Traffic and trails on the Midcoast: What would you do? Workshops June 25-30

Press release

Posted by on Thu, June 11, 2009

Renowned walkable communities expert, author and photographer Dan Burden is helping Midcoast residents of San Mateo County take a fresh look at Highway 1 from Princeton by the Sea to the City of Half Moon Bay. In a concentrated and fun series of public planning events, Dan and a professional design team organized by the Local Government Commission, a Sacramento-based nonprofit, will translate citizen input into a new vision – a vision that will create an environment that is safer and friendlier for children and adults to walk, bike and ride the bus, and that will reinforce the qualities that define the area’s natural beauty and historic neighborhoods.

Download the flyer in English or Spanish.

With Highway 1 serving as the only continuous north-south route for Midcoast residents, tourists and travelers to and from the Bay Area, residents have few if any safe transportation options to reach schools, parks, and other destinations. High speeds and high traffic volumes bisect the Midcoast with few safe points for pedestrians to cross Highway 1. Bicyclists traveling along Highway 1 are also faced with a safety issue, as there are no clear bike lanes or adequate shoulders along the roadway. Portions of separate paths and trails exist for recreation and commuting, but much work needs to be done to plan and create a viable alternative transportation network to improve safety, calm traffic, reduce congestion, and build stronger connections between the communities of the Midcoast.

Using a Caltrans community planning grant, the County of San Mateo and the Local Government Commission are conducting a community design "charrette," a visually engaging, interactive series of public workshops, meetings and design sessions between the public and a skilled design team to create a shared vision or a plan. Activities will focus on identifying issues and design solutions for better driving, walking, biking and transit conditions, creating off-street path and trail connections, and providing stronger linkages between the communities.

At the Thursday night kickoff meeting, Dan will deliver a visually-rich and entertaining presentation with illustrative photos from his work and travels around the country. It will be followed by a group brainstorming and prioritizing session.

The Saturday events will start with a walking tour to review walking, biking, transit and driving conditions from the point of view of people of all ages and abilities. A presentation will follow, training participants on techniques the community can use to address issues raised at the Thursday kickoff event and walking tour. Working in small groups, participants will draw their design solutions on large maps of the Midcoast area.

Following the Saturday session, the charrette team will prepare design concepts with computer images to represent the vision for improvements identified through the activities. Tuesday evening, June 30, the charrette team leaders will present the design concepts. Participants are invited to provide additional input before the concepts are developed into a final plan.

Complementary food and beverages will be provided at all events. Businesses, property owners, residents and their families are encouraged to participate in this visioning effort. Spanish interpretation will be available.

El Granada Elementary School, 400 Santiago Street, Multipurpose Room 

  • Thursday June 25, 7 - 9 p.m.: Community Kick-off Meeting
  • Saturday, June 27, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.: Community Design Workshop
  • Tuesday, June 30, 7 - 9 p.m.: Concept Plan Presentation 


With the county and Caltrans not liking much coastside input in past years and studies on the location and character of local alternative transportation paths and recreational trails, we now get outside consultants (not cheap) to see if they can come up with something more to Caltrans’s and the county’s liking than what locals on bicycle and foot know are obvious and feasible solutions.

When I see government money spent on grants like this and on the oversized, usually paved, urban-style projects that eventually result, I know there is still plenty of fat in Sacramento and Redwood City and no need to approve new taxes, fees, or bonds to pay for parks and recreation or alternative transportation.

I hope the Midcoast turns out in force at the workshops and voices concerns about “urban” planning. 

The oversized bridge at Mirada Surf West is an example of “urban” level planning that is inappropriate for the location.  What a waste of tax dollars!  A much smaller bridge specifically for pedestrians and bicyclists would have cost less.  Someone sitting at a desk in Redwood City dreamed up an overdeveloped bridge to cross a tiny creek and found grant funding for it.  Going forward I hope the County finds grant funding for more appropriately scaled projects.  If the County stops overdeveloping trail projects the Midcoast might get more trail improvements accomplished.

Another example of poor and wasteful planning is the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Outdoor Interpretive Exhibit/play structure, total projected cost $603,744.00.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to see it go to: <>

Tell me that thing is not a hideous waste of grant money!

I just noticed that MCTV (ch 6) has the video of Thursday night’s meeting scheduled for 7 pm tonight and again at 9:30 pm tonight.  It’s worth watching.

I also strongly recommend watching the video on MCTV.

It’s not just another boring meeting video. Early on, maybe 30 mins in, there is an excellent slide presentation of walkable street designs that will get you thinking about the possibilities for the Coastside.