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Posts from the Burlingame Category


Streetscape and Bike Improvements on Tap for Burlingame

The sidewalks on four blocks of Downtown Burlingame Avenue will be widened from 10 to 16 feet. Image: RHAA Architects

Burlingame is moving forward on a project to give its downtown boulevard a much-needed facelift, and planning a number of citywide bike improvements.

Key features of the four-block Burlingame Avenue Streetscape Project include a gateway, wider sidewalks, shorter crossings, street furniture, large bulb-outs, “play areas” with public chess sets and parklets. The project was approved earlier this year by the city council, which got an update on the design at last week’s meeting.

“We have been looking at how to make the street more pedestrian-friendly and less vehicular oriented…and encourage more bike riding and walking,” said Jane Gomery, program manager for the Burlingame Public Works Department. The city hired San Francisco-based RHAA Architects to come up with the design, based on feedback from residents and merchants.

Burlingame, population 29,000, has a charming and historic downtown, across from the Caltrain station, but the streets are often congested with automobiles. Downtown Burlingame Avenue — billed as the liveliest part of the city with hundreds of stores and restaurants  — is surrounded by a number of surface parking lots, and narrow sidewalks are cluttered and uneven, creating an unpleasant environment for pedestrians. Angled parking also creates conflicts between autos, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Under the streetscape plan, angled parking will be replaced with parallel parking and about 10-percent of parking spaces will be removed to make room for pedestrian amenities. Gomery said the city plans to purchase smart parking meters, and set demand-based rates that will discourage long-term parking, and more turn around.

James Engels of RHAA Architects said the bulb-outs will be 80 to 100 feet wide, and the at-grade intersections and sidewalks will be comprised of pavers and concrete.  “The material palate will promote a richer experience,” he said, adding that the parking stalls can be used as parklets, allowing restaurants to spill out into the street.

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Eyes on the Street: What Do You Think of the New SFO Bike Lanes?

The new bike lane leading into San Francisco International Airport. Photos by John Murphy

New bike lanes were recently installed around San Francisco International Airport, and the reviews are coming in. Streetsblog San Francisco reader John Murphy, who was the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s 2010 Commuter of the Year, thinks there’s lots of room for improvement. He sent us this scolding review, along with the photos:

The new bike lane through here is completely asinine. As they started construction I thought it was decent, but as construction has progressed they keep producing new features which completely suck.

The lane starts just after you pass the United Airlines building heading SB. As you make the left hand bend to head straight south on McDonnell, there was a streetlight pole in the way of where they were building the bike lane. So they widened the road a little bit right where this pole is and send cyclists on a sharp right then left bend around this pole. At speed, this is extremely “annoying.” Attempts to bypass this feature by riding left are discouraged by soft-hit poles that start before the chicane.

The next challenge is set up by another set of soft-hit poles that force the cyclist to the right, where the lane abruptly joins a bus stop. Cars are forced left, except for the buses which basically pull right, into the bus stop. I sort of understand this treatment as it prevents the bus from driftng right though cyclists, but if the bus is already at the stop, you are sort of screwed here.

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