City and state leaders, transportation officials and residents gathered at the steps of San Bruno City Hall today to kick off—in old time fashion—the .
As speakers recalled how far the Peninsula thoroughfare has come since the first segment was paved at El Camino and San Bruno Avenue in 1912 in San Bruno, others joined in the celebration to be part of the historic moment—some with vintage costumes and cars, thanks to the San Mateo County Historical Association and Mid-Peninsula Old Time Auto Club.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier said a lot has changed along El Camino Real since 1912, but what hasn't changed is its purpose.
"Think about it. Nearly everyone in our communities travels along El Camino throughout the week, an enormous amount of commerce is done along this road and when babies are going to be born, a lot of moms and dads travel along El Camino to get to Peninsula Hospital or Kaiser South San Francisco or San Mateo Medical Center—even Stanford and El Camino Hospital," Speier said. "In short, it's not just a lifeline for our community, but it makes delivery of new life possible as well."
Speier shared those words to encourage leaders throughout the Peninsula to renew their commitment to keeping El Camino Real "a truly grand boulevard."
The groundbreaking of the "Royal Road" made possible the building boom that created the Peninsula and Silicon Valley, and the decision to purchase the Caltrain right-of-way from Southern Pacific 20 years ago—beginning the effort to modernize the transit system—was another step to keep the Grand Boulevard vision moving forward, said Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.
But Hill said the Caltrain modernization plan shouldn't be the last stop.
"Like our predecessors 100 years ago, we continue to see El Camino Real as a vital, vibrant arterial connecting our communities," Hill said.
Following the speeches, the crowd watched a period re-enactment of the groundbreaking of El Camino Real in front of San Bruno City Hall.
The re-enactment was followed by a procession of dozens of vintage automobiles that drove down El Camino Real to Washington Park in Burlingame.