Frequently Asked Questions
A traffic sign in my neighborhood is bent and unreadable. How can I get it replaced?
To report missing or damaged street signs, call the Road Maintenance office at (650) 363-4103. Depending on the type of sign, repair or replacement will usually be completed within ten working days. Missing or destroyed "STOP" signs will be replaced immediately.
The trees on the street by my house need to be trimmed. What’s your policy? (Link to Public Works Tree Broucher)
Road Maintenance crews will trim or remove trees in the County right-of-way to maintain the safety of vehicular traffic and pedestrians. This includes site clearance near intersections; height clearance for vehicles and pedestrians; and elimination of hazards such as broken limbs or diseased growth.
Any tree on private property which encroaches onto the right-of-way must also meet these standards. We will notify you if a tree on your property needs to be trimmed. You may do the work yourself if you’d like; if not, we will trim the tree to provide the required clearance at no charge to you.
The work we do is related to the use of the travel way by the public and is financed with gas tax revenues. The work is not financed with property taxes, and we are unable to trim trees for aesthetic purposes.
Please call the Road Maintenance office at (650) 363-4103 if you feel a tree in the County right-of-way needs attention. If the branches are entangled in power lines, call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
I don’t need a permit to trim my own trees, do I?
You may. Significant and heritage trees are protected by ordinance and a permit must be obtained before trimming or removing these trees. For more information, call the County Planning Division’s permit desk at (650) 363-4161.
My sidewalk has raised up in several places. Will you fix it?
To report a damaged sidewalk call the Road Maintenance office at (650) 363-4103; provide your name, address, phone number, and locations of the damaged concrete. A supervisor will inspect the area and place the damaged spot on a priority schedule. Due to limited funding, we are only able to repair a limited number of sites every year. Repairs are prioritized by a number of factors, including the extent of damage and the site’s proximity to schools, churches, and other public buildings. Of course, especially hazardous sites are repaired immediately.
There’s something seeping out of a manhole into the street. What should I do?
Call the Road Maintenance office at (650) 363-4103 right away. Keep children and pets away from the area until our crew arrives to secure the site and take care of the problem. If after hours, call County Dispatch at (650) 363-4100 so they can send out an on-call crew to determine the source and repair the problem.
I think that tree roots are clogging my sewer. Will you take care of this?
If tree roots are clogging your sewer line, the County will clear the line from the main to the property line as long as you have a standard clean-out at your property line so we can use our rodding equipment. We cannot clear pipes between the property line and the house. (link to Sewer Maintenance)
There’s water bubbling out from the storm drain and it’s not even raining. What’s going on?
Because of drainage conditions, certain areas in the County are outfitted with "bubble boxes" which look just like regular storm drains. These boxes collect and store water; when full, the water is forced under the street into the regular drainage system. It is not unusual for some of the water to spill out onto the street when this occurs. If the water has become stagnant it may have a slight odor.
How come I never know when you’ll be sweeping my street?
The County has limited areas where a sweeping schedule has been adopted by County ordinance. Other County maintained streets are swept on a cyclical basis, depending on the seasons. Generally, residential streets are swept every 2-3 weeks; commercial and industrial areas once a week; and bike lanes once a week. (link to Sweeping Schedules)
I’m replacing the fences around my house. What are the height requirements and do I need a permit?
In general, fences are limited to a maximum height of 4', with some variations for side and rear fences. For information on fences within the County right-of-way, call the Public Works permit desk at (650) 363-1822 or 363-1821. For fences on private property, call the County Planning Division’s permit desk at (650) 363-4161. They can advise you on requirements for your area and the type of permit you will need. If you’re unsure whether the fence is on County or private property, we can provide you with that information. Call the Road Maintenance office at (650) 363-4103.
I’d like to plant some trees and shrubs in the County right-of-way. Is there any problem with that?
Any planting in the right-of-way requires a permit. For more information, call the Public Works permit desk at (650) 363-1822 or 363-1821.
County residents in unincorporated areas may pick up sandbags free of charge at the following locations. There is a limit of 15 bags; requests for additional bags will be considered on a case-by-case basis. When you are done with them, feel free to bring them back to the yard for disposal or simply empty the sand on you lawn and throw the bags away.
Grant Corporation Yard, 752 Chestnut, Redwood City – (650) 363-4103
Princeton Corporation Yard, 203 Cornell Avenue – (650) 728-7993
Pescadero High School, 350 Butano Cutoff Road
La Honda Corporation Yard, 59 Entrada Way – (650) 747-0341
Why is it that a road can look fine one day, and then there’s a big pothole in it the next?
Sun, heat and vehicle loads can break down roads, but the biggest enemy of a road is water. When water gets underneath the pavement, the road becomes weaker and, as vehicles use the road, the weakened parts of the pavement start pumping up and down and a pothole is born. To protect our roads from water seepage, crews routinely patch or seal cracks and damaged areas. This helps to prolong the life of the road to avoid costly resurfacing or reconstruction.
What routine maintenance functions are performed by your Road Maintenance folks?
Road Maintenance is more than asphalt. We set up work zones every day to clean culverts, grade road shoulders, install drainage facilities, fill potholes, trim trees for site clearance, install and repair guardrails, and do many other road improvement projects. We also have a crew that performs regular maintenance on the County’s sewer systems. Most activities are done on a seasonal basis. Please remember to drive carefully through work zones, and feel free to ask questions of the crew or just say hi. Look for our crews doing specialty work during these months:
Legends: Each crosswalk and legend you see painted on a County road is repainted annually. Most of the work is done during the summer and fall months. If you have a concern that a legend has become excessively worn, please call the Road Maintenance office at (650) 363-4103.
Striping: Lane striping is also done annually, usually during early summer.
Mowing: Weed and vegetation control is done mostly during late summer on the Coastside and in June and July on the Bayside.
Storm drains: Storm drain inlets are cleaned at least once a year before the rainy season. If you feel an additional cleaning may be necessary, please contact the Road Maintenance office at (650) 363-4103. To report a clogged or overflowing storm drain, call the Road Maintenance Office at (650) 363-4103 or, after hours, County Dispatch at (650) 363-4100.
Ditches: Ditch inlets and outlets are also cleaned prior to the rainy season.
How is a street light problem reported and to whom?
Call the Lighting District office at (650) 599-1407. Give the location and pole number. Lights are usually checked on Thursdays and repaired the same day if possible.
There’s a dead skunk in the road. Who do I call?
Call the Peninsula Humane Society at (650) 340-8200.
My neighbor had a junker car parked on his lawn for a week. Can someone get him to move it?
Call the County Planning Division’s Code Compliance section at (650) 363-4825.
There’s graffiti on the fence across the street. Will you remove it?
Call the Public Works Graffiti Abatement Program at (650) 312-5310.
I want a stop sign installed at a local intersection. Who should I talk with?
Call the Public Works main office at (650) 363-4100 and ask to speak with someone in the Traffic Section.
I’ve got a few gallons of used motor oil. Do you have a drop-off site?
There are numerous locations throughout the county that will accept a variety of waste such as motor oil, batteries, tires, paint, etc. For a complete list, call the Public Works main office at (650) 363-4100 and ask for a Recycling Services Directory.