Tonight – two important milestones in Millbrae & San Mateo, homes and businesses near Caltrain

Tonight is decision time for Millbrae Serra Station, the second good-sized transit-oriented development at the Millbrae Caltrain/BART station this month.  At the same time this evening, San Mateo Planning Commission is providing feedback on a major development with homes and retail near Hayward Park Caltrain.

Millbrae Serra Station

The Serra Station development is the second big development before City Council to approve in the last month at Millbrae’s major transportation hub served by BART, Caltrain and SamTrans, fulfilling the goals of the city’s station area plan. Council approved a development with offices, homes and retail at the station two weeks ago.

Serra Station would provide 444 homes, including 66 affordable housing units, where low-income residents are likely to own fewer cars and drive less, more than 290,000 square feet of offices and approximately 13,200 square feet of retail spaces, in the area next to Caltrain, BART and SamTrans. The project helps support workers and residents take advantage of the location to drive less, including unbundled parking; shuttles to and from elementary schools and downtown; dedicated loading zones for app-based transportation providers, and expansion of bike lanes around the project connecting to the station entrance on El Camino Real facing side.

It has been fifteen years since the opening of the Millbrae Transit Center, and the city is now moving forward to take advantage of the transit center to provide places to live, work, and shop.

The Council meeting is tonight starting at 7pm, and the agenda is here.  Click here to send a quick note to City Council, or come if you have time and aren’t at the next important meeting at the same time…


San Mateo ConCar Passage – 925 homes and retail stores near Hayward Park Caltrain

On Tuesday evening starting at 7:30 at San Mateo City Hall, the Planning Commission will be reviewing a proposal for 925 homes along with retail including Trader Joe’s, a food hall, and other services. A recent community meeting was very lively with over 100 community members, speakers supporting and opposing the ideas of adding homes near Caltrain.

The building is proposed to include 18% more parking than required for the location.  Less parking would be appropriate, but will get pushback from community members who are skeptical residents will take advantage of car-light lifestyles, despite the high use of transit at nearby Bay Meadows.

Providing “unbundled parking” – residents have to pay extra for parking spaces – would be a very good idea to avoid incentivizing more driving than needed, as would a parking permit program making sure that nearby residents are not negatively affected.

The building is proposed to have 73 affordable units at the deepest level of affordability. Supporters of affordable housing will be asking for more affordable homes, parking that’s appropriate for the location near jobs, services and transit.

Staff is asking planning commission to weigh in on site plan, including open space and connections to transit, building design and building form, including pedestrian and bicycle connectivity.   Are there improvements you’d like to see from that site to Caltrain and other destinations? It would be helpful to share.

They will also be keeping track of general public feedback.  It will also be important to have people there with basic support, since there are people in opposition, and the mix of planning commission comments are reported to Council.

If you are interested in homes and services near Caltrain and jobs, and are in or near City of San Mateo, come if you can, or send a quick note to Planning Commission, PlanningCommission
.   The staff report is here for reference.


A recent great example of successful infill development near transit is the report from Redwood City, where the offices and homes in the downtown area, near the transit center, restaurants and stores, show much less driving – about half of workers, and slightly less than have of residents commute without driving, in a walkable place, with jobs, homes services and transit.

Will Millbrae and San Mateo continue this direction? Send quick notes if you have a moment, and if you are nearby, come if you can.