Blog Monday, 2/24: Support housing at the Sequoia Station site

Feb. 25, 2023

Meeting details:

Where: Council Chambers: 1017 Middlefield Road Redwood City, CA 94063

When: Monday, February 24th at 7pm

What: Agenda item 9.A: Initiation of an amendment to the General Plan and Downtown Precise Plan for the Sequoia Station Shopping Center at 1039-1101 El Camino Real

Redwood City is currently evaluating development opportunities at Sequoia Station in Downtown Redwood City.  The Council recently designated this area the “Transit District”, as depicted below. 

Planning for Sequoia Station will be done in parallel with updated plans for the broader downtown area, and plans for major station upgrades and rail grade separations that would enable much more frequent Caltrain service and better crosstown connections. 

We’re excited about the overall opportunity for redevelopment at this site.  The Station today consists mainly of surface-level parking and a strip mall.

The redeveloped area would mix residential and office space, with a proposed 100% affordable housing component, plus ground-floor retail that preserves the existing Safeway, CVS, and more.   The upgraded station would allow the community expanded access to clean transit which reduces traffic and emissions.

However, the development as proposed would have office space for several thousand workers and only a few hundred homes. That mix would create pressure to increase prices on other housing in the downtown area, and increase the risk of displacement for lower-income people living near downtown.

The city should look to this development, and other places in the broader downtown, to provide homes to balance the jobs, and reduce the pressure on housing prices and the risk of displacing lower-income neighbors.

About the transit center, now and in the future:

Redwood City’s transit center is an essential hub for local and regional transit:  

  • Currently, the station accommodates 5 Caltrain trains per direction per hour during rush periods, and is expected to accommodate 6 per hour when Caltrain starts electric service by 2023. Caltrain’s plans through the end of the decade have the station increasing capacity to up to 8 trains per direction per hour.
  • The high cost of living on the Peninsula currently results in many of the region’s workers commuting in from elsewhere via Caltrain or other future transit solutions like a Dumbarton rail bridge.  

Redwood City’s rail station needs to alter its footprint in order to accommodate additional Caltrain service and a link to the proposed Dumbarton light rail train.  As such, this development opportunity at Sequoia Station is perfectly timed. The area can be redeveloped just once and is then primed for future needs of the community, including existing and future residents, commuters and workers, and transit agencies.

Next steps:

Please join us at this and future council meetings, to support more homes in this development and the broader downtown area.

Especially if you can’t make it in person, please also engage with your local elected officials and Councilmembers to reinforce the importance of including additional housing as this area is redeveloped. You can email the council at:

The City’s staff report also includes the following proposed next steps:

  • Spring 2020: Technical studies begin for railway operations and land needs on the Transit District
  • Summer 2020: Community outreach for the Transit District on goals, land uses, and connections. Sequoia Station project is revised to conform to the Transit District proposal.
  • Fall 2020: Technical studies are completed and environmental review begins, including the Sequoia Station project.
  • Winter 2020 and 2021 – Community engagement continues along with environmental studies and further refinements of the Sequoia Station project to address transit needs and community input.