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Outreach

The Grand Boulevard Initiative has built grassroot support through unique partnerships among transit districts, health departments, and advocacy organizations. With funding from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the following projects have established the framework for community outreach and communications planning for the El Camino Real Corridor.

Grand Boulevard Initiative Partner Sessions

The Grand Boulevard Initiative Partner Sessions were a series of interactive meetings to engage local representatives and discuss emerging opportunities to make El Camino Real a more urban, pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented corridor for residents to live, work, shop and play. Funded by Caltrans, the sessions brought together a diverse mix of representatives from San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties to expand their knowledge and understanding of the Grand Boulevard Initiative as well as Caltrans’ multi-modal design flexibility.

A total of four sessions were held along the Peninsula in the cities of Palo Alto, Belmont, Mountain View, and South San Francisco. Drawing a total of 75 local representatives, each session featured a robust exchange of ideas and vision for the El Camino Real corridor.

Click to view the GBI Partner Session Presentation, Summary, and Appendix

To access the documents distributed, click on the respective links:

Project Partners:

Caltrans | San Mateo County Transit District

Empowering Civic Discourse

The Empowering Civic Discourse project supported advocacy efforts that empower the Grand Boulevard Initiative's Task Force, Working Committee, and Community Leaders Roundtable members to engaged in civic discourse with residents and the business community. The goal is to increase consensus around how communities along the El Camino Real Corridor can grow in a sustainable manner.

A Message Platform was developed to guide Grand Boulevard Initiative outreach. The Message Platform includes the following:

With the projected growth of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, the Project is essential to creating the support for smart, sustainable growth along the El Camino Real Corridor. Well-planned housing and mixed-use developments linked to an effective transportation network are needed to ensure our region has the infrastructure necessary to support the growing population. Coupled with streetscape improvements, housing and transportation investments make our communities healthier and safer places for people to live, work, and play. These investments in the Corridor cannot happen without the support from local communities who recognize and understand the personal and community-wide benefits of smart growth. The Project is significant in that it empowers trusted local leaders to generate support for this much needed change. 

Project Partners:

San Mateo County Transit District | Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority | City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County | San Mateo County Health System | Santa Clara County Health Department | Greenbelt Alliance | Local Government Commission

Grand Boulevard Initiative Campaign

The Grand Boulevard Initiative Campaign continued the prior partnerships to support the development of a Communications Plan and messaging framework. The Campaign utilized the community feedback from the From Grass Tops to Grass Roots and Creating the Buzz projects and engaged a consultant to conduct a community values audit via social media sources to identify key issues in the El Camino Real Corridor and values that resonate with the community members.

The goals were to: 1) galvanize audiences that are supportive of the Grand Boulevard Initiative Vision, educate those that do not know about the Initiative, and address the main concerns voiced by opponents; 2) strengthen existing partnerships among transportation, health, and environmental organizations; 3) increase coordination in terms of message discipline and alignment of resources towards the Grand Boulevard Initiative goals and priorities; and 4) create a strategic path forward for outreach and communications to ensure momentum gained to date continues towards achieving the Grand Boulevard Initiative Vision over the long term.

The Communications Plan recommends that the public outreach messages focus on the benefits of the Grand Boulevard Initiative - the "why" component - why Grand Boulevard Initiative is important to an individual on a personal level. The Campaign spurred a branding makeover for the Grand Boulevard Initiative, including the development of a new logo and tagline - "People Friendly Places from Daly City to San Jose." The messaging platform also identified key audiences, including business owners, large employers, and local homeowners, and developed customized messages for each.

Click here to view the Communications Plan recommendations.

Project Partners:

San Mateo County Transit District | Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority | San Mateo County Health System | Santa Clara County Health Department | Greenbelt Alliance

Creating the Buzz

The Creating the Buzz project continued the public outreach success in San Mateo County created by the From Grass Tops to Grass Roots project, described below, and expanded a similar model in Santa Clara County. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and Santa Clara County Health Department joined as partners. A key success was bridging the community outreach across two counties.

The project also expanded the "Walk the Talk" events, with two additional events in San Mateo County and three events in Santa Clara County. The project partners also hosted "An Evening with Gil Penalosa" - Gil Penalosa, the former Commissioner of Parks, Sports, and Recreation for the City of Bogota, Colombia, presented his experience in planning vibrant public spaces and his passion for improving quality of life and health via better walking and biking options. The Community Leaders Roundtable was expanded to include advocacy organizations in Santa Clara County as well.

The community feedback and messaging strategies developed under the From Grass Tops to Grass Roots and Creating the Buzz projects developed the base for the third communications and community engagement element of the Grand Boulevard Initiative - the Grand Boulevard Campaign (discussed above).

Project Partners:

San Mateo County Transit District | Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority | San Mateo County Health System | Santa Clara County Health Department | Greenbelt Alliance

From Grass Tops to Grass Roots

The From Grass Tops to Grass Roots project was significant in establishing the building blocks for community support of the Grand Boulevard Initiative Vision. The project built grass roots support by bringing advocacy organizations to the Grand Boulevard Initiative table to work with cities and San Mateo County to develop common messages that resonate with residents and business owners. The project included researching perceptions about transit-oriented development, educating residents and the business community on the Grand Boulevard Initiative Vision and the benefits of enhanced development in the El Camino Real Corridor, developing messages that resonate locally, and building a cohort of local residents and business owners.

A San Mateo County Community Leaders Roundtable was established to involve advocacy organizations in developing messaging strategies for the Grand Boulevard Initiative. This project also fostered four successful "Walk the Talk" events, which tested varying messages and targeted specific community audiences in San Mateo County. Events took the form of evening community meetings, farmer's market booths, and breakfast forums.

A Grand Boulevard Initiative video also was created, highlighting the value of and capacity for complete neighborhoods and streets, sustainable and affordable lifestyles, and thriving, bustling urban villages connected by a multimodal corridor.

The project also launched the "Become a Friend of the Grand Boulevard" campaign to involve residents and businesses. Check it out and get involved!

Project Partners:

San Mateo County Transit District | San Mateo County Health System | Greenbelt Alliance

 

Grand Boulevard Initiative Awards - 2016

The Grand Boulevard Initiative Awards program recognizes projects and public agency plans in the El Camino Real Corridor that exemplify the Grand Boulevard Initiative Guiding Principles. There are three categories of awards:

  • Visionary Plan - A planning document produced by a public agency.
  • Public Project - Planned, under construction, or recently completed projects in the public right-of-way.
  • Private Project - Planned, under construction, or recently completed development projects.

2016 and 10-Year Legacy Grand Boulevard Initiative Award Winners

Awards TF 12 14 15

This year, two awards were granted – a 2016 Grand Boulevard Initiative Award and 10-Year Legacy Award, which commemorates a previously awarded project as an exemplary legacy project of the 10 years of the Grand Boulevard Initiative. The Grand Boulevard Initiative Task Force presented the following cities with a 2016 Grand Boulevard Initiative Award. 

Recipients of the 10-Year Legacy Award include:

Summary Presentation of Award Winners

Past Grand Boulevard Initiative Award Winners:

2013
2009/10
2007

Infrastructure Needs Assessment and Financing Strategy

This Infrastructure Needs Assessment and Financing Strategy evaluates the level of readiness of infrastructure to accommodate transit-supportive development along El Camino Real and investigates strategies for providing and financing infrastructure to accommodate the desired density and intensification. A cost estimate for all corridor infrastructure improvements, including identification of funding sources for unfunded improvements, was prepared.  The financing strategy identifies and prioritizes necessary improvements to leverage other local investment programs.  This studywill position communities and service providers along the corridor to move forward with planning, engineering, and financing activities to achieve the Grand Boulevard Initiative vision.

The Final Report was completed in June 2013. Please click the links below to access the Final Report and Appendices.
Infrastructure Needs Assessment and Financing Strategy Final Report
Final Report Appendices A-E


A copy of the Final Report presentation given to the Grand Boulevard Task Force also is available at the link below. 
Final presentation to the Grand Boulevard Initiative Task Force

The Infrastructure Needs Assessment and Financing Strategy 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. 

Grand Boulevard Initiative Awards - 2007

Redwood City's Downtown Precise Plan - Recognized as a Visionary Public Agency Plan

Redwood City's Downtown Precise Plan

The Downtown Precise Plan (DTPP) is the new zoning document for Downtown Redwood City, and the General Plan has been updated to match its vision and policies. The DTPP will be a very powerful force in stimulating housing and job growth in this strategic location, including El Camino Real. It simplifies the approval process for developers; clearly specifies what is and isn’t allowed; reduces the need for environmental work from developers; and allows for a wide range of densities, with height limits up to 12 stories and no cap on dwelling densities for individual projects. By creating a dense, mixed-use, walkable district featuring a large job base and a regional mass transit connection, the DTPP provides one of the most environmentally sustainable development patterns possible.

Sunnyvale's Precise Plan for El Camino Real - Recognized as a Visionary Public Agency Plan

Sunnyvale's Precise Plan

Sunnyvale’s Precise Plan focuses on 4 opportunity areas (“nodes”) along El Camino Real which are targeted for intensification of density via mixed-use developments. Building on the example of the Cherry Orchard project at El Camino and Mathilda Avenue, the Plan’s goal is to encourage retail, office and residential to coexist and be mutually supportive. The Plan includes design guidelines for site development, building design, neighborhood interface, and a variety of specific uses. Future considerations include greater integration to Downtown Sunnyvale and the city’s Caltrain station.

Top-of-the-Hill Transit and Streetscape Improvements, Daly City - Recognized as a Signature Project/Planned Public Development

Top-of-the-Hill Transit and Streetscape Improvements

The proposed project creates a pedestrian/transit plaza at Samtrans’ highest demand boarding location with appropriately sized shelters and pergola/wind screen to protect users from the elements, safety lighting, benches, trash/recycle receptacles and other pedestrian amenities. It provides an integrated pedestrian environment with wider, continuous sidewalks linking the plaza with nearby high demand activity centers including the Landmark Plaza development and the War Memorial Community Center, another award winner.

Trestle Glen Apartments at El Camino Transit Village, Colma/San Mateo County - Recognized as a Signature Project/Planned Private Development

Trestle Glen Apartments

The planned Trestle Glen Apartments will provide 119 units of affordable housing and a child care center at the Colma BART Station, adjacent to a major Samtrans bus depot and El Camino Real. BRIDGE Housing is developing the project in conjunction with the County of San Mateo’s Department of Housing and other local funders. Incorporating design elements from nearby residential neighborhoods, and teamed with a new 32-unit townhouse development for entry-level buyers, this project is designed to meet transit goals while dramatically improving current conditions.

Villa Montgomery Apartments, Redwood City - Recognized as a Vanguard Project/Recently Completed Private Development

Villa Montgomery Apartments

This multi-family rental project has 58 very low and extremely low income units, 1250 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, and is consistent with the City’s Downtown Precise Plan, including harmonizing architecturally with nearby properties. The building was developed by First Community Housing in conjunction with city and county partners, as well as Habitat for Humanity, who built adjacent low-cost, owner-occupied townhouses. It has rooftop solar and other features that will make it the first LEED-certified multi-family building in San Mateo County.

War Memorial Community Center, Daly City – Recognized as a Vanguard Project/Recently Completed Public Development

War Memorial Community Center

Improvements to the War Memorial Community Center created a 40,000 square foot facility includes a new 7,000 square foot library, two gymnasiums, offices, sub-dividable meeting spaces, a computer lab with high speed internet, and two kitchens. Although the facility has increased in overall square footage, the site was designed to allow for landscaped open space along Mission Street. It also helped provide the catalyst for the City to design improvements to Mission Street in the “Top of the Hill” area to enhance the pedestrian/transit experience.

ECHO Phase II

The Economic and Housing Opportunities (ECHO) Assessment studies the potential to transform El Camino Real into a vibrant, multimodal corridor through the intensification of housing and employment.

ECHO Phase II focused on the implementation challenges to infill development in the El Camino Real Corridor. The report includes four case studies that address development scenarios, fiscal impacts, potential barriers to investment, and strategies for revitalization for cities along the Corridor. The four case study project areas are in Belmont, Daly City, Mountain View, and South San Francisco.

The Final Report, titled "Removing Barriers to Implementation: Economic & Housing Opportunities Phase II incorporates the findings from the case studies into a toolbox of potential strategies for use by the Corridor cities to acheive transformation of the Corridor.

ECHO Phase II Documents

Final Report: Removing Barriers to Implementation: Economic & Housing Opportunities Phase II

Individual Case Study Reports
City of Belmont
City of Daly City
City of Mountain View
City of South San Francisco

ECHO Phase II 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, the San Mateo County Transit District, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority 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.

Watch the Grand Boulevard video on Vimeo

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