The San Carlos Transit Village — It’s Coming…

July 7, 2009


Transit Village

What is the San Carlos Transit Village?

If the term “Transit Village” doesn't ring a bell with you, that's totally understandable.  With recent events such as the ongoing budget crisis and the passage of Measure B stealing all of the headlines, it would be easy to overlook it.  But make no mistake, the San Carlos Transit Village will be one of the most significant developments in San Carlos history, right alongside the 1001 Laurel Street Condos and the Wheeler Plaza Development.

In a nutshell, the San Carlos Transit Village is an ambitious plan to integrate the existing historic San Carlos train station into a bustling, residential/retail complex that will extend to the north and south of the existing train station (on the west side of the tracks.)   SamTrans currently owns this property, and they've been working with Legacy Development Partners to come up with the initial rendition and specifications of the plan.  The picture above is an artist's rendition of the development, and the description below of the project was taken verbatim from the City website:

  1. 4-story residential buildings over parking garages, including four buildings north of Holly Street, and two buildings just south of Holly Street. There are a total of 281 residential housing units, including 105 1-bedroom units, 101 2-bedroom units, and 75 3-bedroom units. 15% of the 281 units will be required to be Below Market Rate (BMR) units.
  2. 34,600 square feet of retail/commercial space housed in three buildings: two are immediately north and south of the San Carlos Train Depot, and the third is in the south wing of a residential building. 15,600 square feet is on the ground floor and 19,000 square feet is on the second floor. Parking spaces are provided for retail users.
  3. 457 total residential garage parking spaces, at a parking ratio of 1.63 spaces/dwelling unit. These garages will be partially underground. In addition, 45 retail spaces and 226 CalTrain parking spaces are provided.
  4. On top of the 8 new buildings, a multi-modal transit station and drop-off point is proposed just south of the historic train depot, in the parking lot. A pedestrian plaza and public gathering space in front of the historic depot are also proposed.


There's Much More Info…

Al Savay, the Community Development Director in San Carlos, has done an outstanding job organizing the various aspects of the project and posting them on the City of San Carlos Website.   For more information, simply click on the links below:

San Carlos Transit Village Project Description

Retail Analysis

Project Updates

Fiscal Analysis

Project Management

Also, I have created a separate category on the site that's just for the San Carlos Transit Village.  Just click this link and you'll see all of the article that I've written about it (and there will be more!)

Your Thoughts?

What do you think of this project?  Let's hear what you have to say —  just click the comment link below and let everyone know whether you think this is a winner…or not.


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  1. Future Kindergarten Mom! on July 7, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Where will all the kids go to school that move into the area? There is no room!

  2. Chuck on July 7, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Wait until tomorrow’s post!


  3. JJ on July 7, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    I would not get too excited about this one way or the other. Per the project update, the initial plans were developed in 2005. It’s now some 4 years later, and it’s still just a bunch of plans. Add in the economy, and somehow I dont think a condo/retail development is going to happen for many, many years. Remember how people got all fired up over the proposed medical center that was supposed to open in a couple of yrs? Well, that has been delayed indefinitely.

  4. Jenny on July 8, 2009 at 1:12 am

    I have seen information on this project that basically says only single working professionals will live in the Transite Village apartments. When families start lining up to live there, especially the low income 2 and 3 bedroom units, the city will not be able to turn them away as it would be illegal to discriminate. So, how are we going to accomodate all of these new families into our schools? Did the city/SamTrans not hear about the disaster with the schools this year? Will SamTrans be willing to put up funding for a new school in San Carlos? I think not. Also, what about the additional cost to the city for police and fire for all of these buildings and appartments? I would be OK with retail and office space there, but not 281 appartments and all of those extra people living here. San Carlos doesn’t need hundreds more people living here – do we?

    This is one of the worst ideas I have seen on the horizon for San Carlos.

  5. Maryanne on July 8, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    I’m all for more development since it will bring more tax revenue. Get with it folks. San Carlos has changed and become more upscale and more crowded in the last five years. Traffic on Foodie Street aka Laurel has stopped anyone. Don’t worry, the schools will find a way to fit more students. It’s not a big deal.

  6. AE on July 13, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    More tax revenue or not, 4 stories is too tall. “4-story residential buildings over parking garages” – Sounds like the Monster at Fenway, or a massive sound wall at best. I am sure the always overlooked 2nd class citizens of the east side of SC will appropriately raise heck, especially considering that they remember well all the broken promises in relation to the Holly Street grade separation.

  7. Jim on July 16, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Having attended many of the School Board Meetings, I am not sure how the San Carlos School District would cope with the new families from this proposed development. It is a struggle to find places for the existing families in San Carlos and it was almost unbearable this year.

    If we could add another school (like Belmont is doing right now) then maybe the enrollment issues would not be a “big deal.”

    Also, the city published a report recently stating it would cost the city more money each year to provide fire and police services to the Transite Village than they receive in revenues. So, if we are going to lose money each year, can someone tell me why we want to do this?

  8. San Carlos mom on July 27, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    I think this is a terrible idea. We can hardly handle the growing traffic and influx of school children as it is. How could you even think of building more homes for 100’s of people and adding more commercialism? Perhaps the idea of a drop-off point and pedestrian plaza would work but anything to increase the population of this small town is absurd. My family has lived here for 9 years and we love the hometown feel. Why make San Carlos an overcrowded city and drive the supportive residents away? That is exactly what you will do.

  9. Frank on August 18, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    I think it’s a terrible idea wedging in housing between El Camino and the train tracks. Imagine the noise! It would only be a matter of time before a child living there would be injured or killed from wandering into El Camino or on the train tracks. And there would be very little parking available for Caltrain users. Where does the high speed railroad fit into these plans?

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