News

County embarks on project to renovate Middlefield Road through North Fair Oaks

In the works since 2013, the half-mile project is estimated to cost nearly $29 million

A rendering of what the proposed improvements to a half-mile stretch of Middlefield Road between 5th Avenue and Pacific Avenue will look like when completed. The county of San Mateo is currently accepting bids for the project. Courtesy AECOM/County of San Mateo

Years in the making, a San Mateo County Public Works project to overhaul a busy half-mile of Middlefield Road through North Fair Oaks is out to bid now. Construction is set to start in the spring.

The project, currently estimated to cost $28.9 million, will narrow the hectic stretch of the road between Pacific Avenue and Fifth Avenue from a four-lane road to a three-lane one, with a center turn lane and one lane in each direction.

In addition, the county will widen sidewalks to 12 feet, reconfigure parking so that it is parallel rather than angled, and add buffered 6.5-foot-wide bike lanes. Other elements of the project include replacing sewers from Douglas Avenue to Sixth Avenue and putting overhead utilities underground from MacArthur Avenue to Fifth Avenue.

New trees, stormwater-absorbing gardens, bike racks and road and pedestrian lights are also planned. To improve pedestrian safety, the county plans to extend curbs at intersections and add high visibility crosswalks with flashing lights to alert drivers when pedestrians are crossing.

The county Board of Supervisors first started funding the project back in July 2013, according to Ann Stillman, deputy director of engineering and resource protection with the county's public works department. At that point, the project was estimated to cost $12.5 million and had a more limited scope, focused mainly on safety improvements and signage, according to county reports.

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Approval for the project involved working with many local, state and federal agencies, as well as Union Pacific Railroad and getting all of the necessary permits and licensing agreements from those agencies was time-consuming, Stillman explained in an email.

It's a big project, and construction is likely to cause some disruptions, she noted.

To minimize impacts to the road, the plan is for construction work to take place on only one side of Middlefield Road, in segments of two blocks at a time. Delivery and service vehicles will continue to have access to businesses, and emergency vehicle access will be provided, according to county staff.

Over the years the project has been in development, public input was collected from about 2,100 people, who indicated favor for wider sidewalks, bike lanes and parallel parking, according to the county website. The main concerns people raised during the approval process were about the impacts the project will have on on-street parking and about the impacts to businesses during construction, Stillman said.

The project is set to eliminate about 50 parking spots, but the county has already added 43 parking spots at the surface lot at Middlefield Road and Second Avenue, and planned to add 16 more at the Berkshire Road and Huntington Avenue.

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The timing of construction may be hard on small businesses along Middlefield Road, given the pandemic's ongoing toll.

"The business situation is currently extremely precarious for many," said Everardo Rodriguez, chair of the North Fair Oaks Community Council, when the project was discussed in November.

The county's Office of Community Affairs is planning outreach to the community to keep residents informed about the project and what kinds of disruptions to expect via website, text, signage, social media and items like door hangers or posters, according to Jose Moreno, management analyst with the county.

Community council member Blair Whitney also suggested using one of the billboards along the project stretch to alert residents about the project's progress.

The deadline for bids to be received is Jan. 14 at 2:30 p.m. Construction is estimated to begin between February and April and last 12 to 18 months, Stillman said.

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County embarks on project to renovate Middlefield Road through North Fair Oaks

In the works since 2013, the half-mile project is estimated to cost nearly $29 million

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:39 am

Years in the making, a San Mateo County Public Works project to overhaul a busy half-mile of Middlefield Road through North Fair Oaks is out to bid now. Construction is set to start in the spring.

The project, currently estimated to cost $28.9 million, will narrow the hectic stretch of the road between Pacific Avenue and Fifth Avenue from a four-lane road to a three-lane one, with a center turn lane and one lane in each direction.

In addition, the county will widen sidewalks to 12 feet, reconfigure parking so that it is parallel rather than angled, and add buffered 6.5-foot-wide bike lanes. Other elements of the project include replacing sewers from Douglas Avenue to Sixth Avenue and putting overhead utilities underground from MacArthur Avenue to Fifth Avenue.

New trees, stormwater-absorbing gardens, bike racks and road and pedestrian lights are also planned. To improve pedestrian safety, the county plans to extend curbs at intersections and add high visibility crosswalks with flashing lights to alert drivers when pedestrians are crossing.

The county Board of Supervisors first started funding the project back in July 2013, according to Ann Stillman, deputy director of engineering and resource protection with the county's public works department. At that point, the project was estimated to cost $12.5 million and had a more limited scope, focused mainly on safety improvements and signage, according to county reports.

Approval for the project involved working with many local, state and federal agencies, as well as Union Pacific Railroad and getting all of the necessary permits and licensing agreements from those agencies was time-consuming, Stillman explained in an email.

It's a big project, and construction is likely to cause some disruptions, she noted.

To minimize impacts to the road, the plan is for construction work to take place on only one side of Middlefield Road, in segments of two blocks at a time. Delivery and service vehicles will continue to have access to businesses, and emergency vehicle access will be provided, according to county staff.

Over the years the project has been in development, public input was collected from about 2,100 people, who indicated favor for wider sidewalks, bike lanes and parallel parking, according to the county website. The main concerns people raised during the approval process were about the impacts the project will have on on-street parking and about the impacts to businesses during construction, Stillman said.

The project is set to eliminate about 50 parking spots, but the county has already added 43 parking spots at the surface lot at Middlefield Road and Second Avenue, and planned to add 16 more at the Berkshire Road and Huntington Avenue.

The timing of construction may be hard on small businesses along Middlefield Road, given the pandemic's ongoing toll.

"The business situation is currently extremely precarious for many," said Everardo Rodriguez, chair of the North Fair Oaks Community Council, when the project was discussed in November.

The county's Office of Community Affairs is planning outreach to the community to keep residents informed about the project and what kinds of disruptions to expect via website, text, signage, social media and items like door hangers or posters, according to Jose Moreno, management analyst with the county.

Community council member Blair Whitney also suggested using one of the billboards along the project stretch to alert residents about the project's progress.

The deadline for bids to be received is Jan. 14 at 2:30 p.m. Construction is estimated to begin between February and April and last 12 to 18 months, Stillman said.

Comments

Twentse
Registered user
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jan 8, 2021 at 1:36 pm
Twentse, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2021 at 1:36 pm
Like this comment

It's about time! We gave so much input and then it took a good seven years. Wow! Anyway, there is hope.


BumpyRoad
Registered user
Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jan 8, 2021 at 7:57 pm
BumpyRoad, Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
Registered user
on Jan 8, 2021 at 7:57 pm
Like this comment

Great to see the county spending some money there!!! The article said "Approval for the project involved working with many local, state and federal agencies, as well as Union Pacific Railroad...". Does this mean that the railroad crossing near Pacific Avenue and Northside Avenue is going to be improved, or left as is? Note that there are actually 3 sets of railroad tracks located there, and that 'triple crossing' (if you will) has been TERRIBLY rough for at least 30 years. Hope to God someone improves those crossings. Along the same line (no pun intended) the north/east-bound RR crossing at Marsh Road could use some attention as well. If I'm not mistaken, SamTrans owns the old Dumbarton Rail Corridor, but SamTrans won't maintain the crossings. For some confusing legal reason, UPRR is still responsible for maintaining the crossings at 2nd, 5th, Marsh, Chilco, and Willow, at least as far as I know. Most of these crossings are horrible and they should be better maintained, especially given the huge number of cars that use these crossings daily. But UPRR doesn't really care, and why would they? It's pretty much an old defunct rail line that doesn't earn them any real money. I still don't understand why SamTrans doesn't just assume full ownership and then fix those crossings. Such a bureaucratic disaster.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Jan 9, 2021 at 8:58 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Jan 9, 2021 at 8:58 am
Like this comment

This is just going to force more traffic onto an already overcrowded El Camino. Brilliant.


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