Cc Legacy Partners,
Cc San Carlos City Council,
Cc San Carlos City Staff,
Concerning: San Carlos Transit Village Project
Based on the consistent input from many Greater East San Carlos (Laureola) residents, meeting with San Carlos City Staff and City Council members as well as discussions with SamTrans and Legacy Staff, the GESC board is requesting that the following be solved prior to the approval of the San Carlos Transit Village (SCTV) Project, or have a solution in process with a defined timeline for solving the concerns. We have tried to break down the issues by whom we consider the appropriate parties to work on the problems, which entity should take the lead and also to offer ideas to establish realistic solutions as well. We are asking SamTrans for a meeting with their staff and our elected officials to discuss these issues.
1) Height – Legacy (Lead), SamTrans, GESC
Height is by far recognized as the biggest issue for the neighborhood as it will impact our quality of life. After acknowledging that Legacy has made some changes to the development, the feeling is that Legacy has not addressed the height issue in any substantive way; therefore we propose meeting with Legacy to explore ways of reducing the height while maintaining or slightly reducing the desired density. This should be a working session where all involved should bring ideas about how to accomplish this goal.
2) Parking Problems – San Carlos City Staff (Lead), SamTrans, GESC
Find a way to solve parking problems throughout the GESC (Laureola) neighborhood created by raising the tracks and the removal of existing free parking on Old County. Given the existing parking problems, the failure to solve those for the past 10 years and that once the project is built we will have little recourse to solve any parking problems that develop, we need to solve existing parking conflicts and plan for those that might arise after the project is approved. This can be accomplished through the use of residential parking stickers, permit parking, signage and enforcement. The new SCTV must include adequate parking for the cars now being parked in the neighborhood and future anticipated increases in CalTrain ridership. There is also a concern that current parking for the retail/office buildings and plaza maybe inadequate.
3) Noise Problems – SamTrans (lead), San Carlos City Staff,
Need for a mitigation plan for the increase in existing noise due to the raising of the Berm as well as a plan for the expected increase in noise from the planned project. The neighborhood expects to see a plan that involves ways to decrease noise from passing trains for residents enjoying their yards (i.e. if electrification, a defined timetable when this will occur, and the impact of the electrical lines should be addressed). Also since there is a real potential for the future high-speed train (land is being set aside to plan for this), the cumulative effect of any possible future high-speed train noise will also have to be included in the EIR. To see an example of a successful noise impact mediation program we suggest contacting Dave Carbone with the Airport Community Roundtable who works on noise mitigation of homes and businesses around the San Francisco Airport. Mr. Carbone can be reached at 650/363-4417.
4) Landscaping Plan (Urban Forest) – Legacy (Lead), SamTrans, San Carlos City Staff, GESC
Creating multiple layers of landscaping between the project and the neighborhood. The first layer should involve working with the city to plant trees along an improved east side of Old County Road (this may involve removing some parking spaces, undergrounding utilities, creation of a bike path and shrinking the width of the road). The second layer would replace the trees on the west side of Old County road east of the railroad tracks with appropriate sized trees. The third layer should be just west of the tracks and the last will be next to the project itself. We would like the landscaping plan (including types and size of trees, irrigation plans and maintenance plans) in place before project approval and to be included in the development agreement. The first, second and fourth layer must be guaranteed and adequate to screen the project as we realize that the third layer may disappear if the bullet train is approved.
5) East Side Parks – City of San Carlos (Lead), GESC
Set up a fund for Laureola Park and future trail (i.e. Old County Road from Harbor to Brittan) and park development on the East side. Since Laureola is the Park closest to the new development, and the project should produce park fees in the range of 1.5 million dollars, money should be set-aside in a fund that will maintain the park, replace outdated equipment, expand parking for sporting events and plan for an additional park on the East Side (preferably north of Holly) as well as urban trails.
6) Holly Street Intersection – San Carlos Redevelopment Agency (Lead), Legacy
Improve Holly Street intersection to match (pavers) what is planned for Holly / El Camino, San Carlos Ave. / El Camino and the Old County Street Crossing from the train station. With the new development more individuals will be crossing Holly Street to get to the park or businesses located on the East side, this intersection is very difficult for many residents and needs to be upgraded. Currently money for this has been included in the draft of the Midterm Review of the Five Year Implementation Plan for the San Carlos Redevelopment Project Area.
7) Improvements to Old County Road – San Carlos Redevelopment Agency (Lead), Legacy
Replace sidewalks and underground utilities on Old County from Brittan to Harbor. As part of raising the tracks, utilities from west of Old County were moved under the sidewalks on the East side of Old County and haphazardly patched leaving multiple levels of concrete. When you combine this with the existing telephone poles located in the middle of the sidewalk, the large number of posted signs and the failure of the public works department to repair crumbling sidewalks and curbs, it leaves us with a sidewalk that is difficult for the elderly, people with strollers and the handicapped to navigate as well as a challenge for the average individual. Currently some money for planning this has been included in the draft of the Midterm Review of the Five Year Implementation Plan for the San Carlos Redevelopment Project Area.
8) Traffic Calming on Old County – San Carlos City Staff (Lead) GESC
Slow down traffic on Old County. Since the CalTrain tracks have been raised there is a significant increase in the speed of vehicles traveling down Old County road especially along the residential sections of Old County. Putting stop signs at Taylor and Terminal way and lowering the speed limit between them to 30 mph can accomplish this.
9) Transit Issues – SamTrans (Lead), Legacy
Since the project is called San Carlos Transit Village and is supposed to be a model transit village, all possible avenues should be utilized to encourage the residents of the SCTV to use transit. Nothing to date suggests that any effort is being made to give these new residents transit options other than its proximity to the Caltrain station. Transit options for the current residents should also be increased including more trains that stop in San Carlos. Many possibilities exist and SamTrans is aware of them.
10) Shuttle Problems – San Carlos City Staff (Lead), SamTrans, GESC
Solve the shuttle problems caused by having a new shuttle stop on the east side created when the tracks were raised. Problems include shuttles idling for long periods of time and racing up and down residential streets south of Holly Street. Requiring all shuttles to use a planned new drop off location on the west side can solve this issue. Other alternatives include signage informing shuttle drivers not to use residential streets for shortcuts. Also an ordinance that only allowed hybrid or electric shuttles to use the shuttle stop on the east side would solve the idling issues and reduce air pollution.
11) Garbage – SamTrans (Lead), San Carlos City Staff
Code Enforcement for all the garbage that blows into our neighborhood from the train station and other surrounding businesses. At minimum the neighborhood would like to see additional street sweeping, cleaning at the train station, and code enforcement for the businesses that generate the garbage.
We would be happy to discuss any or all of the above.
The GESC (Laureola) Board