By Dan Lieberman, @LiebermanTweets
The 250 was the first SamTrans bus I ever boarded, and was my primary mode of transportation for much of the 90s. As such, it seemed like the best place to start for our new feature, highlighting SamTrans routes throughout San Mateo County. Back in the day, I primarily rode the 250 to get back and forth from my home in Shoreview and school, be it Laurel, Abbott, or Hillsdale (Go Eagles, Falcons and/or Knights) with the occasional weekend trip to the Hillsdale Mall. Riding it for the first time in over a decade laid out how much San Mateo has grown over the years, and how much it has to offer.
I hopped on at 1st and B, next to the San Mateo Caltrain Station, just a block and a half from the Cinemark 12 that has been the anchor of the revitalized downtown San Mateo. Far from the quiet suburb of my youth, downtown San Mateo is home to a vibrant nightlife, the beautiful Central Park, the recently refurbished San Mateo Main Library and an absurd number of outstanding restaurants, resulting in San Mateo being named Rand McNally’s 2013 Best Small Town for Food. Whether you’re feeling La Piñata for pupusas, Saigon City for pho or Ramen Dojo for, well, ramen, the 250 will get you there when you’re hungry and back once you’re full.
As we left downtown, Bus Operator Carl Cruz called the route “a workhorse,” and said that it went to a lot of great locations around San Mateo. As we passed the new Chavez Supermarket at the Shoreview Shopping Center, as well as Taqueria Ay Caray, the home of the best carnitas in town, it was hard for me to disagree. As we cruised down Norfolk past Fashion Island Boulevard, we passed the Marina Library, the Fish Market, and Apple Fritter, one of Carl’s favorite new spots on the route. We then crossed over Hillsdale to the Marina Shopping Center and ran the loop by Los Prados Park, and proceeded to head east on Hillsdale, passing the gateway to San Mateo Village, and continued towards the Hillsdale Shopping Center.
Hillsdale Mall has been an important San Mateo destination since 1954. Just across the street from the Hillsdale Caltrain Station, it’s clearly still a draw as the bus all but emptied out on arrival. As we turned onto Alameda de las Pulgas and approached Hillsdale High School, I desperately tried to remember our fight song, but thankfully was not quizzed on it. After passing Beresford Park (which has been recently refurbished) we rolled down Alameda to 92 and arrived at the terminus of the route at the College of San Mateo, home of higher education and the best farmers market in the County. A crowd of college students surged onto the bus and together we rode the route in reverse until I found myself back downtown.
San Mateo has grown a great deal from the sleepy little suburb I grew up in, and the 250 is a great resource to see quite a bit of it. The next time you want to get wild on a Friday night, pick up some fresh produce on a Saturday morning, or just get any number of wonderful things to eat, the 250 is your chariot that arrives every half hour.
On the Move is a monthly blog feature highlighting places to go and things to see on SamTrans bus routes. If you have a suggestion for a future route, please email Public Affairs Specialist Dan Lieberman at email@example.com