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Homes in San Carlos: How Big is Too Big?


THE Hot Topic in San Carlos.

For the first time in many years, the hottest topic in the local real estate market is probably no longer about the price of homes in San Carlos.  Now, the lightning rod of discussion seems to be focused a the size and density of homes in San Carlos.

Thanks in large part to the resurgent local economy, many homeowners along the Peninsula now have quite a bit more discretionary income to invest in their homes — money that they didn’t have when we were trudging through the years of the Recession. Consequently, it seems as if you can drive down just about any street in San Carlos and see a major remodeling project underway. And it’s the sheer size of some of homes that are being built – perfectly legally, mind you —  that has created a groundswell of opposition that has reverberated all the way to the San Carlos City Council.

History: Lot Coverage.

Back in 2011, the City of San Carlos opted to increase the maximum lot coverage* for most residential zoning from 40% to 50%. I say “most” because the formula for maximum lot coverage is not a simple multiplication factor – it depends on the slope of the lot, and the zoning that is assigned to the parcel. If you’re truly interested in the guidelines regarding lot coverage, building height, and property-line setbacks, look at Section 18 of the San Carlos Municipal Code.)  The decision to increase the maximum threshold was in response to homeowner’s desire to be able to build larger homes in a landscape that is defined by smaller than average lots.

*”Lot coverage includes all structures greater than 18″ in height including decks, covered porches and accessory buildings — it does not include on-grade pavement, trellises open 50% or more to light and air, or portable items such as BBQ’s, umbrellas, or removable canopies.” — City of San Carlos

Unlike the neighboring communities to the south like Redwood City, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto that have been subdivided with larger lot sizes, the average lot sizes in San Carlos are generally on the smaller size, especially in the desirable sections in the flatlands of San Carlos close to downtown. It’s not uncommon to see 4,400 square foot lots throughout many streets in the White Oaks, Oak Park, and Howard Park neighborhoods.

The effect of the larger lot coverage cap was probably not felt in the city right away. This is simply because it takes 1-2 years to go from an idea to a finished product when you’re talking about a significant house remodel, and frankly the economy had not recovered sufficiently to fund such a project for many homeowners.

But in the last several years, the rate of development in residential neighborhoods has increased almost exponentially, and the size of the homes that are being built has some neighbors very concerned.

Increased Density.

Home size is not the only concern for some residents. There are a few select pockets in the flats of San Carlos that enjoy larger than normal lot sizes — some 10,000 or larger. It doesn’t take a PhD in Mathematics to figure out that a developer can make a tidy profit by purchasing a small home on a large lot, then subdivide the lot and build two brand new homes in its place.

The objection to this practice arises when two larger homes get stuffed into a lot where one smaller home once stood — thus creating a marked difference in the density and character of the neighborhood.

When you combine the two elements together — house size and house density — it has rapidly become one of the most talked about issues in all of San Carlos.  And it’s a battleground that can and will pit neighbor versus neighbor.

Planning Commission Meeting – Monday June 6.

These concerns have raised sufficient visibility at the Planning Commission and City Council level that they both will become discussion items at the next San Carlos Planning Commission meeting, which will take place on Monday June 6 in the Council Chambers in City Hall.

From what I have read on the various social media outlets like NextDoor and Facebook, there will be a significant public turnout at this meeting to voice their opinions for and against the current residential building regulations.  The agenda for Mondays meeting can be downloaded by clicking here: San Carlos Planning Meeting: June 6.

What are your thoughts?

Where do you stand on this discussion?  Are the guidelines that are in place conducive to building homes that are out of character for San Carlos? Should the City of San Carlos revise the maximum guidelines back downward to the 2011 standards?

Or, are the regulations fine as they are now?

Voice your opinion in the comment section on this post, and register your vote in the poll at the top of the site.

Regardless of where you stand, this issue has the potential to be the most significant public discussions since the outsourcing of the police and fire department services several years ago. If you want your opinion to be heard either way, Monday night’s meeting may be a good start.

Update:  Here’s a good article on the same topic that was published after this post was written in the San Mateo Daily Journal: Split Large Lots, Big Homes Rile Neighbors.

Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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San Carlos Farmer’s Market Debuts this Sunday.

SC Farmers Market Logo 2016

Formerly Hot Harvest Nights.

A few months ago, after numerous discussions with local business owners, and after soliciting input from the citizens of San Carlos, the Chamber of Commerce made the decision to discontinue the popular Hot Harvest Nights outdoor market. This event ran every Thursday night during the summer months along the northern blocks of Laurel Street, and has always been very well attended by people from all over the mid-peninsula.

The rationale behind the move, among several reasons, was that blocking off Laurel Street every Thursday night was having an adverse effect on the dinner revenue for restaurants along that stretch. Thursday night has become one of the busier dining nights in downtown San Carlos, especially in the summer months. The Chamber also wanted to make it more of a “tradtional” farmer’s market like people are accustomed to in neighboring communities like Belmont and San Mateo.

So the Chamber is proud to announce that this Sunday the brand new San Carlos Farmer’s Market will make its debut in downtown San Carlos! The Farmer’s Market will run every Sunday from 10AM – 2PM along the same stretch of Laurel Street. Stop by and support this great outdoor market, and help continue the great tradition of Hot Harvest Nights!


SC Farmers Market Logo 2016

Carrots under bright canopy

Smoked Fish

Rodriguez Farms Strawberries

Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Love Your Home – While You’re Still In It.


Show It Some Love.

How many times have you seen someone work so hard to get their home all primped up and perfectly dialed in — just in time to sell it?  The paint is perfect inside and out, the landscaping is refreshed, the windows are clean, and even the furniture in the house has been strategically aligned to make the house look like it belongs in Sunset Magazine?  You see it all the time, right?

Well, the seller of one of my recent listings noted that exact phenomenon, but added this very brilliant observation:

Why don’t people do this while they’re still living in the house? 

Seriously — why not do this while you’re still living in the home so that you can fall in love with your home again and enjoy the transformation, and not just make it perfect for the next owner?

It’s an interesting idea, and there are probably a hundred different reasons why people don’t do it.  Here are just a few:

  • They think it’s too expensive.
  • They don’t have the time.
  • They don’t want to invest the money and then have the kids trash it the very next day.
  • They don’t know who to call to do the work.
  • …..and so on.

I help my clients do this all the time when they are getting their homes ready to sell, so I’m a great resource to help line up the right people to spruce your home up — even if it’s just getting your windows and screens cleaned, or having someone come in an make your tired landscaping POP again. I’ve got someone for just about any task you could possibly think of.

From a cost standpoint, it’s often much less than you think it is, too. Cleaning an entire household of windows (inside and out) along with screens runs no more than a couple hundred dollars, and they look spectacular when they’re done.  There’s no way you can do all that yourself for that cheap and make them look so good.

The same goes with painting.  Nothing freshens up the inside of a house like a new coat of paint. If you really want to make a dramatic splash, try a bold NEW color! Interior painting is quick and easy if you have a good crew. They can literally transform the inside of your house while you’re gone for a weekend.

Even your deck needs love every so often. There are few things that have a more dramatic visual effect than power-washing and re-staining a deck.  It will actually make you want to use it that much more often.

Get ‘er Done.

As we approach the summer months, it’s the perfect time to take on these “transformation projects”.  Many of the real estate related trades slow down during June-August, so it’s much easier to book and schedule them. With some intelligent scheduling, you’d be amazed at what can be accomplished in a very short amount of time.

For my most recent listing, we literally had 4 different crews working on the house, simultaneously when we could get away with it, and we completely transformed the entire property (inside and out) in less than a week.

Think about it — you head out for your summer vacation, and come back to what feels like a brand new house! It’s easier than you think, and only a single phone call away.

Interested? Contact me!

Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Dwell Realtors to Sponsor Beach Volleyball at Hometown Days


1st Annual Beach Volleyball Tournament.

San Carlos is a pretty physically fit town.  Every year, it seems like more and more athletic teams are popping up across the city, and there are numerous leagues for us older weekend warriors to kid ourselves that we can actually still compete in athletic events.

So along that vein, Dwell Realtors is proud to announce that we will be sponsoring the first in what we hope will be an annual event at San Carlos Hometown Days: Beach Volleyball

That’s right, for the first time in Hometown Days history there will be an organized, two-person team volleyball tournament right out on the main lawn area!  Pool play starts on Saturday, with the semi-finals and finals taking place on Sunday.  Each team is guaranteed at least two games and endless amounts of fun.

Sign-ups are required in advance, and there are a limited number of spots still available. There will be two flights of teams, based upon ability and experience.  To find out more information and register for the tournament, click on the Dwell Realtors Beach Volleyball Site, and click the “Sign Up Here” tab at the top.

Here’s a quick summary of the event:

Who:  Everyone, ages 13 – Adult
What:  A beach volleyball tournament (played on grass), with two-man teams organized into different flights based on experience and skill level.
When:  San Carlos Hometown Days, May 21 & 22
Where:  Main lawn area, Burton Park.
Why: Seriously?

Best of all, the cost is absolutely free to showcase your awesome (or somewhat lesser) volleyball skills.  See you on the field at Hometown Days!

Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Saint Francis Way Traffic Calming: Too Much of a Good Idea?


Solving a Chronic Problem.

Traffic density and speeding on neighborhood streets have both been problematic issues in San Carlos for many years — it has certainly been that way for the 27 years that I have lived here, and very likely even longer. These problems stem from two main causes: The rapid growth that this city has encountered since it was first founded, and the design and layout of the streets that traverse city.

During the latter half of the past century, San Carlos grew by leaps and bounds as neighborhood subdivisions sprouted up on the west side of Alameda where once there were only farmland and pastures. Even the high school was razed in favor of more houses up on the hill. And most recently, the booming tech economy has effectively pushed the population of San Carlos to all-time highs.

But despite this huge increase in population, the streets of San Carlos remain largely unchanged from the way they were originally designed. This is especially true in the flats, where the majority of the traffic that travels across San Carlos ultimately goes down just a handful of streets.  San Carlos Avenue, Brittan Avenue, Howard Avenue, Saint Francis Way, and Eaton Avenues handle most of the traffic that runs toward downtown — while Elm Street, Cedar Street and Alameda de las Pulgas, and Crestview Drive are the main thoroughfares for traffic that runs parallel to El Camino.

If you happen to live on any one of these streets, then you already know that dealing with the sheer density of traffic and the accompanying speed is a daily challenge.

I know this firsthand — I have had two of my own cars plowed into while they were parked in front of my house. One of the cars suffered significant damage, the other was completely totaled (along with the other two cars involved in the “accident.”) Both mishaps were attributed to excessive speed. So I get the frustration, believe me.

Calming Measures.

During the years of budget deficit that eventually led up to the outsourcing of police services to the San Mateo Sheriff’s Department, traffic enforcement was cut to save money and headcount. But even with a fully staffed traffic enforcement department, monitoring these chronically busy and fast streets full time with live bodies was simply not practical, so the city began investigating other “passive” ways to slow down the traffic in residential neighborhoods. >>> Click Here to Read the Full Post

Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Sheriff’s Department Issues Car Burglary Alert in San Carlos


“Smash and Grabs” on the Rise.

The San Carlos Police Bureau of the San Mateo Sheriff’s Department issued a city-wide alert yesterday warning residents and shoppers about a rise in auto burglaries in the downtown shopping district of San Carlos. This is not a new issue, as vehicle break-ins have been a persistent problem in areas that are in close proximity to Highway 101, like the San Carlos Plaza parking lot (Best Buy, Home Goods) and across the freeway at in the parking lot shared by Izzy’s and the hotel. These areas were prime targets because they allowed thieves a quick exit path to the freeway.

But this recent rash of break-ins has prompted the yet another advisory.

As the police have outlined in the alert below, thieves are resorting to punching out windows and grabbing anything of value in the car — phones, laptops, briefcases — especially if they are left in plain sight. But because the police suspect that thieves are “lying in wait,” they may see potential targets put their valuables out of sight or lock them in the trunk, so they will still break into the car as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

It’s unfortunate to have to post this kind of bad news on the site, but it’s far better to be forewarned than to become a victim.  Here is the Sheriff’s Department alert in its entirety:

In the recent week, there have been numerous auto burglaries throughout the various parking plazas where side windows are smashed and purses, laptops, briefcases and luggage has been taken.  All though these recent incidents were between 5 & 8 pm, this type of theft is also happening during the daytime as well.
The common methods thieves have been using recently are to park in parking lots and watch people as they exit their vehicles.  The victims themselves unknowingly assist the thieves by some of the following actions;

•         Women exit their vehicles and then re-enter the car to put their purse or handbag under the front seat or in the back seat and cover it with a coat.
•         Travelers on business trips will exit the car and place their briefcase/luggage in the back seat or trunk.
•         Laptops and other electronic devices are left in plain view on the front seat
•         Shoppers will carry packages and purchased items back to their vehicle and place them in the back seat or trunk and then return to shopping.
•         Business people at the end of the day “carpool” to dinner from work and upon parking their car, they leave their briefcases and laptops on the seat and cover them with their business coats.

Each of the above scenarios occurred this week.  Times have changed and motorists need to be more aware of their surroundings and their own actions.  There is a reason why one vehicle is targeted over another…..opportunity.  Next time you reach to place your wallets under the front seat beware that this seemingly innocent action might be all the thief is looking for.

San Carlos as well as many other communities in our area is experiencing these types of thefts.  What we are not experiencing is break-ins where “Nothing” is taken.  Don’t leave anything of value in your vehicle.  If you’re shopping and place packages inside your vehicle, drive off and find another place to park.  When you return home, remove your valuables and lock your car.  Report suspicious persons or behavior to your local Police or Sheriff.


Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Hot Harvest Nights Petitions to Move to Sunday.

hot harvest logo

A Victim of Its Own Success?

If the San Carlos Chamber of Commerce gets the blessing of the San Carlos City Council, Hot Harvest Nights may soon be held on a different day of the week: Sunday. The Chamber has long been the organizer and main sponsor of San Carlos’ incredibly popular farmer’s market, but they also have the challenge of making the event more diverse and popular, while preventing it from becoming a victim of its own success.

Traditionally, Hot Harvest Nights is held every Thursday evening from May to September from 4:00 – 8:00 PM along the 700 block of Laurel Street. Holding the event on Thursday evenings gave it a unique time slot that kept it from competing with other similar summertime markets in adjacent cities. But holding it on Thursday nights also created some of its own challenges.

The 700 block of Laurel Street is home to arguably some of the most popular restaurants in San Carlos, and Thursday nights are prime dining evenings in the downtown area. As the event has grown in popularity, more people are crowding the streets, and parking has become even more scarce than it already is on a busy weeknight in San Carlos. With the Laurel Street closed down all evening and the nearest parking now possibly several blocks away, it makes it a night to avoid for many San Carlos diners.

The other challenging aspect is the simply the time of day. 4:00-8:00PM works fine during the peak summer months, but as we slip into Fall, the weather turns cooler and it gets dark well before the closing time of market.

The Chamber hopes to be able to move the event to mid-day every Sunday, probably from 10:00AM – 2:00PM along the same stretch of Laurel Street. This would minimize the impact on the dinner crowd for the downtown restaurants, while also enabling the event to be held year-round — much like how Belmont conducts their own Sunday Farmer’s Market. There’s also discussion about keeping the street closed for extended hours to allow other events to piggyback onto the farmer’s market. The early afternoon hours will benefit the local restaurants because let’s face it — San Carlos likes to eat and drink.

The idea of moving Hot Harvest Nights to Sunday has been tabled on the Shape San Carlos website.  According to the Chamber, the feedback from the site shows that 2/3 of all residents who took the survey are supportive of the proposed change. If you haven’t already done so, you can register your opinion on the site by taking a very brief survey.

Whether or not Hot Harvest Nights changes from Thursday to Sunday now lies in the hands of the San Carlos City Council.  According to the folks at the Chamber, they will discuss the topic during the February 22nd meeting. I will update the site once a decision is reached.

Time for a Poll.

What are your thoughts? Should Hot Harvest Nights move to Sunday and possibly go year round? Or should it stay as a summer event on Thursday evenings?  Register your opinion on the poll below or in the upper right corner of the blog.

Should Hot Harvest Nights Move To Sunday?

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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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The White Oaks Neighborhood Watch Bulletin: 12-16-2015

December 17, 2015 Living in San Carlos No Comments
City of San Mateo Neighborhood Watch

The White Oaks Neighborhood Watch

Thanks to a relentless and dedicated group of residents, the White Oaks neighborhood now has probably the most efficient and organized Neighborhood Watch groups in all of San Carlos. Several years ago, they took the initiative to reach out to local law enforcement and work closely together to create what is now the prototype for neighborhood watch groups throughout San Carlos. The White Oaks group acts not only as a tremendously valuable set of eyes and ears for local law enforcement, but also as a very effective liaison between the local community and our first responders. You need to look no further than the ever-popular ice cream social, which has been hosted by the White Oaks Neighborhood Watch for the past several years on National Night Out, to see how effective this has become.

There’s probably not a single resident who has put in more sweat equity to create this organization and keep it running smoothly than White Oaks neighbor Ken Castle. It’s mostly due to Ken’s dogged perseverance over the past few years that the Neighborhood Watch has evolved from just an idea to the well-oiled organization that it is today.

On top of all of his other Watch duties (and life and work), Ken takes the time to pen a very informative Neighborhood Watch Bulletin, which he distributes via email. To help ensure that these valuable bulletins are seen by residents who may not be on his distribution list, I will now be re-posting Ken’s updates on the White Oaks Blog as soon as they become available. Thanks Ken, for all that you do to keep our neighborhood safer!

Here is the White Oaks Neighborhood Watch Bulletin from December 16, 2015 in its entirety:


Dec. 16, 2015

In this bulletin:

Prowlers, Burglaries Raise Concerns
Beware of Porch Pirates During Holidays
City Plan for “Traffic Calming” on St. Francis Includes Speed Humps


If you’re planning a major home renovation project, such as adding rooms, a second floor or a new roof, you should be aware that you and your contractor may be targeted by thieves who comb the neighborhood looking for tools to swipe.  The San Carlos Bureau of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office says there is an uptick of burglaries involving unoccupied homes under construction, not only here but throughout the Bay Area. Of course, we all know that renovations in White Oaks, including replacement homes, constitute a major activity here.

Sheriff’s deputies and police recently made arrests involving a crew of thieves operating out of the Bayview District of San Francisco.  The arrests stemmed from a recent construction site burglary on Colton Avenue, here in White Oaks, during which a neighbor on nearby Park Avenue observed a suspicious truck and called in a description to police.  Deputies combed the neighborhood and also retrieved surveillance video of the suspects, along with a partial license plate of the vehicle.

According to Sgt. Steve Pettit of the San Carlos Patrol Bureau, the truck owner was identified and a watch was set up in San Mateo County.  It wasn’t long before the crew was back in the area, and this time they were busted at a site in Belmont.  Their truck contained various stolen goods, and taken into custody was a 57-year-old woman, who had served prison time and was currently on parole, and her daughter who was helping her with the heists.

Sgt. Pettit said the work site burglaries, contrary to other types of home break-ins, usually occur in the wee hours of the morning between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.  The would-be thieves often case the area during the day to identify objects of value, which can be power tools such as saws and drills, portable generators, and other materials.  Since most of these items have no serial numbers, they are usually untraceable and are often fenced through large flea markets such as those in Oakland and San Jose, he said. Contractors have installed fencing with padlocked gates, along with portable video surveillance cameras, but have still been getting ripped off.

In contrast to construction site burglaries, the conventional break-ins are usually during the day, when the perpetrators look for homes that are unoccupied.  One of the favorite strategies is for the burglars to drive around, sizing up prospective targets, and then drop off one individual to ring doorbells.  If there is no answer, the thief gains entry through a back door or window, spends three to five minutes in the home collecting jewelry and other small valuables, and then sends a cell phone text message to the driver for a pick-up.  Usually, these crooks are not trying to steal large objects such as big-screen TVs or other electronics, which take more time and would likely raise suspicion among neighbors.  Also, they tend not to be armed with guns or knives, so if they are caught there are no additional charges for carrying weapons.

Just last week, on Dec. 9, a homeowner on the 200 block of Alberta, also here in White Oaks, called police when he saw a man lurking in his back yard around lunch time.  He ran after the suspect but lost him, and the prowler also managed to elude deputies who conducted an extensive search of the neighborhood, going door to door. One witness reported seeing an older model gold van with a white front end drive away quickly before officers arrived.

Sgt. Pettit notes there are two things that contribute to the environment for these burglaries:
(1) suspects who are caught and prosecuted rarely spend much time in jail and are soon back out on the street, and (2) neighbors often see something strange but fail to call police.


With the holiday season underway, thieves are just waiting for the opportunity to snatch that Keurig Coffee Maker, notebook PC or any other large box that is left at your front door.  They routinely follow delivery trucks from FedEx, UPS and other companies, and when they see something sizeable dropped off, they scoop it up as soon as the truck is gone.  Even though some of the delivery firms have mounted video cameras in the back of their vehicles to track followers, and even though law enforcement agencies have done stakeouts, the thieves seem to elude capture.

Keep in mind  that once a package is left at your home, if the shipping company delivers the package the way you paid for it, you have no recourse against the vendor or the delivery firm if it is stolen; the loss is on you.  Sometimes homeowners don’t know a package a missing until days or weeks after it was shipped.  Recently, surveillance videos of porch pirates have been all over the TV news, and what’s apparent is that women are often the culprits.

Here are some ways to avoid these rip-offs:

Send large parcels to your workplace or office instead of your home.
Specify to the vendor when ordering that it should be delivered on a day when you are home, such as Saturday.
If you have the package shipped through the U.S. Postal Service, you can designate delivery to your local Post Office to hold it for you to pick up.
If the package is being sent via FedEx or UPS, get a tracking number so that you can follow its progress on-line.
If you are not likely to be home, have your package delivered to a neighbor or friend and require the delivery company to get a signature from someone there.
Install a video surveillance or doorbell-triggered camera to capture any suspicious activity on your porch and in front of your house.
Use alternative services such as firms that will deliver at a specified time, or lockers provided by companies such as 7-Eleven and Swapbox (a San Francisco based start-up).  Amazon is also introducing lockers and has just installed a large package collection center for students at UC Berkeley.


The City of San Carlos is well aware of resident complaints about vehicles speeding along St. Francis Way, which becomes a major thoroughfare during commute hours.  Parents escorting their children to school, or people out for a jog or dog-walking, are among those who have voiced concern about the extent and pace of traffic.

So, the Transportation and Circulation Commission, which is appointed by the City Council, is on the verge of launching a series of “Traffic Calming” improvements on St. Francis between El Camino and Alameda de las Pulgas.  While the phrase sounds like something out of a mental health prescription, the city intends to implement temporary structures to see if they are successful in getting motorists to slow down.  Strangely enough, to the concern of some residents and commissioners, adding more stop signs is NOT one of the proposed solutions.

Here are the measures that are on tap for implementation:

On St. Francis at Walnut Street, install two intersection curb “bulb-outs” on the eastern corners with a “surface mounted delineator” and 50 feet of red curb to prohibit parking.
On the stretch of St. Francis between Elm Street and Chestnut Street, install two surface-mounted Speed Humps.  These would be temporary, gradually-sloped structures that are not as damaging or jarring as more traditional speed bumps.
At Cedar Street, a major route for children walking to White Oaks Elementary School, the city would hire a flagman and share the cost with the school district.
At Park Avenue and St. Francis, there would be temporary medians on St. Francis at both sides of Park, with what is called a “delineator.”
At Emerald Avenue intersection, there would be a traffic circle or mini-roundabout with delineators.

There were concerns expressed by several residents at the Oct. 20 meeting of the Commission, among them:

Speed bumps may be effective for non-resident traffic, but White Oaks residents may simply choose to avoid them – and the frequent punishment on the suspension systems of their vehicles – by driving alternative routes.  I share that view.  I will avoid those bumps by taking a different route to El Camino, and if others follow suit then this will simply move the traffic problem from St. Francis to other — and formerly quieter — streets.  In other words, our problem may now be YOUR problem if you thought you were off the beaten path.
St. Francis, as we all know, is a major avenue for emergency vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances.  Some people worried that the bumps, island and bulb-outs could impede the progress of first responders.
Red painted parking restriction areas could create inconveniences for some homeowners by prohibiting them and their guests from parking in front of their homes.
The City estimates that permanent solutions to the St. Francis traffic issue may cost on the order of $500,000.

The Commission ultimately voted to proceed with the temporary solutions and to constantly evaluate their effectiveness with before and after traffic studies.  Although the intent was to have these facilities installed by the end of this year, some commissioners suggested that the city wait until after the holidays.

Note: If you would like to read the city’s Traffic Calming Study and staff report, including the photos and graphics showing the various structures and their intended locations, you can download the PDF files on-line from the city website by clicking on this link:

That’s it for now folks. Stay alert, report suspicious activity and have a nice holiday! – Ken Castle


Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Should San Carlos Reduce the Maximum Size Limits for Residential Construction?

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