For Bay Area residents, the Woodside Road Interchange has been a constant traffic jam, where cars are forced to bottleneck and merge to either enter or exit Highway 101. To mitigate this traffic headache, the is urging businesses to send it letters so the Chamber can compile and send them to the San Mateo County Transportation Authority to acknowledge the necessity of these improvements.
The Transportation Authority has issued a “Call for Projects for the Measure A Highway Program.” There is approximately $104 million in available funds generated from Measure A, or the half-cent sales tax increase that was approved by voters in 1988, then was extended for another 25 years by voter approval in 2004. The Chamber of Commerce hopes the Authority will approve funding for the Woodside Road improvements in September of this year.
“It’s a nightmare for everyone,” said Larry Buckmaster, the President and CEO of the RedwoodCity/San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce. He said employees are particularly affected.
“But even businesses at Whipple Avenue and El Camino can feel the effects of the traffic,” Buckmaster added.
Woodside Road is one of the oldest interchanges along Highway 101 and is identified as a “key congested area,” according to Jim Bigelow, the Principal Consultant at Bay Area Transportation and Housing Associates in Belmont.
Of the $104 million, $36 million is earmarked specifically for key congested areas. The city is banking on money from the Authority to analyze various options, then ultimately draw a design, which will take several years, according to Bigelow. Then the city will put the design out to contractors to bid on. Only then will the city fully know the scheduled project and funding timeline.
Improvements can range from targeting areas like Maple Street, Seaport Boulevard and all the way to Broadway to ease the congestion at the Interchange.
The Marsh Road interchange leading to the Dumbarton Bridge, for example, used to be a full clover leaf, Bigelow said, but was ultimately changed to a partial clover leaf to increase the flow of traffic.
The Woodside Road Interchange project is already listed in the Metropolitan Transportation Committee as eligible for funding from the 1988 Expenditure Plan, but the ultimate decision is a matter of priority.
What Can You Do to Encourage the Authority to Allocate Funds?
On June 1, the city submitted a one-page description to the Authority of the improvements they hoped to complete. On June 29, the city is responsible for submitting a more detailed project description, which will be bolstered by the letters businesses send. Another resolution is due in July, and the board will tentatively decide funding allocations on September 6.
Currently, 20 businesses like , have submitted letters. Buckmaster said he hopes to receive around 100 letters form the 900 businesses that belong to the Chamber. Attached is a template that businesses can use and customize, or write one of their own.
Send letters to:
Redwood City-San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce
1450 Veterans Boulevard, Suite 125, Redwood City, CA 94063
or electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org no-later than Friday, June 29.
The city has been analyzing this interchange for years and requesting improvements for over a decade, Bigelow said. In 2011, $1.4 million was spent on a study identifying the biggest “bang for our buck,” or what improvements could provide the most efficacy.
Other cities around the county are also vying for funds to improve congested areas that lie in their cities. For example, San Mateo wants Highway 101 improvements form Hillsdale to SR-92 and Menlo Park and East Palo Alto want improvements between the SR-84 and the Santa Clara County line in addition to Dumbarton Bridge access improvements. Attached is a PDF of projects originally approved by Measure A plus key congested area projects and supplemental road projects.
“The likelihood of securing approval of funds is excellent,” Bigelow said. “We just need to get all our submissions in before others do and take a proactive stance.”