City council has new plans for Laurel Street’s community

The+city+of+San+Carlos+closed+off+Laurel+Street%2C+making+the+street+pedestrian-only+access.+%E2%80%9CSome+of+the+roads%2C+like+on+Laurel+street%2C+were+closed+to+accommodate+outdoor+dining+and+parklets+to+help+our+businesses%2C%E2%80%9D+Haque+said.

Sam Hansen

The city of San Carlos closed off Laurel Street, making the street pedestrian-only access. “Some of the roads, like on Laurel street, were closed to accommodate outdoor dining and parklets to help our businesses,” Haque said.

The San Carlos city council intends to transform the downtown area in an effort to increase community engagement.

The city of San Carlos looks to change Laurel Street and its adjacent cross streets in a two-year plan set to begin in early 2022.

Following the closure of certain Laurel Street regions to pedestrian-only access, the city took the opportunity to envision the future of downtown San Carlos.

“There will be a bunch of aspects like walkability, exclusive street closure, parking, businesses, plazas, [and] streets need micro-mobility. They all play a pretty important role in the plan,” Sajuti Haque, a senior management analyst with the community development department, said.

According to the San Carlos Spotlight newsletter, the city will also consider aspects such as major infrastructures that include public amenities, trees, and sidewalks. The city also plans to accommodate 2,735 new housing units and will establish building height and appearance.

“The plan will contain detailed land use standards and implementation measures required of future projects located along Laurel Street, including downtown,” an excerpt from the San Carlos Spotlight newsletter said. “It will establish the ‘look’ and ‘feel’ of what future development along Laurel Street and the downtown will be.”

In order to best fit the desires of the community, the city council is using workshops, social media, and surveys to get input from citizens. This process allows them to take different points of view into account while planning the city.

This statue sits in Frank D. Harrington Park, located on Laurel Street. Along with trees lining the street’s sidewalks, this park contributes to the downtown area atmosphere.

“City council really prioritizes community input [and] city staff does,” Haque said. “We try to keep the community really aware.

Laurel Street is a popular destination for families and friends alike, and people will regularly visit to socialize and interact. Brad Ayers, a senior at Carlmont High School, claims to appreciate the various restaurants. However, he would like to see some changes to the downtown area.

“I think they should re-open the street [to vehicles],” Ayers said. “They need to open up more room for parking.”

According to Haque, the city council’s process relies heavily on community involvement. They try to be “as transparent as possible” to ensure the community is informed, engaged, and heard.

“It’s been really rewarding to see the community participate. I think that’s what makes San Carlos pretty unique,” Haque said.