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Grand Boulevard Initiative Complete Streets Program

The purpose of the Grand Boulevard Initiative Complete Streets Program is to develop the El Camino Real Corridor as a multimodal boulevard that is safe and efficient for all users (pedestrians, bicycles, transit, and automobiles of all ages and abilities). 

what are complete streets

The Complete Streets Program builds upon the streetscape design guidelines in the Grand Boulevard Initiative Multimodal Transportation Corridor Plan (2010). The Corridor Plan explores the potential for pedestrian, bicycle, automobile, and transit design options along the El Camino Real Corridor. 

Local, regional, and state agencies have come together under the Grand Boulevard Initiative Complete Streets Program, which includes a number of streetscape improvement projects that have and will transform the El Camino Real Corridor into a livable, complete street.

Check out the Complete Street Program milestones:

Creating Safe and Healthy Corridor Communities Project

Project Overview

The Grand Boulevard Initiative: Creating Safe and Healthy Corridor Communities Project facilitated the design of multimodal streetscape improvements for two case study locations on El Camino Real in Redwood City and Palo Alto. This project was a critical first step toward implementing multimodal improvements, addressing safety issues in the El Camino Real Corridor, and realizing the Grand Boulevard Initiative Vision of people friendly places.

Planning work began in the summer of 2017 and focused on the development of conceptual streetscape designs that could not only bring the Grand Boulevard Initiative Vision to reality but also provide Corridor guidance for future multimodal improvements.

Case Studies

The project focused on two case study locations on El Camino Real in Redwood City and Palo Alto:

  • Palo Alto - Stanford Ave to Lambert Ave
  • Redwood City - Maple Street to Charter Street

The case study locations were selected based on their bicycle and pedestrian collision rates and opportunity to improve roadway safety and downtown connections.

Final Reports and Designs

The project was completed on February 28, 2019. A Final Report was developed for each case study segment detailing the local vision, community outreach results, case study designs, 3D concepts, and next steps. In addition, the final deliverables include a lessons learned memo that includes best practices, implantation strategies and design library. These documents are linked below.

 For more information on the individual case study cities please visit the links below.

Grant Funding

On behalf of the Grand Boulevard Initiative, the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) was awarded FY16-17 Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant. The cities of Redwood City and Palo Alto provided the required local matching funds.

Project Partners

SamTrans partnered with C/CAG, VTA, the San Mateo County Health System, the Santa Clara County Health Department, and the cities of Redwood City and Palo Alto to direct the Project work.

TIGER II Complete Streets Project

Download the TIGER II Complete Streets Final Report Here!

The Final Report:

  1. Highlights the TIGER II Complete Streets Project designs, including both complete street and sustainable street design elements
  2. Describes the process for transforming a State Highway into a complete, sustainable street
  3. Provide guidance for future complete street designs in the El Camino Real Corridor and other urban transportation corridors across the nation

Click here for a summary presentation of the TIGER II Complete Streets Final Report.

sustainable streets

Project Overview

Project Purpose

The TIGER II Complete Streets Project funded the preliminary designs for four innovative case study segments on the El Camino Real Corridor (State Route 82) in San Mateo County. These segments are intended to serve as models for future Corridor improvements and for other urban transportation corridors across the nation. The Project also provides direction on navigating the State Highway design approval process with Caltrans, offering design parameters that provide highly-transferable guidance for other jurisdictions.

The Project goals are to:

  1. Test the Grand Boulevard Initiative and Caltrans complete streets and sustainable streets design process on an urban State Highway
  2. Explore issues and challenges relevant to multimodal and sustainable design
  3. Identify lessons learned as to how the design process can be improved for future projects in other jurisdictions.

Case Studies

Four case study segments were selected through a competitive application process based on their opportunity for Complete Streets design and transferability to other portions of the El Camino Real Corridor.

  • Daly City – Parkview Avenue to School Street (Google map)
  • South San Francisco – McLellan Drive to Westborough Boulevard/Chestnut Avenue (Google map)
  • San Bruno – San Bruno Avenue to Taylor Avenue (Google map)
  • San Carlos – Arroyo Avenue to Brittan Avenue (Google map)

Summary of Design Elements

Each case study incorporates the following Complete Streets design elements.

  • Lane Narrowing & Traffic Calming
  • Intersection Crossing Improvements: high-visibility crosswalks, curb extensions, pedestrian median refuges, traffic signal upgrades and pedestrian countdown signals
  • Frontage Improvements: sidewalk improvements, pedestrian-scale lighting, and shoulder modifications
  • Enhanced Medians: raised medians with landscaping
  • Expanded Transit Stops & Amenities

The case designs also incorporate innovative "green street" design elements to enhance sustainability and provide exemplary design for replication. The following Sustainable Street design elements are included.

  • Rain Garden Planter Strips
  • Pervious Concrete Pavement
  • Solar Reflective Pavement Coating
  • Canopy Street Trees
  • Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Street Lighting

Grant Funding: US Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration - TIGER II Planning Grant (2010)      

Project Sponsors: San Mateo County Transit District & City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County      

Project Partners: US Environmental Protection Agency & California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

The TIGER II Complete Streets Project was funded by the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II Planning Grant and funding support from the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County and the San Mateo County Transit District on behalf of the members of the Grand Boulevard Initiative. This material is based upon work supported by the Federal Transit Administration under Cooperative Agreement No. CA-79-1000. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view the view of the Federal Transit Administration. 

South San Francisco Case Study Final Design & Construction

The City of South San Francisco, in collaboration with Caltrans, the San Mateo County Transit District, and the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County, is preparing final design plans for a portion of their Complete Street Case Study on El Camino Real. Building from the TIGER II Complete Streets Project (discussed above), this project will bring the City's Case Study to fruition and truly become a model for other jurisdictions in the region.

This project focuses on the segment of El Camino Real between McLellan Drive and Kasier Way and proposes multimodal improvements to increase safety for all roadway users, to encourage walking, biking, and transit use along the Corridor, and to improve susatinability with green street features. New sidewalks, corner bulbouts at intersections, median pedestrian refuges, striped shoulders to facilitate bicycle use, and landscaping are proposed. 

The South San Francisco Case Study was selected through a competitive application process among the four TIGER II Case Study cities. The design and engineering work is in progress, with construction expected to begin in 2017.SSFGBITCSPCONSTRUCTIONLIMITS

Federal Earmark Projects

In 2005, before the Grand Boulevard Initiative became a bi-county effort, the San Mateo County Transit District was awarded federal funding which supported the construction of five streetscape improvement projects on the Corridor.

Daly City Top of the Hill ImprovementsDC TopoftheHill

Completed in June 2013, the Top of the Hill Improvements include a new pedestrian/transit plaza and curb extensions, contrasting crosswalk treatments, landscaped median islands, and new street trees on Mission Street. These provide a meaningful gathering place with enhanced transit access. 

San Mateo El Camino Real Master Plan Phase I Improvements

The improvements include new sidewalks and landscaped median islands between 28th Avenue and Hillsdale Boulevard on El Camino Real. The 31st Avenue intersection includes a themed intersection with new decorative street lights, sign poles, signage, and pedestrian countdown signals.

Millbrae El Camino Real/Victoria Avenue Pedestrian Crossing EnhancementMillbrae VictoriaAve

Completed in July 2013, the enhancements include a new signalized pedestrian crossing near the Caltrain/BART Intermodal Station. The new traffic signal, combined with landscaping and walking path improvements, provides pedestrians with a safer and more pleasant experience as they travel between the transit hub and downtown.

San Bruno El Camino Real Median, Gateway, and Pedestrian Improvement Project

Completed in September 2012, the project creates a pedestrian-friendly gateway to the City, its primary shopping center, and a transit-oriented residential development. The City installed landscaped medians, accessible curb ramps, and audible pedestrian countdown signals on El Camino Real between Noor and Jenevein Avenues.

San Carlos El Camino Real Lighting and Landscaping Project

This project includes new street trees and pedestrian lighting on the west side of El Camino Real between Oak and Olive streets. Construction will begin soon.


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