What are we doing?
The Grand Boulevard Initiative is an historic collaboration of more than 30 different cities, agencies and other organizations working together to transform the El Camino Real Corridor into a people friendly place and realize the full potential of one of our region’s major thoroughfares.
Why are we doing it?
We want El Camino Real to achieve its full potential as a place for residents to work, live and shop, creating links between communities that promote walking and transit and an improved and meaningful quality of life.
Joint Venture coordinates this effort with four partners: City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG), San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), and SAMCEDA (San Mateo County Economic Development Association). The work is overseen by the Grand Boulevard Initiative Task Force, which includes all cities and counties along El Camino Real between San Jose and Daly City; representatives of the housing, developer, labor, and environmental communities; business leaders; transit providers; and the regional and state agencies having responsibility for the Corridor. SamTrans General Manager Jim Hartnett and Joint Venture CEO Russell Hancock co-chair the Task Force. A Working Committee of agency staff and Community Leaders Roundtable of community-based organizations also support the Task Force and Grand Boulevard Initiative efforts. The 19 cities and two counties along the Corridor, as well as the five sponsoring organizations, have adopted the Grand Boulevard Initiative Guiding Principles, which articulate the shared values of the group for development along El Camino Real.
What are the latest developments?
- The Grand Boulevard Initiative: Creating Safe and Healthy Corridor Communities Project received a grant in June 2016 of nearly $350,000 through the 2016 Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant Program to design bicycle, pedestrian, and transit improvements on El Camino Real in Redwood City and Palo Alto. The grant is a critical first step in revitalizing the roadway to realize its full potential, addressing safety issues, and implementing the Grand Boulevard Initiative Vision of people friendly places. Project work will begin in mid-2016, with project completion by early 2019.
- As of June 2016, the Grand Boulevard Initiative has received $9.1 million in grants funds for implementation, planning, and community outreach efforts to realize the Vision of Corridor transformation and support the 10 Guiding Principles. Nearly two-thirds of this funding has been programmed to implement physical transformation of the El Camino Real Corridor from Daly City to San Jose.
- Pedestrian, bicycle, and transit improvements are coming to El Camino Real. Grand Boulevard Initiative’s TIGER II Complete Streets case study designs are being implemented, making it easier and safer for people to walk, bike, and take transit in the Corridor. The City of San Carlos implemented their case study design in early 2016 and the City of South San Francisco will receive final design approval in Fall 2016, with construction beginning in 2017.
- Grand Boulevard Initiative actively participated in the Bay Area Congestion Management Agency-Caltrans Working Group that informed key revisions to the Highway Design Manual to improve the design approval process for urban highway complete streets projects.
- The Grand Boulevard Initiative Activity Along the Corridor Story Map highlights action, future progress, and member agency achievements along the El Camino Real Corridor and serves as an interactive, visual map representation of the land use development and transportation projects and plans that have been completed or are in progress since inception of the Initiative in 2006. The Story Map is a unique communication tools and data source to inform Corridor transformation and decision-making.
- The Economic and Housing Opportunities Assessment (ECHO) Phase II Report addressed the challenges facing communities in attracting new infill development and presented concrete tools and actions for cities to: 1) plan for vibrant activity nodes, 2) align land use regulations with market and physical conditions, and 3) coordination public and private investment. The Report has informed local land use planning documents, which embody the type of transit-supportive development envisioned through Grand Boulevard Initiative.
- The Infrastructure Needs Assessments and Financing Strategy set the stage for multi-jurisdictional infrastructure financing and provided guidance on managing the planned intensification of the El Camino Real Corridor. The Study has positioned communities to move forward with planning, engineering, and financing activities to achieve the Grand Boulevard Initiative Vision.
- The Initiative participated in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission-funded State Route 82 Relinquishment Exploration Study, which defines the Caltrans relinquishment process, potential benefits, and estimated costs associated with relinquishing the highway from state ownership to local jurisdictions.
- Partners developed the Message Platform to support the Initiative’s community engagement and empower Task Force, Working Committee, and Community Leaders Roundtable members with the tools and message strategies to engage in civic discourse with residents and the business community on how the Corridor communities can grow in a sustainable way. The Grand Boulevard Initiative website also was updated to promote enhanced community involvement.
- The Grand Boulevard Initiative Social Media Program has been vital in engaging community members and provides a forum for input from individuals not previously targeted. Between March 2015 and 2016, subscribers to the social media accounts have nearly doubled.
What are the next steps?
- Grand Boulevard Initiative staff and Working Committee Members are developing the Grand Boulevard Initiative Housing Toolkit to support cities in addressing housing affordability in the El Camino Real Corridor and serve as a resource for program and implementation tools to preserve and promote housing at all income levels.
- Grand Boulevard Initiative will host the 2016 Grand Boulevard Initiative Awards Program to showcase projects and plans that embody the 10 Guiding Principles and Vision. Awards will be presented in December 2016.
- Caltrans and Grand Boulevard Initiative are partnered on a Stakeholder Outreach Plan to implement the Message Platform and disseminate Corridor lessons learned on complete street design, economic infill development strategies, and innovative financing approaches, as well as the understanding of improved statewide design flexibility to support local implementation of the Grand Boulevard Initiative Vision.
- The Initiative is tracking funding opportunities for Vision implementation, including Cap & Trade Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities funding directed at housing and transit infrastructure, and Value Capture mechanisms, such as Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFD).
- Grand Boulevard Initiative will continue to support local jurisdictions as they implement bicycle, pedestrian, and transit improvements to the El Camino Real Corridor.
- The Task Force continues to meet quarterly to discuss policy and planning issues and to receive updates on the work program and priority initiatives.
Where do I find out more?
Progress on this initiative is reported in detail on the Grand Boulevard Initiative website.
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