Our region is blessed with incredibly low unemployment (San Mateo County is hovering around 2%,) but one of the consequences of this thriving economy is lots of cars on the road. As a Belmont councilmember and resident of San Mateo County, I know that traffic congestion is one of the biggest issues we face. In 2014, the City Council signed off on the Ralston Corridor Plan which calls for a series of traffic smoothing and safety improvements. Modernized crosswalks and improved bike facilities can already be seen around town. This summer, traffic signal work will be ongoing at South Road and Ralston and in the area of Ralston Middle School on Ralston. These new signals were called for in the Plan, and we're lucky to have partners like the Belmont Redwood Shores School District and Crystal Springs Uplands School who have helped fund them. The Council has also funded the design work for pedestrian improvements on Ralston west of Alameda de las Pulgas; improvements specifically intended to make walking to Ralston Middle School safer and more comfortable for our young learners. The Council has also worked hand in hand with San Carlos, the Sequoia Union High School District, and the San Carlos School District as part of the "Four Corners Working Group" to come up with a viable plan to help smooth traffic on Alameda around Carlmont High School.
Because easing traffic congestion is so important to me, I worked hard to get appointed to the San Mateo County Transit District ("SamTrans") in 2015 and Caltrain Joint Powers Board in 2018. As Gustav Petro said, “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It's where the rich use public transportation.” Public transit already plays a vital role on the Peninsula where it keeps tens of thousands of car off our already congested highways every day. But we know we can do better. This September, SamTrans will debut a mobile ticketing/trip planning app which will help smooth the process of using bus service. An express bus study to help provide fast service to and from San Francisco and Silicon Valley is also in the works. The Board has also made it a priority to help make sure young riders have options to get to and from schools up and down the Peninsula. Also exciting is the new SFO bus "Flyover" which provides a quick and easy way for those who want to use Caltrain to get to SFO to do so without having to deal with BART and the air tram. Just recently, the SamTrans Board voted to place a desperately needed revenue measure on the November Ballot so that the District can continue to provide current levels of service while offering new, exciting, and innovative things like express bus service on 101 and El Camino Real, more routes that serve our young riders, and much, much more. Over 50% of the measure funds would be dedicated to public transit service with money also set aside for highway traffic congestion relief projects such as, potentially, 101/92 interchange improvements. The measure would also provide dedicated funds to each city up and down San Mateo County to use for road repair and, potentially, Caltrain Grade Separations.
Traffic stinks; there's no doubt about it. I'm committed to continuing my work in Belmont and the larger region to ensure we take the steps needed to disrupt traffic congestion. Onward.