Grand Boulevard receives $1M grantBy Zach Stahl
The Grand Boulevard Initiative has received over a $1 million federal grant that could support pedestrian-friendly streets and transit-oriented development along El Camino Real in Millbrae.
On Oct. 20 the US Department of Transportation announced the release of $600 million worth of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II grants, including $1.1 million for the Grand Boulevard Initiative, a collaboration of city and government leaders spanning San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
"We are always happy to have money," said Millbrae Councilwoman Gina Papan, who represents the city on the Grand Boulevard Task Force. "There are areas where we could definitely use funding."
The US Department of Transportation selected only 33 projects out of 700 applicants, said Program Manager Corrine Goodrich. "This funding will help advance the work that will bring the Grand Boulevard project closer to reality," she said.
She said the grant will supply planning toward four areas: designing segments of El Camino Real to better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists, assessing economic and housing development opportunities along the Highway 82 corridor from Daly City to downtown San Jose, studying what infrastructure needs exist, and exploring financing prospects.
"[The grant] comes to us but it's really going to benefit the cities," Goodrich said, explaining that the design work and infrastructure evaluation will pave the way for local projects that support the Grand Boulevard vision. To receive a grant, cities would be asked to contribute funds to cause, she said.
Papan said Millbrae would like funding to improve pedestrian safety at crosswalks and develop water-efficient landscaping along El Camino Real.
"Millbrae is actually the widest part of El Camino in San Mateo County," she said.
Established in 2006, the multi-jurisdictional initiative has helped fund capital projects in Millbrae, San Bruno, San Mateo, San Carlos and Daly City, Goodrich said. The Millbrae grant is going toward signal crossing improvements near the BART station, while the San Bruno project included median and crossing upgrades near its BART stop, Papan said.
Last month the Grand Boulevard Task Force approved its Multimodal Transportation Corridor Plan, which aims to "guide the transformation of El Camino Real into a pedestrian and transit friendly, high-performing multimodal arterial where all modes of transportation move efficiently and safely."
The task force will be asking cities in both counties to endorse the plan in coming months, Goodrich said.
Millbrae and other San Mateo County cities are already moving forward with developments that are consistent with the Grand Boulevard vision.
Examples include mixed-use projects such as 88 South Broadway and Park Broadway along El Camino Real in Millbrae.
The city is also looking to redevelop 116 acres around the BART/Caltrain station to include homes, a movie theater, retail and office space. "That is a big part of our economic future," Papan said.
Copyright ©2010 Millbrae Patch. Published 10/26/2010.