Episode 30

San Mateo Enters Phase 2

May 14, 2020

Judy reports on the many changes going on in San Mateo as we transition to an environment with a bit more freedom to move around and interact with businesses.  


I’m Judy Gordon, and this is San Mateo Focus.

Before we begin, we’ve noticed that many of you are listening to San Mateo Focus episodes right on our website or social media posts—and that’s great—but there is no automatic notification method that tells you when a new episode has dropped. So, I am asking you—please—go to the Podcast App on your smartphone, or to iTunes on your Mac or PC…search for “San Mateo Focus” and click SUBSCRIBE. Now onto this week’s episode.

We started San Mateo Focus to shine a light on the history, culture, things to do, and places to eat in San Mateo in order to enrich the lives of those living here and the businesses that serve them. Last summer, when we were planning and developing our five to seven-minute narrative format for weekly episodes, it seemed as if there were endless stories that could be told about San Mateo, a city of over 100,000 residents in the middle of Silicon Valley. Then, in mid-March, things changed. We were looking at the world in a different way, not straying far from our homes, and the episodes during this time reflect that. Even if we were looking back to AP Giannini and the founding of the Bank of Italy, or talking about Rakuten, a global company that altered it’s platform to help San Mateo restaurants pivot to takeout only, we were seeing San Mateo through the eyes of a city sheltering in place in order for residents to protect each other.

During this time, we’ve been encouraged to hear from listeners who are recommending episodes that they think will be interesting. Thanks to a listener who is on the Vestry of St. Matthew Episcopal Church, the beautiful stone church on the corner of El Camino Real at Baldwin, we heard that the cornerstone was first laid down on October 15, 1865 at the original first church building. The stone contains a Bible, a Book of Common Prayer, a number of coins, and newspapers announcing the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the surrender of General Lee, and the fall of Richmond. We asked for nominations for your favorite small business and heard back from several people. We learned that you feel strongly about your favorite taqueria, and we discovered that if you’re a small business with an interesting story, we can help you get that story in front of thousands of locals. San Mateo is a business hub on the peninsula. Independent small businesses, restaurants, doctors, salons, and professional services are working hard to continue to serve us, and I think it’s something that we don’t take for granted anymore.

You’ve probably noticed the increase in traffic in the last few weeks and are aware that we’re slowly starting to return to the lives that we led before shelter-in-place started in March. In case you missed it, last week the city of San Mateo sent out an update that lets you know what’s different starting May 18. Here’s what’s certain: things can change in a moment—which is what “the situation is fluid” means—and there will be masks involved.

As of May 18, some additional businesses reopened with modifications, including some retail for curbside pickup and delivery only, office workplaces, car washes, and pet grooming. Still no dining at restaurants, but metered parking downtown continues to be free until further notice. The Central Park Music Series unfortunately will not be held this summer and will return in 2021. City parks have restrictions for use with the parking lots and public bathrooms remaining closed. Poplar Creek Golf Course has reopened with restrictions, but Coyote Point is still closed. Remember getting used to bringing your own bags into the grocery? It’s the same with masks: keep extras in your car, purse, pocket or backpack. They’re not required when you’re outside for exercise but have one ready to put on if you decide to combine recreation with chores that involve standing in a line or going indoors.

Speaking of lines, the city Community Development Department has announced the launch of a new online permit center. They can now accept, review, receive payments, and issue planning entitlements and building permits securely online. Once the Shelter in Place orders are lifted, the online permit center services will continue. Also, no more hitting the walk button with your elbows in 28 spots around San Mateo either. The Public Works Department has made it possible for pedestrians to lessen the need to press the push button at intersections. When you see caution tape across the ‘walk’ buttons there is no need to push the button to get the walk signal. When the light goes green, the walk symbol will automatically light up, allowing pedestrians to cross the intersection safely.

The Hillsdale Caltrain station closed on May 16 for six months and when it reopens it will be in a different location a bit north at East 28th Avenue. The new station is scheduled to open in November 2020. All train services will move to Belmont for the interim. Caltrain ambassadors will be on site at both the Hillsdale and Belmont stations next week as riders transition to the temporary change. Also note, Caltrain will offer a Shuttle that stops in San Mateo at Bay Meadows on Delaware at East 28th and the old Hillsdale Station.

Don’t know about you all, but people in my house need haircuts. Until that day comes, Here’s the Deal: continue to write to us at info@sanmateofocus.com and tell us about the businesses that you love, and we welcome your thoughts on future episodes. Thanks!  

Okay, that’s all the time we have for this episode. Have a great week. Thanks to Jack Radsliff for the original music to this podcast. And please don’t forget to Subscribe to San Mateo Focus on your favorite Podcast app or iTunes. As always, if you’d like more information about our sponsor or the topics in today’s episode, visit sanmateofocus.com.



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