Millbrae Station Area Plan – 70% driving rate; El Camino sharrows under a truck

Millbrae city council is reviewing a station area plan, environmental report, and two good-sized developments for the area near the Millbrae BART/Caltrain station.  At a study session last night, residents crowded the Chetcuti room in Millbrae city hall, many with concerns about parking and car traffic.

The proposed developments would bring 400,000 square feet of office space, about 79,000 square feet of retail  and more than 800 residential units on land currently occupied by a parking lot and some underutilized commercial buildings near El Camino Real.   The mix of uses near a major and growing transit hub – with service from BART, Caltrain trains, SamTrans buses, and eventually High Speed Rail trains – might logically attract workers, residents, and visitors who prefer to come and go without driving.

However, in the plan and environmental report being reviewed, the offices and homes are expected to generate a 69% driving rate at peak commute hours, with 28% taking transit, and only 3% walking or bicycling.  The plan has provisions for sensible parking policies, including the potential for unbundled parking, where tenants can pay for only the parking they need, paid parking, parking shared among uses that need the space at different hours. And the plan calls for “transportation demand management” with programs including discount transit passes, onsite car-sharing, vanpool and carpool services.  With these services and such a transit-rich location, could the area generate less driving (and fewer traffic and parking worries?).

The rate of bicycling isn’t helped by the proposals for El Camino Real and Millbrae Avenue.  The treatment for El Camino includes wide, 14 foot vehicle lanes, and “sharrow” marking enabling intrepid people with bicycles to to share the lanes with trucks (as can be seen in the diagram below.)

The deadline for comments on the Environmental Impact Report is August 10. There will be community meetings beforehand, on July 16 and 30th.   For transit users and community members interested in commenting on the project, including opportunities to improve bike safety and sustainable transportation, Sierra Club will be hosting a workshop on Tuesday, July 21 – stay tuned for time and place.

Sharrows under a truck on El Camino Real in Millbrae

Sharrows under a truck on El Camino Real in Millbrae

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6 Responses to Millbrae Station Area Plan – 70% driving rate; El Camino sharrows under a truck

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  2. Sprague says:

    A north-south bike lane, ideally “protected,” is very much needed in this area (on the westside of the train tracks). This would greatly encourage bicycling and allow cycling to be a viable transportation choice for the “8 to 80″ crowd. El Camino Real (north of Trousdale Drive) appears to have ample width to accommodate protected bike lanes. South of the Millbrae BART/Caltrain station, there appears to be room for protected bike lanes on California Drive (which in some sections could be bidirectional along the east side) all the way south to San Mateo. Many current and future residents and employees of this area would love to have safe, protected lanes to bicycle and this would then reduce automobile trips in the area.

  3. Irvin Dawid says:

    I was just biking on those sharrows in Millbrae. While they leave much to be desired, it’s significant that they are there – few (if any) Peninsula cities have them – their attitude being that bikes don’t belong on El Camino.

  4. Ralph Durham says:

    Sharrows should never be used until drivers understand what they mean. If you plan for increased cyclist use sharrows are not the answer. That is just a feel good approach for designers to say ‘look we’ve done something” with is actually done nothing. There will be no new riders with sharrows, period.

    I live in Sunnyvale where there are sharrows on Wolfe. If you use them, and they are placed incorrectly, you get abusive drivers blasting the car horns and buzzing you. They have been in place for many years and it still happens.

    14 foot lanes????? Cut those down to 10 or 11 feet. Then there is space for a bike lane. Get the parking off the highway, more space for a dedicated separated bike lane and wider sidewalks.

    Why does the road need 30 feet of median, as pictured? Slash that in half which will leave a 5 ft space for people to wait if they can’t get across on one light.



  5. BikePretty says:

    Being such an old road (predating internal combustion), the El Camino Real is actually a very comfortable route for biking. Or it would be if bikes were accommodated.

    I grew up in Menlo Park and as a kid often found myself trying to cobble together a reasonable route to run parallel to ECR. We would ride on the abandoned sidewalks, take side streets, and wait at interminable beg button crossings just to travel less than 2 miles North or South.

    El Camino Real also manages to cross the many creeks that run East-to-West across the peninsula. Right now, people on bikes need go very far out of their way to access the various creek crossings that break up the ride through Peninsula towns. It’s not easy to do, requiring a level of local knowledge that can take years to acquire.

  6. Pingback: Millbrae’s Transit Hub Plans: Lots of Parking, Same Car-Dominated Streets | Streetsblog San Francisco

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