San Carlos is a growing city in the San Francisco Bay Area peninsula, with good jobs and a high quality of life. As a recent article in the Daily Journal illustrates, that growth poses challenges that innovative governments can turn into opportunities. As more people chose to move to the “City of Good Living,” a new development called Wheeler Plaza is being built along Laurel Street, Walnut street and San Carlos Avenue. This mixed-use development will add new housing for residents with their own dedicated parking, new stores and restaurant options, and 252 spaces for public parking to help the city grow. The challenge, of course, is that the development is being built on a current public parking lot with 185 spaces, which are not available during construction.

 The city of San Mateo has worked proactively to manage parking for merchants, residents and visitors during this time. Additional parking has been set aside in alternate locations, including the San Mateo County Transit District parking lot at 1250 San Carlos Avenue, as well as portions of the lot at 616 Laurel Street. There is even a valet service so that if the Laurel Street lot fills up with visitors to downtown, cars can be relocated to the SamTrans lot and returned for the convenience of shoppers. Additionally, a website titled “Wheeler Plaza” has been put up to keep residents up to date on the status of the project (the new parking is expected to be available February 2018), and extensive signage has been posted telling visitors that downtown San Carlos is still open for business during construction.

 Another way the city has the ability to manage this transition is with Streetline. Merchants in San Carlos can use ParkerMap to create maps of available parking with real-time occupancy, centered on their business. ParkerMap creates snippets of code that can easily be added to a website, so merchants can help customers find parking, even if parking near a merchant is currently impacted. Here’s a what the future Wheeler Plaza could look like with real time Parking Occupancy nearby.


 Tools like ParkerMap are how smart, pioneering cities like San Carlos can turn parking challenges into opportunities for local governments, merchants, residents and visitors.