BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
With the explosion of development on the mid-Peninsula, cities such as San Carlos that are seeing booms in construction aren’t sure how to deal with the increased traffic.
All five candidates for San Carlos City Council can agree that something needs to happen in terms of reducing traffic, but their approaches on how to relieve congestion and make the city safer for travelers is where they differ.
Ken Castle, who organized the Neighborhood Watch program in the White Oaks area, said that a big area that needs to be improved is El Camino.
“We have pedestrian crossings, such as at Belmont Avenue, that are unsafe and should have full traffic signals. We have bus stops along the east side of El Camino that are difficult to access because there are no paved sidewalks to them,” Castle said in an email.
El Camino bike lanes
Castle also said San Carlos ought to look at the possibility of installing bicycle lanes along El Camino.
He said he would support measures that would discourage out-of-area commuters from taking shortcuts through town.
Sara McDowell, a city economic advisory commission member, said the city needs to strike deals with developers that entice employees at new buildings to take public transit.
If more workers do take transit, she said sidewalks and bicycle lanes need to be added and improved so people can safely get to and from Caltrain or SamTrans stops.
“San Carlos should continue to work with SamTrans to improve access to consistently reliable and affordable public transportation for all of our residents. Those who live and/or work in San Carlos need better public transportation options for getting to and moving around within our community,” Mc-Dowell said in an email.
Laura Parmer-Lohan, who was on the Single Family House Advisory Committee, also said the city needs to be more walkable and bike-friendly.
She said she lives about a half mile from downtown, but doesn’t feel safe enough to ride her bike there.
Safer routes to schools
Parmer-Lohan said the city needs to get parents and kids out of cars and make routes to school safer. There are a few schools in the city that parents just don’t feel safe letting their kids bike or walk to, she said.
If those routes are put in place, then it would take some cars off the road during the morning and afternoon commute.
John McDowell, who was on the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury from 2017 to 2018, said the city’s traffic crunch is a result of unchecked development.
All projects need to be looked at in a larger picture in order to see how bad traffic will get, he said.
Reducing cut-through traffic
McDowell suggested installing speed bumps or signs on the edges of neighborhoods to reduce cut-through traffic. He also said the city needs to work with Caltrans to synchronize the city’s traffic lights, particularly at the El Camino and Holly interchange.
Furthermore, McDowell said he thinks the city ought to look into bike-sharing programs.
Adam Rak, a former San Carlos School District trustee, said a host of solutions will need to be considered to help alleviate traffic.
Rak said the city will need to consider bike lane improvements, sidewalk upgrades, road diets and additional bus routes in order to improve things for commuters and residents.