Alternate title: Exercize in futility.
Many who attended the Caltrans meeting tonight expected, at the very least, a presentation about their plans to remove 14 trees along El Camino Real between Oak Grove and Floribunda in order to make the left turn accident rate decrease. There was no such presentation. Only a few tables spread about the room with some charts and graphs. Sure you could ask a question of the representative at the table, but the answer might be different depending on whom you asked, at least that was my experience.
For the most part, small circles formed around the room where Burlingamers commiserated over what should be done to both save our historic trees and reduce the accident rate. Many of the suggestions bandied about revolved around the “no left turn” scenarios. Obviously, these suggestions can be tried as pilot programs, their results measured and reported back to both the city of Burlingame and the Town of Hillsborough and if they work, then problem solved, everyone is happy and millions of taxpayer dollars saved.
Not so fast! It is clear after two of these “public outreach” meetings that Caltrans has little intent on trying anything other than a full blown widening of ECR with the removal of 14 trees. ...and more importantly the precendent being set to do the same all along Burlingame's stretch of ECR.)
They got the money and they need to spend it; never mind if there is a cheaper, faster, better way to solve the problem.
I made a few simple suggestions to one CT representative and his response was, “We would have to get consensus from both cities to do what you are suggesting.” I said, “Give me a couple of minutes, I’ll go get the City Manager of Hillsborough and the City Manager of Burlingame, who were in attendance, and we’ll hammer out an agreement right now.”
I was being facetious, of course, but truth be told, it will take strong leadership from both cities to demand Caltrans listen to the citizens and city leaders and act responsibly as this project moves forward.