Connect the Coastside

Read answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Connect the Coastside below. For more FAQs, please review the August 20, 2020 Response to May and June Virtual Meeting Inquiries.

What does the plan do?

The plan includes a wide range of improvements, which address the present and future mobility needs of Coastside communities. The plan broadly seeks to:

  • Improve existing traffic conditions and public safety
  • Expand transportation choices for residents and visitors
  • Encourage environmentally friendly options, such as walking, biking and public transit
  • Respect the character of Midcoast communities and protect coastal resources
  • Maintain and improve access to coastal resources for both residents and visitors
Why is the plan needed?

The County’s Local Coastal Program (LCP) requires the development of a comprehensive transportation management plan to address the future transportation needs of Coastside communities. As new development occurs, transportation improvements will be planned and constructed to address traffic impacts.

Which communities are included in the plan?

The plan focuses on the areas surrounding Highway 1 and State Route 92 on the San Mateo County Coastside. The plan’s study area includes the unincorporated communities of Montara, Moss Beach, El Granada, Princeton and Miramar.

How is the plan funded? How will future projects be paid for?

The plan provides cost estimates for recommended improvements and identifies potential sources of funding. Improvements may be paid for using a mix of County funding, regional or statewide grants and the recommended Transportation Impact Mitigation Fee. 

For a list of potential grant programs and funds, please see the Funding and Implementation Sources section (starting on p. 183) in Chapter 8 of the Plan. 

How does Connect the Coastside promote roadway safety?

Connect the Coastside proposes many infrastructure projects that will make walking, biking, and driving on the Midcoast safer for both residents and visitors. The plan addresses safety by analyzing existing conditions and developing improvement strategies. Some examples of proposed projects that promote roadway safety are: 

  • Turn lanes
  • Standardized paved shoulders
  • Intersection controls (such as roundabouts or signals)
  • Bike lanes
  • Sidewalks
  • Curb extensions
  • Crosswalks
How does Connect the Coastside help reduce the number of drivers on the road?

Connect the Coastside recommends projects that will increase transportation options, which can help to reduce the number of drivers on the road.

The way land is used has a significant impact on travel patterns. Midcoast communities are mostly low density, suburban and residential. Small commercial areas can be found along Highway 1 in each of the Midcoast communities. This type of community layout encourages automobile trips. A range of other factors also encourage driving on the Midcoast, including:

  • The configuration of local streets
  • Limited access provided by Highway 1 and State Route 92
  • Distance from major job centers and local services
  • A lack of multi-modal transportation choices

Many of the recommended projects will increase transportation choices for residents and visitors. Bike lanes, sidewalks, trail improvements and safe crossings will make it easier and safer for people to walk or take their bike. Investments in bus stops and increased bus service will help reduce traffic and encourage people to take public transit. Improving safe routes to schools will provide parents and students alternatives to driving to school, such as walking and bicycling.

What is the process to get a project funded, designed, permitted and built?

Each of the transportation-related projects proposed in Connect the Coastside will require separate funding, design, permitting, environmental review, and construction. Local governments often seek grant funding to prepare project designs. More detailed information about each project will be necessary to collect and evaluate before any required permitting or environmental review can start.

Many projects will require a Coastal Development Permit issued by the County of San Mateo. Projects will need to be evaluated based on the California Environmental Quality Act as part of the Coastal Development Permit process.

Once a project is funded, designed, and permitted, the County can implement it or seek a contractor to support construction. This competitive public process allows construction companies to compete for a project by responding to a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the County. Once a contract is awarded, the contractor can begin to build the project.

Projects identified through Connect the Coastside will take place in phases, as funding becomes available. While some projects or parts of projects could be implemented fairly quickly, some projects will take  time to get through all of the steps required. Implementing transportation projects can be challenging, due to the variety of funding sources, environmental concerns and the permitting process.

It is anticipated that many projects identified in this plan will be implemented independently as stand-alone projects. However, some projects or parts of projects will instead be incorporated into other transportation or non-transportation projects on the Midcoast. This may include projects under the Caltrans State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP), San Mateo County maintenance, operational, and preservation projects, land use developments, or major infrastructure modifications.

How does Connect the Coastside relate to the Coastal Act and Local Coastal Program (LCP)?

The California Coastal Act and the San Mateo County Local Coastal Program (LCP) guided the creation of Connect the Coastside and will continue to guide the implementation of the plan after adoption.

Adopted in 1976, the California Coastal Act is a state law that directs the planning and management of the California coastal zone, the statewide stretch of coastline along the Pacific Ocean. The Coastal Act establishes a number of foundational goals that aim to protect the coastal environment and ensure maximum public access to the coast. The California Coastal Commission and local governments are responsible for carrying out the Coastal Act and for coastal management. The implementation of Coastal Act policies is accomplished primarily through the preparation of Local Coastal Programs (LCPs), which are required to be completed by all cities and counties located in the coastal zone.

San Mateo County’s Local Coastal Program (LCP) is used to guide development in the coastal zone while protecting coastal resources. Any and all development projects in the Coastal Zone require either a Coastal Development Permit or an exemption from Coastal Development Permit requirements. For a permit to be issued, the development must comply with the policies of the Local Coastal Program (LCP). The proposals in Connect the Coastside were evaluated and found to be consistent with the broad policies of the Local Coastal Program.

In 2011, the Board of Supervisors adopted significant amendments to San Mateo County’s Local Coastal Program regarding the Midcoast. One of these amendments was Policy 2.53, which called for the preparation of a “Comprehensive Transportation Management Plan” to address the cumulative impacts of Midcoast development. Connect the Coastside is designed to fulfill the requirements of Policy 2.53 and inform the County’s implementation of several other components of the Local Coastal Program, including the public works and new development components. Some of the standards proposed in Connect the Coastside, such as the Delay Index, need to be incorporated into the Local Coastal Program through an amendment.