Urban Biking Magazine Features Bay Meadows
Momentum Magazine, a popular lifestyle magazine covering the latest in urban bicycling and attendant topics, featured Bay Meadows in its spring issue. Below is a reprint of the story. Enjoy!
Smart Planning Boosts Livability in the ‘Burbs
by Hilary Angus, online Editor at Momentum Mag, where she writes about urbanism and the intersection of bicycling and social justice. @HilaryAngus
Americans spend a lot of time in their cars. The average American drives 29.2 miles (47 kilometers) a day, for 46 minutes. That’s a grand total of 12 days each year spent sitting behind the wheel of a car. That’s 36 full, 8-hour workdays or that vacation you can never seem to find the time to take. It’s the time you can never find to exercise or play that instrument you’ve wanted to learn but don’t have the time to practice. In short, it is too much time spent sitting in a metal box.
Unfortunately, for too many people, freeing themselves from the burden of car-dependence isn’t an option. Work is too far away, the shops are too far from work, and the roads in between aren’t safe to walk or bike on. While we can chime all we want about individual choices to walk or bike, at the end of the day, the right infrastructure needs to exist first.
With the San Francisco/ Silicon Valley region experiencing record in-migration in recent years, there is more pressure than ever on the road systems. As residents grapple with increasing congestion, the ridership on Caltrain (a commuter rail line) has more than doubled in the last 10 years, with a nine percent increase in the past year alone. While the rail line is great for getting in and out of the city, it doesn’t solve the problem of last-mile transportation. According to Caltrain, the number of commuters bringing bicycles on board more than tripled in the last 10 years: from 1,860 bike boardings in 2005 to 6,207 in 2015.
One California community is shaking things up in the car-dependent state by taking an active approach to transportation in order to enable and encourage its residents to get out of their cars and get outside.
Bay Meadows is an 83-acre real estate development in San Mateo, CA, midway between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and it’s changing the game on how space can impact the quality of our lives. Built on the site of an old horse racing track that was an airfield before that, it’s a great example of a greyfield development. Billed as a transit-oriented development (TOD), Bay Meadows includes a mixture of residential, office, retail, and other amenities all located within a half-mile (0.8 kilometer) of quality, public transportation.
Owner Stockbridge Capital and developer Wilson Meany wanted to make functional, multi-modal transportation a focal point of the neighborhood’s design. In addition to its location along the Caltrain commuter rail line, Bay Meadows features a network of bike paths and the designation of 20 percent of its area to be left as open space for people walking and biking.
“In the early planning of Bay Meadows, we worked from a premise that there would be increased demand for more urban-like environments where people have choices for getting around,” said Janice Thacher, partner with Wilson Meany. “To create a transit-oriented development that actually functions optimally, with people on the streets and sidewalks and in cafes (adding life and energy to the neighborhood), we thought it was critical, in addition to access to Caltrain, to make walking and biking a part of our social fabric.”
Businesses expanding or relocating within Silicon Valley, San Francisco or the greater Bay Area need look no further. Bay Meadows has 5 new office buildings conveniently located on Caltrain. Station 4 will be the new headquarters for SurveyMonkey, which will occupy the building in mid-2016. Station 3 is under construction and now leasing. These state-of-the-art buildings will feature floor to ceiling glass, bike storage, expansive floorplates and locker room facilities. All Bay Meadows Station buildings will have access to 18 acres of open space, a social street featuring coffee shops, restaurants, bocce court and plenty of outdoor gathering spaces. The buildings are minutes from the Hillsdale Caltrain Station and proximal to SFO. It’s just 10 minutes to Palo Alto and SFO and 25 minutes to San Francisco!