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February 05, 2012

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hillsider

Is somebody getting paid somewhere along the way? It sure feels like it.

dtn

This deal is coming from out of nowhere and it seems to be skipping a few steps. Did the city get an appraisal of any of these properties. I know at least one of the council members is totally naive in the ways of the world. She can organize a neighborhood network coffee but I would not want her doing a real estate deal unless she was selling something to me. Can I buy the lot next to the library. I'll give you a good price. wink wink

alan

Do not forget the dozen spaces that have already been declared extinct on Burlingame Ave. This idea looks like it will just move parking further away from where people want it.

fred

Interesting "proposals". One seems to be all apartments on both lots next to post office and the pet store/blockbuster. The other is mixed use (apartments/retail) taking the post office and the post office lot and making a parking deck out of the pet store lot (who's paying for the deck?).

Cathy Baylock seems entirely concerned about saving the post office and getting a boutique hotel. What's the deal with the boutique hotel? Does she need another study to learn it's not economically feasible like they did for a movie theater?

The entire council wants a town square but I doubt either developer is willing to give up that much land/revenue opportunity. If you want a town square, buy the post office and tear down or renovate the building. No need to make a deal with the devil and give up huge chunks of land in your downtown. That land could be used by the city smartly in the future when the economy recovers fully.

It seems that the council only cares about maintaining the existing level of parking because that is the minimum they need to do for the parking districts they taxed. Pushing the parking as far away as south of Howard is an option.

There will be a need for much more parking if either plan goes forward. Put that much new retail and that much housing into the core of downtown and not increase parking substantially will gridlock the downtown.

Myself, if I have to hunt for parking or park far away, I'd rather go to the city or the mall. Parking is the lifeblood of our downtown, at least 80% of the revenue comes from people living outside the city of Burlingame.

Joanne

If I have to park two blocks away to run an errand in downtown then I'll go somewhere else. It's not that I don't mind walking so much but it's the time factor which so many of us seem to have so little of these days.

fred

San Mateo Daily Journal Feb 8, 2012:

Letter: Disappointed in downtown plan

Editor,

I was disappointed that the city of Burlingame is considering eliminating public parking lots in favor of mixed use projects. (“New housing proposed for Burlingame” in the Feb. 4-5 edition of the Daily Journal).

I’m both a Burlingame business owner and a tenant in the 200 block of Lorton Avenue. Grosvenor Developers and the city of Burlingame are considering redeveloping Public Parking Lot ‘E’ for a mixed-use project.

Eliminating public parking spots would be detrimental to Burlingame’s overall public interest. If one has gone to the 200 block of Lorton Avenue, Park Road, Burlingame Avenue or Howard Avenue on a pleasant day, they already know that the parking situation is intolerable. People “fight” for parking spots and double park just to wait for an available spot. I’ve seen not only verbal arguments but also physical altercations due to the lack of parking availability.

As a tenant, often I am forced to park one or two blocks from my residence with the current parking availability and eliminating more spots with no plans to replace them would make it virtually impossible to park near my own home. I invite the Burlingame City Council to come to the areas in the proposal on a day when many members of the public want to partake in the downtown atmosphere, i.e. a warm summer evening, Art on the Avenue, Art in the Park or to partake in many of the fine restaurants and neighborhood activities and see for themselves the mess of parking Burlingame already suffers from.

I will also attend council meetings to voice my displeasure and suggest anyone who may be impacted by the proposal attend and speak up also. Burlingame does not need any more mixed-use venues, it does, however need more public parking and going ahead with this idea would be injurious to the Burlingame community. Oh, and the construction nightmares.

Jeffrey Pink
Burlingame

Joanne

I now find myself hardly going to the new Safeway because of the lack of parking and because the spaces are made for Smart cars or Mini Coopers
unless you don't mind getting your car all dented.

I now find it a hassle to go there and simply go to the Safeway on Delaware.

JF

The Safeway parking lot is so bad that I only shop there Saturday or Sunday morning at 8AM. And even then it's about 80% full (I'm talking about the ground level). If the delivery truck is there, forget about even attempting a visit to Safeway.

alan

I agree with you Fred but I don't get why you are picking at Baylock on one minor nit when she is by far the closest to your point of view on the big picture. The rest of them that were there are ready to take take take and build build build. You should be calling her up and asking how you can help.

Yogi Berra

"Nobody goes to the Safeway anymore; it's too crowded."

alittlebird

Well let's see "alan." We have Baylock on the council who has no hidden agenda. Then we have Keighran who has both a father and a husband who are in the construction business, so I guess that would account for the "build build build" part and Deal is an architect so that would also account for some "take take take and build build build." The remaining two, one being Nagel who is definitely swayed by people of power in the community would also being a "build build build" type and lastly we have Brownrigg and I frankly have no idea where he stands.

fred

I'm not trying to pick on Baylock, just stating how I see it. I don't care for land grabs, either by the city or by developers or by historical societies. If you want property to preserve or redevelop pay for it when it is for sale.

If the city wants a town square, buy the post office. It will be for sale soon for roughly 5 to 6 million dollars. If the city can't afford to do that, it can't afford to give up 5 to 10 million dollars of parking property to outside interests.

The one guy from Equity didn't even know his company owned North Park he kept calling it North Point. Also, when they bought North Park they cut down 20 to 30 mature trees last year on the perimeter of the property and no one said boo, private property. The other one, the obvious front runner, Grosvenor seems ready to placate just enough to give up nothing and get exactly what they want.

If you want a town square buy it, if you want a mini Santana Row in the heart of downtown, please continue with the developers.

alittlebird

You should run for Council, Fred.

pat giorni

Better yet, Fred, there's a seat opened on the Planning Commission. Apply for that and then nix the developers.

Downtown Plan

This is from the Daily Journal editorial

The city of Burlingame has a downtown that should be replicated elsewhere. It has a high school and large park adjacent to a train station with a long pedestrian-oriented shopping street leading directly to it. At the opposite end of the street, it has a City Hall and library within a short walk and a variety of housing — single-family homes, apartment buildings and condominiums — sprinkled next to all.
It also benefits from close proximity to a wealthy town in the hills that uses it as its primary gathering place and shopping district. In the center is a post office surrounded by underutilized space, parking lots and is anchored by a brand-new grocery store next to another high-end grocery store at its northern edge.
If one were to draw an ideal downtown, it would be Burlingame’s. It is somewhat large, but not too large, with plenty of parking, shops and restaurants for its residents to enjoy and to draw those from other cities and towns.
You shouldn’t mess with it, right?
Well, maybe. At least that is what is being proposed right now.
One plan, a $15.9 million proposal, would focus on streetscape improvements that could lead to the thinning of the auto portion of Burlingame Avenue at the heart of the district to widen the sidewalks. Doing so would eliminate the slanted parking on the street and replace it with parallel parking.
Another separate plan, which is just now beginning to be discussed, envisions new housing and retail in city-owned parking lots with the provision, now this is key, that no parking spaces would be lost. Let us repeat, no parking spaces would be lost. The idea is to revitalize downtown, get better use of languid lots and create residential space for ready-made shoppers who would live downtown. One of the proposals discusses using the post office site, which has been discussed as being for sale, but has yet to be officially made for sale.
Both plans are early in the process, but seem to be touched by modern urban design concepts that harken European villages that envision walkable communities, transit-based housing and better use of parking lots. But make no mistake, the city’s downtown is not a suburban strip mall with a yolk of retail and an egg white of parking. It is much different, and possibly even the exact concept already of what is envisioned. It is inherently walkable, with a fine mix of everything a downtown could need.
But that is not to say that improvements should not be made. All fine cities are in constant need of improvement to maintain a competitive advantage and to retain its tax base. Burlingame Avenue is nice, but needs a refresher if it is to keep its reputation as a destination. Widening sidewalks may make it better, but it will have an impact on those who visit and on those who keep their shops on the Avenue. It is already challenging to drive down the Avenue, thinning it would make it more challenging. But perhaps that is the intent. Some contend that the city should just shut down the street to auto traffic or make Burlingame Avenue one-way. That could be in order, but city officials should keep in mind that there will be many in opposition.
As far as developing lots, there may be some opportunity as long as the concept that no parking will be lost is front and center. Downtown already has an oddly used parking corridor between Burlingame and Howard avenues and there may be an opportunity to revise the flow with a new parking structure. However, any proposal that would call for the removal of the post office building will certainly not pass muster with those keen on historic preservation. The city has already lost some historic buildings like its original City Hall in nearly that exact spot. The time for that type of “progress” has passed.
As the city embarks on the discussion of these two plans, there should be patient deliberation on possibilities and impacts. Burlingame is sometimes criticized for taking too long on projects, but in this case, these are two plans with several facets that should be measured, inclusive and wide-scoping.

Russ

It's nice that The Burlingame Voice exists so that the many of you can air your perspectives on this issue. However, there were only two of us from the public that showed up to the meeting and approached the council with our concerns.

I for one was concerned about the loss of parking as well and explained that I successful downtowns depend on adequate parking and that there approach of "no net loss" was a mistake and that it should be a "net gain" of parking instead.

That's not to say you can;t add open space as well.

That said, I encourage those of you who have concerns to get up out of your easy chairs and march down to city hall if you want to make an impact.

The B Voice is great, but there ain't nothin' like appearing before our electeds to speak your mind.

I'll see you at the next meeting.

hillsider

I agree and will go one step further!

It's not just no net loss or a net gain but the WHERE matters. The developers will move the new parking to Bayswater or over the tracks or to some hidden lot next to the ones that are already less seen on the west side. They will claim no net loss but every mom and grandma in town will see lost parking. There is more to it than the direct count of spaces. WHERE they are matters. Oh, and we are already seeing how people LOVE the second level parking-NOT. How is it that Jon Mays has more sense than 4 out of 5 of our own council people?

hillsider

And here comes the bill for this plan

http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=228973&title=City%20considers%20hiking%20parking%20fees

longer hours of meters, higher prices and smart meters probably take away the luck of finding a meter with time on it.

dtn

Common sense prevailed tonight against you-know-who.

holyroller @hotwire.com

Walking tom and from the downtown area/parking lot, should be a pleasure for anyone.
With the exception of Howard Lane, I see beautiful homes, nice people,trees and then I get to shop in DownTown Burlingame.
Look around neighbors, smell the Roses.
What to you neighbors feel when you see a $100,000.00 + sports car or SUV (with a State of CA. Handicap placard) parking in HC spaces on Burlingame Ave?

fred

Hola and La Boheme are now closed permanently. Two more empty storefronts on Burlingame Avenue and there are many. Yet, giving away the majority of street level parking at Burlingame Avenue to add more storefronts makes sense?

jennifer

Humm, La Boheme closed? That is a shame. It was one of the few places where you could sit for several hours at your table enjoying a talk with friends, without being hustled to leave. They also had a very nice bakery section. Are we getting to 'overload' in the restaurant category (even good restaurants)? Looking around the downtown, there are people everywhere- at least they are buying frozen yogurt.......

Downtown Plan

Hola was forced out by a $10,000 a month increase in the rent. That's the increase! How many margaritas is that?

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