Roadways in San Mateo, CA

San Mateo is a vibrant, busy city located in the San Francisco Bay Area with a population of over 100,000 residents. The city is situated just 20 miles south of San Francisco and only minutes away from major highways like US-101 and I-280.

San Mateo’s central location and robust transportation infrastructure make it easy for residents and visitors to get around. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various roadways in San Mateo and how they connect this bustling Californian city.

Major Highways

San Mateo has excellent access to three major highways:

US Route 101

  • Runs north-south through San Mateo along the San Francisco Peninsula
  • Connects San Mateo to San Francisco and Silicon Valley
  • Main route to San Francisco International Airport
  • 8 lanes through San Mateo, with a speed limit of 65 mph

Interstate 280

  • Runs north-south through western San Mateo
  • Connects San Mateo to San Francisco and San Jose
  • Junction with Hwy 92 and Hwy 82
  • 6 lanes with a speed limit of 65 mph

State Route 92

  • Runs east-west connecting San Mateo to Hayward
  • Crosses the San Francisco Bay via the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge
  • Connects to US-101 and I-280
  • 4 lanes with a speed limit of 65 mph

These highways allow for easy regional access and make San Mateo a very connected city in the Bay Area. They link residents to job centers like San Francisco and Silicon Valley.


Being situated on a peninsula, San Mateo relies on bridges to connect people across the San Francisco Bay. Here are the major bridges accessible from San Mateo’s road network:

  • San Mateo-Hayward Bridge – Spans the bay connecting San Mateo (Hwy 92) to Hayward (I-880). Length of 7.1 miles.
  • Dumbarton Bridge – Connects Menlo Park (Hwy 84) to Fremont across the southern portion of the bay. Length of 1.6 miles.
  • Bay Bridge – Links San Francisco to Oakland. Can be accessed via US-101, I-280 or surface streets. Length of 4.5 miles.

These bridges allow San Mateo residents easy access to the East Bay and wider Bay Area. The San Mateo-Hayward Bridge is particularly important for linking to employment hubs in Silicon Valley.

Surface Streets

In addition to highways, San Mateo has an extensive network of surface streets and boulevards that facilitate transportation within the city. Some of the main surface roadways include:

El Camino Real

  • Also known as State Route 82, it runs north-south through San Mateo
  • Connects San Mateo to other Peninsula cities like San Bruno, Millbrae and Redwood City
  • Main commercial corridor lined with shops, restaurants and businesses
  • Generally 3 lanes in each direction with a speed limit of 35 mph

Delaware Street

  • Runs east-west through the heart of San Mateo
  • Home to the Downtown San Mateo shopping and dining district
  • Parallel to Hwy 92 providing an alternate route
  • Speed limits around 35 mph

Hillsdale Boulevard

  • Runs north-south connecting different neighbourhoods
  • Lined with retail centres like Hillsdale Shopping Center
  • Generally 3 lanes in each direction with speed limits of 40 mph

These major boulevards, along with streets like Norfolk Street, Saratoga Drive and 42nd Avenue, provide important transportation links within San Mateo off the highways.

Public Transportation

San Mateo offers several public transportation options to help reduce traffic congestion on local roadways:

  • Caltrain – Commuter rail service connecting San Mateo to San Francisco and Silicon Valley. 
  • SamTrans – San Mateo County bus system with routes serving the city and region. 
  • BART – Rapid transit rail system with a Hayward Park station just across the San Mateo Bridge. 
  • San Mateo County Transit District Shuttles – Shuttles connecting Caltrain stations to business parks. 

Bicycling Routes and Paths

San Mateo encourages bicycling as an eco-friendly transportation alternative. Some key cycling routes include:

  • San Francisco Bay Trail – Multi-use path traversing the Bay Area. Runs along the bayshore in San Mateo. 
  • Route S1 – High visibility bikeway along Delaware Street. Part of the San Mateo Bike Master Plan.
  • Route S4 – Future bikeway connecting neighborhoods along 42nd Ave.
  • Route S6 – Bike route along Hillsdale Blvd.
  • Route C1 – Future north-south connection over Hwy 101 along the rail corridor.

See the San Mateo Bicycle Master Plan for more details on existing and proposed bike routes.

Notable Road Infrastructure Projects

To improve roadways in San Mateo, the city has undertaken some major infrastructure projects:

US-101/Peninsula Avenue Interchange Project

  • Major reconfiguration of the US-101 and Peninsula Ave interchange completed in 2015.
  • Eliminated dangerous tight curve in northbound US-101.
  • Added new overpass, ramps and roundabouts to improve traffic flow.
  • The project cost $72 million. 

Hillsdale Boulevard Improvement Project

  • Ongoing project to enhance Hillsdale Blvd between Norfolk St and US-101.
  • Will add new landscaped medians, buffered bike lanes, transit lanes and wider sidewalks.
  • Completion is expected in 2023. 

Delaware Street Protected Bike Lanes

  • Added parking protected bike lanes along Delaware St in 2017.
  • Provides a safer cycling route parallel to El Camino Real.
  • Part of the city’s bike master plan. 

Bridge Seismic Retrofit Projects

To protect against damage from earthquakes, San Mateo’s bridges have undergone major seismic retrofit projects:

San Mateo-Hayward Bridge

  • $148 million seismic upgrade completed in 2004.
  • Added column and foundation strengthening.
  • Improved ability to withstand a 7.25 magnitude earthquake.

Dumbarton Bridge

  • $235 million spent on retrofit project finished in 2011.
  • Included replacing bridge joints and bearings.
  • Bridge can now withstand an 8.0 magnitude quake.

Bay Bridge

  • $6.5 billion spent on East Span replacement after 1989 Loma Prieta quake damage.
  • New self-anchored suspension bridge opened in 2013.
  • Designed to withstand the strongest earthquake anticipated in the region.

Ongoing Transportation Planning

Responsible transportation planning is critical for San Mateo’s future. Some current initiatives include:

  • City Sustainable Streets Plan – Developing a plan for balanced, multi-modal “Complete Streets.” 
  • Caltrain Downtown Extension Project – Extending Caltrain to a new downtown San Mateo station. 
  • El Camino Real Master Plan Study – Strategic visioning for the El Camino Real corridor. 
  • San Mateo Rail Corridor Transit Oriented Development Plan – Guiding TOD near train stations. 
  • Countywide Transportation Plan 2040 – Long-range planning by C/CAG.

Careful planning will provide options that reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. More biking, walking, transit and carpooling will maximize roadway efficiency.

Roadway Safety Initiatives

Some current programs aimed at improving safety on San Mateo streets include:

  • Automated Red Light Traffic Enforcement – Cameras to catch red light violations. 
  • School Area Pedestrian Safety Enhancement – Focus on safe routes to schools. 
  • Traffic Calming Measures – Speed humps, traffic circles and pedestrian islands. 
  • Street Smarts Safety Campaign – Education and enforcement. 
  • Vision Zero Initiative – Goal of zero traffic deaths by 2030. 


In summary, San Mateo enjoys excellent multi-modal transportation connectivity thanks to extensive highways, surface streets and public transit options. Major infrastructure projects continue to enhance roadways in the city and region.

Careful planning initiatives also aim to reduce congestion and improve safety and sustainability. San Mateo’s forward-thinking transportation strategies will ensure it remains a highly desirable, accessible and mobile city long into the future.


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  • Starting downtown, head north on South B Street then make a left on East 4th Ave followed by a right on South Delaware Street. Turn left on 9th Avenue and arrive shortly on the right.
  • Coming from Highway 101 North, take the CA-92 West exit then turn left on Delaware Street and right on 9th Avenue, arriving soon after on the right side.
  • From Hayward Park Station, walk northwest on West Hillsdale Boulevard, turn right on Norfolk Street followed by a left on 9th Avenue. 812 will be on the left side.