The San Mateo City Council will discuss its controversial North Central Bike Lane Project and housing topics around Senate Bill 9 and ADUs at its upcoming meetings on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
The project in North Central proposes to build bike lanes on East Poplar Avenue from El Camino Real to North Delaware Street, North Delaware Street from East Poplar Avenue to Indian Avenue, and Humboldt Street from Peninsula Avenue to Fifth Avenue. A bike boulevard would be added on Indian Avenue from Delaware Street to North Humboldt Street, Poplar Avenue from Delaware Street to Eldorado Street, and Eldorado Street from Poplar Avenue to Indian Avenue. However, the city is expected to remove 214 parking spaces due to the limited width of the road.
Many residents of the neighborhood oppose the project, which has led to greater public awareness in the city to find potential parking mitigation measures. Those against the project fear removing parking in an already crowded area where parking is already causing problems. Others also criticized the number of working-class people in the neighborhood who would be affected, while the more privileged could more easily switch to bicycles and alternative modes of transport.
Proponents of the project note that it would improve connectivity and sustainability between parks, schools and public transit. It would also improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians in an area where there are several serious collisions between cyclists and cars. Environmental benefits and increased cycling infrastructure to encourage bicycle use are also positive. The February 22 meeting will provide an update and City Council will provide staff with project direction and potential support programs.
The council will also debate an ordinance for an appropriate height limit for secondary suites in San Mateo and whether there should be daytime plane restrictions. ADUs are secondary dwellings on a property that shares the same lot as a single-family home. Discussions will also focus on how to regulate bridges on double-decker ADUs. The city has received 174 ADU applications since 2020, including 18 double-deckers. Currently, the draft ordinance provides a size limit of 650 square feet for JADUs and no size limit for ADUs, subject to certain restrictions. The city is updating its rules to comply with recently passed state legislation that updated regulations and created minimum standards regarding ADUs.
Council will talk about housing development standards for an upcoming city ordinance that meets the requirements of SB 9. The highly controversial bill that came into force on January 1 allows additional housing units in single-family residential areas by authorizing lot divisions. The state passed the law to increase housing stock amid a housing shortage in the state. Topics include whether ADUs should be allowed on lots created by an SB 9 lot split with an SB 9 duplex, demolition limits, floor area limits, and a process for notifying potential neighbors. Once council has issued its direction, staff will begin preparing zoning code amendments for possible council approval.