Planning Process Started: 2012
Plan and EIR Scheduled for Adoption: Winter 2014
Campaign Team: TransForm and San Mateo County Union Community Alliance
Location on Transit Line: South San Francisco Caltrain Station

Great Communities Collaborative (GCC) funds TransForm, a transportation equity organization dedicated to creating world-class public transportation, walkable and bikeable communities; and San Mateo County Union Community Alliance (SMCUCA), a nonprofit that works to enhance the quality of life for all workers and their families in San Mateo County, by maximizing the capacity of labor and community organizations to support quality job creation, ensure community health and increase social justice.

The current South San Francisco Caltrain Station is located within the downtown specific plan area. When compared to the rest of the system, the station extremely underperforms with only 432 average weekday boardings in 2013. This ranks the South San Francisco Station 21st out of 29 stations based on ridership.

Central to the Downtown Station Area Plan (SAP) is the proposal to relocate the Caltrain Station two blocks south of its current location; an optimal alignment to increase station access westward to the main downtown street, Grand Avenue, as well as one of San Mateo County’s largest employment centers east of Highway 101. The current location severely inhibits station area access since Highway 101 ramps and overpass create difficult terrain to navigate, especially for non-motorized modes. The plan area extends approximately a half-mile radius from the new station and is bisected by Highway 101. This proposed station relocation is further complicated by preparation for future Caltrain electrification and the accommodation of California high-speed rail.

The plan area encompasses a mix of historic compact downtown commercial uses concentrated on Grand Avenue, residential development, and lower intensity industrial uses to the east of the Caltrain Station. Grand Avenue exemplifies the quintessential downtown main street, however is lacking in economic vitality. About 60% of downtown households occupy rental units, more than half of downtown residents are Latino, and a higher proportion of households with children reside in the downtown when compared citywide.

For more background, please visit TransForm’s webpage: South San Francisco GCC Campaign

The GCC Campaign

The common platform from Friends of Caltrain, Greenbelt Alliance, Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County, Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, San Mateo Building Trades Council, San Mateo County Union Community Alliance, Sheetmetal Workers Local 104, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, TransForm, The Latino Commission, and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 focuses on the following:

Greener and Healthier Development Alternatives: In the Downtown Station Area Plan, the City should commit to alternatives that decrease greenhouse gas emissions and include features that create healthier and more sustainable communities. It should create community parks, inviting open spaces, recreational facilities and wide pedestrian walkways.

Affordable Homes and Homelessness Solutions: The plan must provide incentives for non-profit housing developers and maximize low-income housing funding opportunities including low-income housing tax credits and regional grants for housing in priority development areas (PDAs).

Efficient, Affordable Public Transit with Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Options: The Caltrain Station should serve as a point of connectivity, bridging the downtown and employment center to the East of 101 with safe and attractive walkways and bike lanes. Downtown should offer a well-marked bike lane to the BART station and a network of bike lanes throughout the plan area.

Building Businesses and Creating Good Jobs in Our Community: The plan should provide hundreds of good middle class construction jobs that pay Area Standard Wages. It should have opportunities for new businesses to come into the downtown, take steps to retain existing businesses, and ensure big box stores do not displace small businesses that are the lifeblood of the local community.

Strong Community-Driven and Inclusive Process: The plan must reflect the diverse needs of the South San Francisco community and include community benefits for all, especially low-income residents and workers who stand to benefit the most from the improvements articulated by the plan. The planning process should reflect the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of the community with special effort to encourage participation by those unfamiliar with planning processes.

Current projects and status of the plan area:

July 2014 – Plan release
Winter 2014 – Final plan and EIR adoption

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