Millbrae reviews development near Caltrain/BART station – can it be walkable?

The City of Millbrae is starting the process to review new developments for the area near the Caltrain/BART station.

Update: there are two opportunities to start to get involved in March – read on for details. 

Another Update: Jim Frank wrote his Master’s thesis on pedestrian safety in Millbrae and has some great recommendations about improvements

On Sites 5 and 6, owned by BART and currently used as surface parking lots, Republic Urban Properties has proposed a mixed use project with 136,600 square feet of office, 260 apartments, an extended stay hotel with 110 rooms, and 84,800 square feet of retail space.

On Site 1 along El Camino, formerly a lumberyard and convalescent home, Serra Station Properties proposes a mixed-use project with office and multi-family housing and commercial space on 3.5 acres. The developer is proposing several options, with varying amounts of office, retail, residential, and hotel space.

The area has excellent transit access with train and bus service.  Pedestrian and bike access is pretty bleak, however.  The street environment is focused on El Camino serving as a regional highway more than a local place, and Millbrae Ave serving as a freeway onramp.   Better walking and bicycling would be helpful to make the place more appealing for prospective residents and commercial tenants. Also, Millbrae can set parking standards and require transit pass and other transportation benefits to increase the use of transit and reduce the traffic impact of the development.

Ann Schneider of Millbrae and the Sierra Club Sustainable Land Use Committee are helping residents and supporters of sustainable transit-oriented development to organize and review the project.   If you are interested in participating, sign up here for updates on educational events and public meeting reminders.

The city will be updating its plan for the area and reviewing the developments, with at least two community meetings.  Specific Plan amendments and an Environmental Impact Report expected to be done by December 2014.

Millbrae Station Area

Millbrae Station Area Sites 1, 5, and 6 with proposed development

Opportunities to get involved

If you would like to see the Millbrae station area evolve into a place, there are two opportunities to get involved starting in March.

On March 12 at 10am, the two developers who are proposing projects will present to the Sierra Club Sustainable Land Use committee.  Location is Peter’s Cafe, on El Camino outside the station.  The location may change, so RSVP to Ann Schneider.

On March 27, there will be a Millbrae City Council meeting to review the Grand Boulevard / Mixed Use design concepts, to prepare to participate in the City’s revision of the Millbrae Station Area Precise Plan that will provide guidelines for these developments.

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3 Responses to Millbrae reviews development near Caltrain/BART station – can it be walkable?

  1. Martin says:

    Shouldn’t we get specific plans for the Millbrae HSR station prior to developing Site 1? This seems a little short sighted. We’d want room for a 3rd track on the west side of the existing Millbrae station and a 4th track replacing the current west-most BART track. I heard talk of building some $2 billion tunnel for HSR, but that seems crazy given that the current station cost only $100 million to build.

    • Adina Levin says:

      I don’t know, but it would be helpful for the high speed rail authority to be paying attention. The paper proposals for the Millbrae station look pretty excessive, but it is a long time out (2029 at the earliest) and requires money that isn’t there yet, so there will be opportunities in the future to revisit those plans.

  2. Pingback: Lots of Development on the way. Let’s make sure its walkable and bikeable. | JF Walks Blog

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