July 7, 2022
  • The first new sidewalks are now open in a major reconstruction of Middlefield Road through North Fair Oaks.

    The open sidewalks and the installation of new street light poles mark a milestone in a project to create a safer street and bring neighbors and visitors to enjoy this thriving business area.

    New poles for street lights (in foreground) are being installed along the wider sidewalks. Existing power poles with overhead wires will be removed as utilities are placed underground.

    “With the new sidewalks open, this is the first opportunity for everyone to get a feel for what the finished project will look like,” said San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum, whose District 4 includes North Fair Oaks. “We have now crossed over from concept to reality.”

    Middlefield Road is one of the Peninsula’s major arteries, beginning in downtown Redwood City on its northern end. It passes through the unincorporated area of North Fair Oaks on its way through Atherton and Menlo Park and onto Santa Clara County.

    The reconstruction through North Fair Oaks is led by the County of San Mateo’s Department of Public Works. The $25 million project calls for reconfiguring Middlefield  between Pacific and Fifth avenues from four to three lanes: one travel lane in each direction with a center left turn lane.

    Additional work includes:

    • Utility undergrounding
      Crews smooth a new section of sidewalk after a concrete pour.
      Crews smooth new sidewalks after a recent concrete pour.
    • Bike lanes
    • Wider sidewalks
    • Parallel parking
    • Street features recommended by the North Fair Oaks Community Council such as benches, trees and landscaping, streetlights, trash receptacles, street art and public spaces
    • Integrating “smart” technology into features such as connected street lights, digital signage, traffic monitoring and pedestrian analytics   

    “It’s going to look beautiful,” Maria Bucio, a longtime employee at Muebleria Uruapan on Middlefield Road, said through a Spanish interpreter.

    Bucio said the furniture store, with items ranging from end tables to fine-dining tables, mattresses and more, faces intense pressure from discount and online retailers. They compete with flexible hours and customer service, she said, and now the newly redesigned Middlefield Road will create a more welcoming environment for shoppers and encourage businesses to invest in new signs and other improvements.

    Middlefield Road sidewalk issues show a utility pole in the way.
    Currently, utility poles placed amid sidewalks force pedestrians to sidestep. The project will place utilities underground, allowing the poles to be removed.

    Businesses remain open during work hours. To keep shoppers and workers safe, pedestrian areas are well marked and separated by barriers from active construction.

    The majority of the work is anticipated to be completed by December 2022. The joint utility poles will be removed after all the utility companies (Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Open 5G) have relocated their overhead cables, and installed and energized their underground lines. This phase is anticipated to be completed after the construction project is completed.

    To learn more and for a construction schedule, visit the project's home page.

    Funding for the project comes from the County’s Measure K half-cent sales tax ($12.5 million), utility companies ($8.3 million) and other sources. 
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