Category Archives: Newsletter

Traffic Concerns Outreach Forums

traffic

From January through the end of May, the Public Works Department will hold bi-weekly public forums to gather feedback and suggestions from the community regarding traffic concerns throughout the City. Each meeting starts with a PowerPoint presentation, after which small working groups will allow participants to share their views on how to improve their neighborhood’s traffic. http://www.cityofsanmateo.org/index.aspx?NID=3128 has the full schedule.

Celebrate the Super Bowl with Wounded Warrior Game at CSM

woundedwarriorOn Saturday, February 6th, noon to 3:00 PM, College of San Mateo will open College Heights Stadium to the
undefeated Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team (WWAFT) in a moving match against San Francisco’s NFL Alumni.

The WWAFT is made up of men and women who lost a limb while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Its first game against the NFL Alumni was played prior to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. This year’s game in San Mateo will be their fifth appearance during activities leading up to the Super Bowl. Learn more and buy tickets ($10.00) at http://woundedwarrioramputeefootballteam.org/team-info/team-calendar/

City Services Academy

city of smThe City of San Mateo City Services Academy is an outstanding opportunity to learn about the challenges facing municipal government today and to interact with City staff. Eleven City departments are involved (including City Council, City Manager, Community Development, Public Works, Parks & Recreation). Taught by City staff, the Academy provides an interactive learning experience through case studies, site tours, and class discussions. The program is open to anyone 18 or older, who works or resides in San Mateo and has an interest in City government. Participants must be willing to devote Wednesday nights for 12 weeks.

Sign up early for this FREE opportunity to understand, and participate directly with, our City leaders by contacting Laurie Strange, lstrange@cityofsanmateo.org, to be added to the mailing list. Applications will be available Spring 2016.

Ice Rink Update

icerinkOn December 8 the Planning Commission held a meeting at which the future of the Bridgepointe Ice Rink was discussed. Four BHNA Board members attended, and public attendance was huge. The large number of speakers left no doubt that the ice rink has significant community support. Members of the Planning Commission asked pointed, thoughtful questions. In the end, the Commission voted 5 to 0 to keep the zoning designation of the Bridgepointe Ice Rink and to reject the plan proposed by the developer, SPI Holdings, under which SPI would pay a $3 million recreation fee in exchange for abandoning the ice rink and constructing a retail facility in its place. However, the final decision will be with the City Council, which will consider the matter on Monday, March 4, 2016 at 7:00 PM. You can find more information at http://savesanmateorink.wix.com/savebridgepointe.

November 2015 – General Meeting Recap

At our November General Meeting we learned about progress in the electrification of Caltrain and about the revised plans for the north block of Hillsdale Mall.

Casey Fromson, Caltrain’s Government Affairs Officer, reported that 62,000 riders, including 6,000 bike riders, use Caltrain daily, with 60% commuting northbound and 40% travelling south. Usage
has increased significantly since 2010, and Caltrain has purchased additional cars, which will help alleviate some of the over-crowding. Federal regulations require that improvements to prevent human error and enhance safety through a smarter gate system be completed in 2016, and Caltrain is on track. 2020 is the deadline for going live with new electric trains, which will attain 79 mph, allow six trains/hour per direction, and start and stop faster than the current diesel trains, permitting more stops as well as more trains.

Bob Webster, President of Bohannon Properties, provided an update on the Hillsdale Mall Project, which was first considered more than nine years ago. Two major goals for the current Hillsdale Mall plan are sustainable design and the creation of a community that cannot be found on the internet. Consequently, a major focus will be entertainment and food. There will be a Luxury Cinema, a bocce ball/bowling alley venue, and a fitness club. Plans also include four or five full service sit-down restaurants and a central plaza with outdoor dining and a fountain.
The traffic situation will be improved by a roundabout instead of the five-way stop that is now at 31st and Edison. 31st Avenue will be narrowed into one lane each way, and the sidewalks will be widened. Green features will include a grey water system, solar system, LED lighting, high efficiency HVAC, and electric vehicle charging stations.

September General Meeting Recap

The speakers at the September Meeting were Audrey Ng, Ed Coady and Dr. Joan Rosas, who discussed Measure X, and Maureen Freschet and Larry Patterson, who presented the City’s views on Measure S.

Dr. Rosas informed us that SMFCSD now supports 12,500 student and is projected to add 200 students per year; existing facilities cannot accommodate these numbers. If approved, Measure X would generate $148 million in locally controlled funds to address the needs of the schools. It will levy a tax equal to approximately $14 per $100,000 of assessed property value (not market value) and will last for as long as the bonds are outstanding, i.e., 30 years. Measure X requires 55% approval.

To determine how best to meet the expected capacity needs, the Next Steps Advisory Committee was formed 18 months ago. Audrey and Ed reviewed the committee’s outreach to the community and the results of their efforts. The committee conducted 121 different group meetings with a large variety of stakeholders. It found consensus to build new capacity where the student growth is expected. In our area, gyms and classrooms are needed at Abbott and Borel. There was discussion about selling district properties not presently being used, including the “Knolls” campus, as well as alternative uses, such as building housing for teachers. Members inquired why new developments do not include new schools. Dr. Rosas explained that the required environmental impact reports do include impact on schools, and that developer fees are assessed. However, the fees are set by the state and not by the city, and they are inadequate to finance the needed additional capacity.

Mayor Freschet discussed the history of Measure S, which is a continuation of Measure L, passed in 2009 to help San Mateo recover its financial strength. That was successful, and the City now has a three month budget reserve. However, Measure L sunsets in 2017. The proposed Measure S will replace it.

City Manager Larry Patterson explained that we need this dedicated funding source because we don’t have enough dollars to cover what needs to be done, and delays will result in increased costs down the road. Measure S funds mainly will be used for: (1) Failed Street Program: $1.5 M per mile is the current cost for failed street reconstruction. 19 miles of streets currently are classified as failed in San Mateo, but the available budget is only $4.5 million; (2) Flood map: San Mateo needs to implement improvements in flood zones at a current cost of $23.5 million; and (3) Public Safety such as dealing with gangs, homelessness and property crimes. A Citizens Advisory Committee will be created to oversee this 30 year measure.

Happy Follow Up to BHNA Cal Water Presentation on Water Conservation

The seriousness of California’s drought is ringing loud and clear throughout San Mateo. Residents and businesses are making great strides to reduce water usage. San Mateo achieved a 29.1% reduction in water use from August 2013 to August 2015 – well exceeding the State mandate of 16%.

Conserving water does take a little getting used to. While many residents adapted early to the drought by taking shorter showers, flushing toilets less, installing water efficient appliances and converting lawns to drought tolerant landscaping, it didn’t really resonate until Cal Water enacted a water allotment for residential and business customers. The monetary incentive it provides to stay within the allocation speaks to many residents and forces them to think about their overall usage.

Local businesses are stepping up too. For instance, the San Mateo Marriott is listed as a certified 2015 Green Leaders Partner through Trip Advisor, and Ducky’s Car Wash has implemented several innovative water conservation practices, reclaiming and reusing 80% of the water needed for washing cars, using a computerized system that uses 50% less water than hand washing cars at home, and capturing run-off and disposing of it in an environmentally friendly manner.

The City has taken significant strides to reduce water usage and meet the State mandate. To date the City Parks Division has reduced irrigation over 20% by yellowing or browning out passive turf areas, limiting watering of shrubs, and using only overhead spray irrigation from 6 pm to 8 am. Parks and Recreation has shut off water features, allocated water to areas of higher priority such as sports fields that must be maintained for health and safety reasons, and requested that pool patrons take shorter showers. Please visit www.cityofsanmateo.org for more information.

All-Mail November Ballot

The upcoming November 3, 2015, elections will be the first time that San Mateo voters cannot go down to their local polling place to cast their ballot. This year, it is “vote by mail” only, although you also may drop off your ballot at the Ballot Drop Box at San Mateo City Hall during regular business hours from October 6 through November 2, and until 8 p.m. on November 3, Election Day.

Ballots were mailed to every voter on October 5, 2015. If you don’t receive your ballot by October 16, you can request a replacement ballot by calling (650) 312-5222 or emailing registrar@smcare.org. For more information about the upcoming elections go to https://www.shapethefuture.org/.

BHNA Still Needs You

Please consider joining the BHNA Board to help us be more effective in representing your interests. If you would like to learn more contact Lisa Taner at president@beresfordhillsdale.org, or call or email any Board member.