Monthly Archives

June 2015

Community, Sustainability

Brown is the New Green and Other Drought Tolerant Solutions

Truth be told, no one really wants a brown yard, and a lush green lawn is a heavy  burden. Fortunately, there are other solutions. Cal Water and partner agencies of the City of San Mateo offer incentive programs and rebates to convert your yard into a water efficient oasis and provide drought tolerant solutions to conserve water throughout your home. Take a look at these programs to see what you can do to become more drought tolerant.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs

The PACE program is available to residents and businesses in San Mateo interested in both water reduction and energy efficient projects. These programs will help you finance qualified projects through a variety of providers including California First, HERO, and Figtree. If you’re most interested in creating a drought tolerant yard, eligible landscaping projects range from drip irrigation to artificial turf installation and can also include greywater reuse systems, rotating sprinkler nozzle installation, and other drought tolerant landscaping upgrades. These programs may also be used to finance renewable energy, energy and water efficient improvements, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout your home.

Cal Water Turf Replacement Rebate

Many San Mateo residents are replacing their lawn with drought tolerant plants and water efficient landscaping. A project like this can be a costly investment, but Cal Water’s Turf Replacement Rebate program can help to defray the cost.  This program provides the ability to replace an existing lawn with low water use plants. Participants can receive a rebate of $1.00 per square foot if program guidelines are met. And, there are a lot, review them carefully.

Conservation Kits

Maybe you’re not the outdoor type, but still want to do your part to conserve water. One easy solution is to pick-up a water conservation kit through Cal Water. They are free to residential customers and include a variety of water-saving gadgets that you or a plumber can easily install. Kits include water efficient showerheads, a hose nozzle, faucet aerators for your bathroom and kitchen, and toilet leak tablets.

Appliance Rebates

Regardless of the drought, technology has made appliances so much better and they are more efficient now than ever before. This is the time to replace your old washer or upgrade your toilet with a model that uses less water and energy. In the long run these changes will save you money and you can take advantage of Cal Water’s rebate programs. A list of eligible models are listed on their website, be sure to review before making any purchases.

These are just a few of the programs available through Cal Water and the other partner agencies of the City of San Mateo. Please visit their websites for additional information and check back for future updates on the drought.

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Reduce Water Use
Community, Sustainability

Reduce Water Usage

Water Budget and Violations Effective June 1st

Water is a precious resource and it is in poor form to waste it. There are plenty of ways to easily reduce water usage. Taking shorter showers, washing only full loads of laundry or dishes, replacing leaking faucets and installing water efficient appliances are a few steps everyone can take to reduce water usage.

Now it’s mandatory to reduce water usage throughout California. On June 1st the State enacted mandatory water restrictions requiring homes and businesses to reduce water usage and meet a 25 percent State-wide reduction in water.

Water Bill Changes

To help meet this goal, Cal Water is establishing a water budget for each customer and will charge a drought surcharge for each unit of water used over the established budget. Every customer will receive a minimum monthly allotment, which is equal to a 16 percent reduction of their 2013 water usage or a minimum amount of water equal to 4,488 gallons or 6-units per month. This provides enough water to meet basic health and safety needs.

If you have already reduced your water usage and are a conservation role model, then any further reductions should come naturally. If you’re just getting started, it may be a little challenging to take the first steps. If your home occupancy has increased or changed since 2013, Cal Water is offering an appeal process that provides customers with an opportunity to request an allocation adjustment. If there have not been any changes in your household, then now’s the time to brush up on the variety of ways you can conserve water. Super stars not using the full allotment of water will receive a water credit that can be applied for future use.

Don’t be a Water Waster

If you’re caught using excessive amounts of water, then don’t be surprised if you receive a warning or a fine from Cal Water. As of June 1st, the following fine-tier is in effect.

  • First violation will receive a written notice
  • Second violation results in a $50 fine
  • Third violation doubles to $100
  • Fourth violation may result in a flow restricting device placed on the service line

Cal Water has established a complaint form and encourages reporting of observed water waste. The City has recently received an increased volume of phone calls concerning the drought and water usage. The San Mateo community is taking the drought seriously and is vigilant about their water use as well as their neighbors. Please be aware and conscientious of the amount of water you are using to avoid unnecessary fines and potential neighborhood drama.

More information about State mandated water restrictions is available on Cal Water’s website. You may also contact the agency at (650) 558-7800 with any questions you may have about your water bill.

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Downtown, Parking

NBC Bay Area Covers Downtown Parking

NBC Bay Area reported live from San Mateo this morning to share information on the changes coming to parking in Downtown San Mateo. Check out NBC Bay Area‘s broadcast and the great coverage provided by reporter Stephanie Chuang.

Changes to the parking program, beginning on July 1st, will provide a smarter, easier, simpler way to accommodate the variety of parking needs and help downtown customers find a spot. Park in the orange area if you are running an errand. Green along the perimeter provides more options for all day parking.

Orange in the downtown core encourages parking turnover making it easier for customers to find a spot. Green along the perimeter provides more options for all-day parking.

Orange in the downtown core encourages parking turnover making it easier for customers to find a spot. Green along the perimeter provides more options for all-day parking.

Downtown, Parking

Changes Downtown San Mateo Parking

With nearly 3,000 public parking spaces available in Downtown San Mateo, the City of San Mateo provides parking that allows downtown customers with the ability to run errands, relax over a leisurely lunch, work a full day, and enjoy their time in San Mateo. Changes to Downtown San Mateo parking beginning on July 1st, will provide a smarter, easier, simpler way to accommodate the variety of parking needs and help downtown customers find a spot.

Those visiting or working in the downtown can expect new pricing and time-limits that offer greater flexibility in determining the best place to park. Two new color-coded parking areas, orange in the downtown core and green along the perimeter, will help you find the right parking space based on the amount of time you need, your reason for visiting downtown, and the amount you want to pay.

Orange in the downtown core encourages parking turnover making it easier for customers to find a spot. Green along the perimeter provides more options for all-day parking.

Orange in the downtown core encourages parking turnover making it easier for customers to find a spot. Green along the perimeter provides more options for all-day parking.


Park in the Orange Area

If you are running an errand, need less time, or don’t mind paying a little more. The higher price, $1.00/hour for street-level parking, encourages parking turnover making it easier for customers to find a spot. The new three-hour time limit provides plenty of time to do all you need to do.

Park in the Green Area

If you are a downtown employee, need more time, or don’t mind a little walk. This area is a few steps from the downtown core, is less expensive, and provides more options for all-day parking.  At $.50/hour, you can park in the upper levels of most downtown garages and won’t have to worry about parking tickets or feeding the meter. This area offers affordability and convenience for all-day parking.

Some things will stay the same

Not everything about downtown parking will change. Parking remains free after 6:00 p.m. and all day Sunday, with no time limit. And, through September, free parking is also available at the Main Library and 101 Ellsworth Garage from 6:00 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.

Downtown Parking Management Plan

The changes to downtown parking are part of the Downtown Parking Management Plan adopted in 2014 and are the first phase of its implementation. The Plan outlines a strategic approach to meeting parking demand and planning for future improvements. Visit for more information about the initial changes as well as the Downtown Parking Management Plan.

“These changes are intended to make it easier and more convenient for everyone using parking in Downtown San Mateo,” says Larry Patterson, San Mateo City Manager. “If you need more time, go to the green area and if your visit warrants less time, park in the orange core. The color coded areas are meant to simplify parking and will help visitors and workers make informed parking decisions.”

Community, Sustainability

Conserve Water. It’s the Thing to Do.

Part I: State Regulations Enforced by Cal Water

On June 1st, the State mandated water restrictions went into effect and require everyone from private home owners, to hotels, motels, business owners, schools and public facilities to conserve water. This is the first of a three part series appearing on San Mateo Insider through June 26th about water conservation and the drought. This first article outlines prohibited uses of water; the second reviews the mandated water budget for single family homes; and the third offers an overview of incentive programs that will help home and business owners conserve water.

Many realize that the drought is serious, and it’s important for everyone throughout the San Mateo community to do their part to conserve water, follow the outlined restrictions, and help California meet its 25 percent water reduction goal.

Together, we can do this! San Mateo, which is part of the Bayshore District managed and regulated by Cal Water, has made significant progress in reducing water usage. In 2014 the District achieved an 11 percent reduction and will need to reduce water usage by an additional five percent to meet our portion of the State mandate.

Conserve Water. Follow Mandatory Restrictions.

Following these key mandatory water restrictions will help San Mateo meet its water reduction goals and create a more sustainable community:

  • Restaurants and bars can only serve water upon request
  • Outdoor irrigation is limited to two days a week and are determined by address
    • Even numbered street addresses may only water on Tuesdays and Fridays
    • Odd numbered street addresses may only water on Mondays and Thursdays
  • Outdoor watering is not allowed between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • Watering within 48-hours of measurable rain is prohibited
  • Using a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks, and other hardscape areas is prohibited
  • Cal Water has established water budgets for each single-family household
  • Cal Water has the ability to fine and restrict service for repeat offenders

For additional details about the State mandated water regulations, please visit Cal Water or the sustainability pages of the City’s website.


Central Park Music Series
Community Events

Central Park Music Series Begins June 25th!


Sit, relax, and enjoy the rhythm of the Central Park Music Series with good food and great friends.

There’s no better way to enjoy a summer evening than heading to Central Park for a summer concert. The Central Park Music Series begins June 25th and provides the perfect setting for a fun-filled evening with family and friends. The Music Series kicks-off with popular reggae band, Native Elements and continues Thursday evenings through August 13th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on the lawn in Central Park.

This summer’s concert line-up features a variety of high-energy bands ranging from a Motown dance party and big band swing to country, salsa, and good old-fashioned rock-n-roll. Take a turn on the dance floor or sit, relax, and listen on a blanket in the lawn. Gourmet picnics and fabulous spreads from Downtown restaurants are the norm. Bring a feast or purchase summer fare from local food vendors.

Good music, great food, and time with family and friends make for an amazing summer evening. Dance, groove, and jive your way to the Central Park Music Series each Thursday evening beginning June 25th. Visit the City’s website for more information about the Central Park Music Series. You can also like the Central Park Music Series on Facebook.


Community Development, Downtown

Creating a Walkable, Transit-oriented Downtown

Downtown Transit Center - First Avenue, Downtown San Mateo

The June 24th Downtown Future Forum will explore the opportunities and trade-offs that come with creating a walkable, transit-oriented downtown.

On Wednesday, June 24th, the City of San Mateo hosts its third Downtown Future Forum at Hero City at Draper University. This next forum explores the possibilities of transit-oriented development (TOD), an urban design strategy that emphasizes compact development centered around a transit hub. This exciting workshop will discuss the impact of creating a walkable, transit-oriented downtown.

The core objective of transit-oriented development is to diversify travel options while promoting increased pedestrian, bike and transit access. Typically TODs include a mix of housing, office, retail and/or other amenities located within a walkable distance (up to one half-mile) of well-connected public transportation. The forum will include presentations that illustrate case studies and regional examples of TODs, and an overview of related policy and implementation measures.

Learn More About Our Panelists

Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director, SPUR; Gaye Quinn, Managing Director, Westlake Urban; and Shireen Malekafzali, Senior Manager, San Mateo County Health Services. Each will share unique perspectives on the benefits and trade-offs of transit oriented development projects while providing insight on the ways the San Mateo community can leverage assets throughout Downtown San Mateo to create a more walkable and transit-oriented downtown.

Doors open at 5:45 p.m. to give attendees a chance to network and enjoy food provided by Three Restaurant & Bar.  The program takes place from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. and includes an interactive discussion that will encourage participants to share ideas about the opportunities for Downtown San Mateo. Please reserve your space for this free and informative event using Eventbrite. We hope to see you there!

More Information About San Mateo Downtown Engagement

San Mateo Downtown Engagement launched in February 2015 and will lead to an update of the City’s Downtown Area Plan. The Downtown Future Forum is a series of workshops that explore different concepts and trends that are shaping downtowns across the nation. The first, which took place in April, focused on social and economic trends. The second forum, held in May, focused on activating public spaces through the temporary and permanent use of community gathering spaces. The last Downtown Future Forum will take place on July 29th.