Blog Tonight at 5:30pm: San Mateo’s City Council considers more affordable homes, plus a potential loss of homes to a freeway ramp

Feb. 3, 2023

What: Tonight, San Mateo’s City Council is meeting for a special study session to discuss two important items related to housing.

Where: City Hall Conference Room C at 330 W. 20th Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94403

When: Monday, February 3rd at 5:30pm

There are two topics at this study session that we’re interested in:

1. Affordable homes downtown

San Mateo has a great affordable housing project in the pipeline, proposed for two adjacent downtown parcels at 480 E. 4th Avenue and 400 E. 5th Avenue.  The City chose MidPen Housing, a local affordable housing developer, for the site.

The City and MidPen Housing are exploring the implications of recently-passed AB 1763, which is a new state law that allows 100% affordable housing projects to benefit from greater height/density when they’re near transit.  At tonight’s meeting, the city will discuss the consequences of increasing the number of units at this project site from 164 to 225. We’d love to see this affordable project grow in this way, given the lack of affordable units in the area.

MidPen Housing believes the impact of the additional units will be minimal since a majority of the proposed additional units will be studio apartments.  They expect that a lot of demand for these units will come from seniors and other residents who are less likely to own cars — especially since the site is in Downtown San Mateo and close to several transit stops.

We’re so excited to see this project proposed, especially with the “density bonus” that’s up for discussion.  Please join us in voicing your support for this fantastic development, including the additional homes.  

Unfortunately, the second item up for discussion at the study session involves a potential loss of units:

2. Peninsula Ave Interchange Project

The City of San Mateo is exploring whether to move the existing Highway 101 on- and off-ramps from Poplar Ave. to the interchange at Peninsula Avenue.

The Poplar ramps, as they function today, do present safety concerns especially since they route traffic directly through a residential area that’s adjacent to the highway.  

However, as indicated in the city’s Agenda Report, the city is considering whether it needs to acquire 28 parcels of land in order to move the ramps as described.  Materials on the project website seem to show that homes would be removed:

Please join us in asking the city for additional detail on the parcel acquisition proposal, including the number of homes that would be affected.  We’d also like to know what the city plans for affected residents (especially sensitive populations like renters), and we’d like to encourage solutions that don’t displace people.

Can’t make it tonight?  Please reach out to the City Council at