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Learn more about how Millbrae obtained the Spur Property and the history of the Spur parks and the Spur Trail.

 
     

 

 


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How It All Started

The Junipero Serra Extension Controversy

In the 1920s the San Francisco and San Mateo Counties Highway District #10 proposed a faster through route between San Jose and San Francisco, roughly approximating the route of Junipero Serra in the early days of California's history.  For many years, the Junipero Serra Highway would through the congested downtown area of southern San Francisco, west to Daly City, and ended in Colma.

In the late 1930s funding was obtained to extend the route to Sneath Lane in San Bruno. The route, then named Highway 101, connected to El Camino Real via Sneath Lane.  In the mid-1950s a section was added extending the route to Crystal Springs Road, at which point one traveled east to El Camino or west to Skyline Boulevard.  The congestion resulting from the use of this road caused Crystal Springs to become a one way street from the intersection to El Camino.

The Highway Commission intended to complete this road through Millbrae to Millbrae Avenue, and create a connector to the Bayshore.  However the parallel construction of roads and housing created a problem.  Millbrae housing development conflicted with the proposed highway construction.  In the mid-1920s the Highlands Company, headed by Niels Schultz, began development of property, which continued from Magnolia Avenue.  By 1940, the company began development along Medina Way, west of the Taylor School, and then between Median Way and Ashton in the path of the projected highway extension.  In response to a protest by the Highway Commission, the Highlands Company contended that commission district directors, who has postponed condemnation proceedings for the proposed highway extension, were adversely affecting housing development.  San Mateo County Supervisor Jack Lynch noted that the Serra route through the Highlands had not been fixed.  Millbrae was joined by Burlingame and Hillsborough in efforts to keep the proposed highway from bisecting their cities.

The realigned Bayshore Highway and improvements on El Camino real seemed to hold the promise of adequately handling the traffic needs for which the Serra Highway had been proposed. The newly formed Junipero Serra Highway Committee represented by Earl Wilms and Louis Klein asked the Millbrae City Council to request the state to withhold funds for the Serra project until the Bayshore and El Camino projects had been completed.

In early 1955 the proposed route of the Junipero Serra Highway was reoriented in San Bruno to go to Skyline Boulevard and south to Ralston Avenue in Belmont.  This new route was located considerable west of the original route; it no longer divided the Peninsula cities. In the 1960s the route was again modified, and the proposed Junipero Serra Highway was absorbed into the Interstate Highway System which created I-280 connecting San Francisco and San Jose.

In 1968, however, the San Francisco International Airport surprised Millbrae with a proposal of a route connecting the airport to the Junipero Serra road to be constructed north of the Green Hills Country Club.  The road would have followed Millwood Drive to San Juan, and would have proceeded across the Lomita Park Elementary School's southern playground to the airport.  The idea met with overwhelming opposition form Millbrae residents, and was eventually dropped.

Rights to the land in Millbrae which had been held for possible development of the highway were finally obtained by the city in 1969; most of the land was rezoned as open space in 1975.  The par course along Millbrae Avenue and the Josephine Waugh Park near Hillcrest Avenue are part of this area.  A part of the property at El Camino and Millbrae Avenue was sold in 1984 (for $1,700,000) and the Hong Kong Flower Lounge was later constructed on this land.  Another two lots on Lomita Avenue were [proposed for sale, but were not] sold for housing, following much protest by nearby residents.