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Downtown Business Stakeholder Meeting 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The City staff held a Downtown businesses stakeholder meeting on May 24th to have a meaningful dialogue with the downtown business community following the community’s support for, and the Council’s decision, to permanently close the 700 block of Laurel Street. To invite business owners, managers, and employees to the May 24 Business Focus Group meeting,  City staff went door-to-door to all 150 businesses within the Downtown Specific Plan area. The Downtown Business Focus Group meeting on May 24th was hosted by Stamp Bar and Grill with 23 representatives from the business community in attendance.

Meeting material is provided below.

Downtown Businss Stakeholder Meeting

Downtown Specific Plan – Status Update and Progress Report on 4/17 and 4/24, 2023 

How will downtown transform over the next 20 years?


The public was invited to learn and share comments on important milestones in preparing a community-based vision for the future of downtown San Carlos.  Presentations were given to the Planning and Transportation Commission on Monday, April 17 and to the City Council on Monday, April 24. Both meetings started at 7 pm and was held inside City Council Chambers at San Carlos City Hall, located at 600 Elm Street. 


The Downtown Specific Plan project kicked off in March 2022. Following two community-wide workshops, an open house, plus multiple meetings with a 18-member citizen-based committee, and gathering community feedback from two surveys, city staff is now ready to share what the community is saying and how they have responded to several foundational urban design concepts for downtown.  These concepts include Laurel Street closure, the purpose-function-improvements to alleys, design ideas for Harrington Park, and possibilities to create a new public plaza along the 600 block of Laurel Street.


The Planning and Transportation Commission and City Council provided city staff feedback, guidance, and direction on these fundamental components of the downtown area. Recommendations for additional design concepts for the 600 and 800 blocks of Laurel + roadways design for San Carlos Avenue and other roadways within the downtown area, plus parking strategies, will rely on these foundational concepts for downtown.  Additional community workshops and surveys will be offered in the coming months and will address these future items. The Downtown Specific Plan is targeted for completion by March 2024.

Links to files:

DTSP - Status Update 4/17 & 24

Community Survey 2

This online survey for the Downtown Specific Plan was conducted between March 1st and April 30, 2023. It provided an opportunity for community members and stakeholders who may have missed the February 15 community workshop and the March 4 Coffee and Comments Open House to provide their feedback to the City. The survey results will help the City staff and consultant team develop placemaking concepts for 700 block of Laurel Street, Harrington Park, alleyways, and a future plaza along the 600 block of Laurel Street.


Survey 2 Summary can be found here

Communit Survey 2

Coffee and Comments Open House

Saturday, March 4th, 2023


As a follow-up to the community workshop held on February 15, the City of San Carlos held a Coffee and Comments Open House at the San Carlos Library Community Room on Saturday, March 4, 2023.  Over 70 community members joined City staff for coffee and pastries and gave their feedback on preliminary concepts for the future of downtown San Carlos.  

​Lisa Porras, Planning Manager for the Advance Planning Division, gave two presentations, one at 10:15am and the second one at 11:15am.  The community members had an opportunity to ask staff questions, view the exhibits, share ideas, comments, and feedback on three preliminary concepts for downtown San Carlos. These included improvements to alleyways, the 700 Block of Laurel Street, Harrington Park, and a new plaza off the 600 Block of Laurel Street.

A summary from the open house is provided below.

Coffee and Comments Open House

Downtown Community Workshop #2

Wednesday, February 15th, 2023

The City of San Carlos held its second virtual community workshop on February 15, with a great turnout of approximately 70 community members who shared their ideas, perspectives, and preferences for the 700 block of Laurel Street, possibilities for new and improved plazas, parks and public gathering spaces, and big changes for alleyways.


During the presentation, attendees participated in an interactive exercise using a real-time polling tool called “” to respond to a series of questions posed by the project team. The full presentation slide deck, Q&A transcript, meeting recording, and polling results are available below. 

Links to files:

Video Recording: 

Downtown Community Workshop #2

Downtown Community Workshop #1

Wednesday, August 31st, 2022

To those in attendance, thank you for joining the City of San Carlos’ First Community Workshop to discuss the Downtown Specific Plan on August 31, 2022. At this virtual community meeting, we had approximately 150 community members including City staff and consultants in attendance. The meeting began with a welcome from Mayor Sara McDowell and an introduction of the City staff and consulting team working on the Specific Plan project.


The workshop included a brief presentation on what the Downtown Specific Plan will cover, observations & objectives, and existing conditions of the study area. In addition, attendees participated in an interactive exercise using a real-time polling tool called “” to provide responses to a series of questions posed by the project team.  The meeting ended with optional break-out rooms where participants could share comments and ask questions. 

Links to files:

Video Recording:

Community Survey 1

An interactive mapping survey was developed and provided to the public from August 8, 2022 to January 15, 2023. There were approximately 470 comments across five subject areas. This included mobility, streetscape, gathering spaces, allowable uses, and other topics.

Survey 1 Summary can be found here.

Stakeholder Focus Groups Interviews

The City conducted a series of interviews in August, 2022 to learn about challenges and needs of specific stakeholders. The focus groups included: Infrastructure, Mobility, Seniors-Children-Special Needs, and Downtown Business and Events. For the Infrastructure group, the stakeholders included representatives from RethinkWaste, Cal Water, and Mid-Peninsula Water District.  For the Mobility group, the stakeholders included representatives from Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, SamTrans,  Caltrans, San Carlos Bikes,  and Healthy Cities Tutoring. For the Senior-Children-Special Needs group, the stakeholders included representatives from Adult Community Center, Arbor Bay School and Art BIAS. For the Downtown Business and Events group,  the stakeholders included representatives from City Parks Department and Chamber of Commerce. The City will conduct more focus groups interviews in the future phases of the Downtown Specific Plan project.

Focus Group Notes can be found here.

Stakeholder Focus Groups Inteviews
Community Survey 1
Downtown Community Workship #1
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