Solid Link Between Transportation and Health

A few months ago we introduced you to the Taste and Talk Series, part of San Mateo’s Sustainable Streets Plan. Every month experts gather to discuss innovative and timely topics related to the development of a safe and sustainable transportation network.

A recent presentation focused on the “Solid Link between Transportation and Health.” We caught up with the presenter, Principal and Staff Director Jessica Alba with Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates. Jessica is a San Mateo resident and has more than a decade of experience as a sustainable transportation planner for communities across North America.

When do you think things went ‘south’ in terms of transportation and health?
There were a few different reasons for this. The creation of zoning codes separating commercial and residential areas meant that cities were expanding outward instead of inward. Another factor was parking requirements established to create more parking between buildings and streets, making it harder to walk. Other regulations made infill development challenging by making it hard to build in any dense area without additional road expansions, further encouraging driving. These policies and regulations all assisted in the growth of urban sprawl, which led to a decline in walking, biking and transit use.
(below, sustainable streets are safe for everyone)



What do you see San Mateo doing specifically to address this issue?
San Mateo is creating real collaboration both between city departments and with community organizations. Ken Chin with the City of San Mateo has done a great job making sure more and more departments and organizations work together. Examples of the positive impact of this collaboration can be found by looking at projects like the Delaware Streetscape Project, which widened sidewalks and added pedestrian lighting, bike lanes and sustainable landscaping through a reduction in the number of travel lanes.

Another example includes the Rail Corridor Plan, which encourages and provides guidance for the creation of world-class transit-oriented development (TOD) within a half-mile radius of the Hillsdale and Hayward Park Caltrain stations. The Bay Meadows Phase II project is one such development; Station Park Green near the Hayward Park Station is another.

What examples have you seen of cities working to create movement and community through changes in transportation?
San Mateo recently hosted Innovation Week during which the Downtown San Mateo Organization, the City of San Mateo and the College of San Mateo worked together to establish two parklets on 3rd Street and B Street. There are also examples of positive changes in Burlingame with the streetscape improvements on Burlingame Avenue. Redwood City created beautiful open space with Courthouse Square. And Mountain View has a flexible parking zone on Castro Street where the merchant can either have parking or pay an annual fee to extend their restaurants out into this flex zone.

To learn more about innovative changes taking place in the areas of transportation and planning visit Sustainable Streets San Mateo.


As we develop community, we want to see how you live or play at Bay Meadows. Share your fun lifestyle photos with our community by using #baymeadowslife in our Fame x Frame Photo Contest. You could WIN $50 or our Grand Prize of $500 at the end of 2014 and be featured in a live pop-up photo gallery exhibit. Click here for official rules. Each month, Bay Meadows will select one photo to WIN a $50 gift card at Whole Foods Market San Mateo. Simply hop on instagram or twitter at tag us using #baymeadowslife or submit up to 10 photos per month to .

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