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The Transit Corridors Vision

The City of San Bruno prepared the Transit Corridors Specific Plan (TCP) to create a bold new vision for higher density development in the area surrounding the future San Bruno Avenue Caltrain station, emphasizing a mix of residential and commercial uses that will promote walkability, transit use, and economic development. The Plan will be a guiding document with detailed policies, development standards and design guidelines for both the public and private realms to guide future development and reuse. It has been designed as an easy to use tool for property owners, business owners and developers, as they look to redevelop their properties. The Plan area is focused around the future Caltrain Station, which will be located at the intersection of San Bruno and San Mateo Avenues. The Transit Corridors Area is broken down into 5 character areas:

  • Central Business District: the historic Downtown area along San Mateo Avenue from El Camino Real to San Bruno Avenue;
  • Station Area: north of San Bruno Avenue to I-380 and between 2nd Avenue and the train tracks;
  • Huntington Avenue: from San Bruno Avenue to the BART station;
  • San Bruno Avenue: from Elm Avenue to 7th Avenue, and;
  • El Camino Real: from Crystal Springs Road to I-380.

(1) Central Business District: Revitalized Downtown Core The Plan calls for preservation of San Mateo Avenue’s “main street” character, while creating a more vibrant Downtown through targeted enhancement of commercial uses, the addition of new housing, and streetscape improvements.  The Plan proposes that the City consider reconfiguring the San Mateo Avenue/El Camino Real intersection to allow the creation of a large new civic plaza or community open space to signify the entrance into Downtown. A realigned intersection would also allow for new, more intensive land uses anchoring the southern end of Downtown. The northern end of Downtown would be anchored with a redesigned Posy Park, the new Caltrain Station, and higher intensity mixed uses.

(2) El Camino Real: Mixed-Use Housing and Commercial Corridor The Plan strategy for El Camino Real is to install pedestrian-oriented streetscape improvements and promote the development of divers housing types, including multifamily and townhomes, in order to transform the existing auto-oriented corridor into a more contemporary mixed-use residential and commercial corridor that takes advantage of its proximity to the new Caltrain station and to neighborhood retail and services available on San Mateo Avenue.  New high-density residential development at significant intersections, anchored with ground-floor retail, is proposed to create a stronger physical character along this key roadway.  The southern end of El Camino Real near San Mateo Avenue would be zoned Central Business District (CBD) to focus additional retail development adjacent to Downtown.

(3) San Bruno Avenue:  Mixed-Use TOD Corridor The Plan aims to transform San Bruno Avenue into a mixed-use transit-oriented development (TOD) corridor with higher intensity uses that foster a pedestrian environment, encourage multi-modal connections, and create a sense of community entry and identity.  The Plan encourages upgrades of existing storefronts and landscaping to improve the appearance of the avenue.  New bicycle lanes, building setbacks, diverse housing types, such as multifamily and townhomes, streetscape improvements, traffic circles (roundabouts) and potential reduction of vehicle travel lanes are proposed for San Bruno Avenue.  The reduced lane aspect is described as a longer term option that will be studied after the grade separation is completed.

(4) Huntington Avenue:  Streetscape Beautification and Bicycle/Pedestrian Links The Plan strategy for Huntington Avenue is to preserve the existing residential character while taking advantage of development opportunities around the Caltrain and BART stations, where a TOD overlay zone is proposed to allow increased intensity of uses and building heights to accommodate retail, office and higher density housing.  The northern half of Huntington Avenue, where residential uses are not permitted due to the 70 decibels airport noise contour, is designated for a mix of commercial and office uses.  The southern half of Huntington Avenue is designated for a mix of uses that includes medium-density housing.  A key development site across the street from the BART parking garage is identified as potentially suitable for a new hotel.  The proposed design guidelines for Huntington Avenue are intended to encourage streetscape improvements and traffic calming measures, including roundabouts, to create a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly corridor to the Caltrain station

(5) Station Area:  High-Intensity TOD The Plan development strategy for the new Caltrain Station Area calls for creation of dynamic, active, high-intensity TOD development, leveraging the area’s proximity to San Francisco International Airport and Silicon Valley.  The Plan encourages an intensified mix of uses in this area, including higher office, and retail uses that support and synergize with the new Caltrain station.  Proposed uses are limited to non-residential uses in areas located within the 70 decibels airport noise contour.  The Plan calls for the Station Area to be designed to be a highly desirable place to work, as well as encourage Caltrain ridership, with an attractive station surrounded by active uses and easy access. An approximately two-acre vacant development site directly adjacent to the Caltrain station platform is envisioned as the focal point of a major mixed-use office/retail center. New gateway elements are proposed to frame and enhance the area around the elevated railway crossing, emphasizing the significance of the station and the entrance to Downtown.