A narrow win for SMC Measure W, a big win for sustainable transportation

A few more votes remain to be counted as of afternoon November 27, but passage of San Mateo County Measure W is a mathematical certainty.  As of this writing, the measure has 66.85% of the votes cast, and there are about 500 votes outstanding according to the office of the Registrar of Voters. In the unlikely event that all of those voters had voted no, there would still be enough yes votes for passage.

The passage of Measure W will enable improvements to bus and rail service, and safe infrastructure for walking and bicycling – 65% of the measure’s spending will go directly toward transit and active transportation.

Plus, the roadway spending categories will have a “complete streets” requirement that will make streets and highways safer for people walking and bicycling in addition to driving; and can be used for programs to move more people in fewer cars.  And community stakeholders will participate in the process of finalizing the rules for those principles to apply to the spending of funds raised by the ballot measure.

The spending plan’s strengths in transit and active transportation were shaped by a diverse coalition of stakeholders, with groups focusing sustainable transportation, social equity; and the grassroots coalition generated well over 100 volunteers who reached tens of thousands of voters during the later weeks of the campaign, likely contributing to the wave of Measure W supporters among late voters.

The grassroots efforts complemented a campaign supported by many San Mateo County political leaders and business leaders.


The Measure W victory along with the resounding defeat of Proposition 6 – and the coalitions that supported them – are a great foundation for next steps to secure stable funding for Caltrain in the coming years, and potentially to craft and pass a regional “Megameasure” on the scale of Seattle and LA to dramatically improve an integrated Bay Area regional transit network.

Stay tuned for information about more opportunities to participate.