to come up this evening is vehicle parking. Overall, the development proposes 774 spaces, about 2% fewer spaces than required by the standards in the plan. The proposal makes a reasonable case that this amount of parking will serve the development well. Strategies to support access to the buildings include shared parking, where different uses use parking at different times of the day, unbundled parking for residents and office spaces where tenants can purchase as much as they need, and a transportation demand management program providing strong support for options other than solo driving.
One access challenge is Rollins Road, an important access route for people getting to and from the area with bicycles. It is proposed to be widened for vehicle access, but is only proposed to have “sharrows” instead of full bike lanes. Sharrows have been shown not to have safety benefits on larger roadways.
To share your thoughts about adding homes and a mix of uses near this major regional transit hub, come tonight to Millbrae City Hall, or contact city council, using this form.