« Hold the Chains saws! | Main | We are not alone! »

August 15, 2003



Burlingame planners have a clear choice on further development of its magnificent Bayfront land:

1. It can continue to treat it strictly as a "cash cow" and just build more and more hotels and office buildings.

2. OR it can include public spaces and facilities for the benefit of its residents AND provide bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly access to the area.

This important choice seems to get lost in the heated debate over housing.

john webb

This town needs better access to the bayfront and the nature it provides. The Bayfront group should be creating policy on such things as where the access points are and what percentages of open space per acre, is required for the future. They should be taking a look at other local cities ie. San Mateo, South San Francisco, etc. and come up with some ideas that these other cities have not been used. A continuation of the Coyote Point greenbelt from Fishermans Park northward would be an excellent choice for Open Space or Marine type sporting related facilities. A no residential clause must remain in the zoning. Focus should be on the area's infrastructure: 1.)accessability to the Bayfront for young and old
2.) useful functionality for the community and visitors, possibly in the form of a Park and Rec. community center type building that can be used for dances, group meetings, weddings or a teen center.
3.) marine related environmentally sound recreational opportunities provided, to the people through Park and Recreation.
4.) This is feasible through the State Lands Commission ownership, all it needs is our City Counncil's backing, a good, fururistic plan and money.

Ray Park

I thought the land we are talking about is privately owned. I didn't realize the City owned it and could do with it what it may. Or are you suggesting that the City purchase this land to make it into a park? These are the kind of ideas that go unchallenged on this site and it would make one think that tha majority of Burlingame agrees. I do not know what the study found but if this is privately owned property, the only way it is going to be a park is if we buy it. My guess is we cannot afford it. For the ones with the great ideas above (I really think they are good) how would you propose to make them reality. There are investors who have put down a huge amount of cash for this land and I don't think a bayfront park is tops on their list of economically viable alternatives. Housing should remain on the table as a way to achieve at least some open space. Any candidate who is stuck on a position is doing a disservice to the City. Infrastructure and schools? Skyline is further from the schools than this area. A mixed use high-density plan could make for a vivrant, attractive bay front community that will provide much needed housing very close to a major transportation corridor (US 101. If we do it right, we could also add some tax revenues from restaurants, conveninence store and other establishments that would be patronized by office workers and hotel guests during the day and residents at night. Picture as part of that a facility for wind surfers to park and launch. Lets be open minded. There are many cities in the Peninsula with bayfront housing and the sky has not fallen on them.

Well, the thing that worries me about what you've proposed is that it would almost be like an island of housing. I am concerned about a Redwood Shores arrangement, though admittedly that is a much larger area, where there aren't any immediate schools, where kids need to be bused everywhere, where people absolutely need their cars because there isn't any public transportation there, or it is unrealistic to bring it there. I was dumbfounded by the traffic that continues to occur in the Redwood Shores/Belmont area. It completely overshadows anything we have here. Also, our police are obviously very stretched. They barely come around our neighborhoods anymore, so how would they patrol or offer help to those residents? There may be answers to all of these concerns, but they need to be addressed before anything on that order could be considered.

As far as what Mr. Webb wrote, I think better access to the area would really be an attribute. We clearly do not benefit very much from being close to the Bay. It's like missing a limb. When I see what San Mateo has done with the Bay Trail and that new park over there, it is truly a work of art, where Bay birds and wildlife flourish. I do not know the land arrangement/ownership either, but this should be looked into, before such a great idea is discounted.

Ray Park

I think the police already patrol that area. There are Hotels and office buildings that already require police. I can't think of a single use of that land that would not require police patrols. I think a park would probably be a better place for all kinds of illicit activities at night. As for schools and busing, I dont think the type of developement will attract many kids, but if it did, they are closer to Washington than many of the Burlingame Hills residents are to Franklin, Roosevelt or BIS. Traffic? Most of it would be routed through Peninsula which I think can take it(but it is worth a study). As far as public transportation, don't we have a shuttle that runs back an forth from there to Caltrain and BART? Just extend it half a mile longer. I am not saying that we should go build housing there today, all I ask is that the candidates keep an open mind. Ireally don't understand why there is so much passion to those opposed. Was this a Galligan project?


Great blog - I agree with Ray - I don't think it was a Galligan project but they may consider it a "good ol' boys" project.

Bayfront Housing

Having attended the meetings, wasn't it Rosalie who was so against housing on the Bayfront?

Ray Park

I'd love to ask her why. She seems pretty level-headed. Maybe I'm missing something since I was not at tne meetings. I am just waiting for someone to post some good objections. The ones I hear are just not credible. Please tell me why this is such a rotten idea Mr. Housing. You probably heard all the bickering.

Bayfront Housing

Never been against housing on the Bayfront BUT there has to be the infrastructure, some open "community" space, easy access and no huge high rises. Have even seen Paul's plans.

The issue with Mahoney was - you guessed it - losing the TOT. Now that the hotel business has taken a hit, maybe she would change her mind on housing. You will have to ask her.

Not sure about that. Building by the Bay is basically, "sprawling," something we should be very careful about. There is no center out there, no transportation besides freeway, and no infrastructure to support it. Better would be to build closer to the trains and buses, ie California and El Camino bound by Peninsula and Broadway.

Paul Prendiville

Bay Front Housing.I believe in my heart an my soul this is so right for this area.

Ray Park

Thanks for the info. Bayfront. TOT??? Maybe a Ionescu-type developement with open areas and shoreline access. Maybe 3 stories 4 max.

I would like to hear more from those who were involved in the meetings.


I just drove by the area and found wide streets and many empty lots. What infrastructure are we missing? And what would you recommend for the area that would require no police, "infrastructure" or that would not require that people drive there? Other than leaving it as is, I see very few alternatives that would qualify. Also, my understanding of sprawling does not cover high-density housing with shops directly below and employment just blocks away (ie. Hotels, airport, office buildings). Anyway thanks for the imput. I am just trying to understand the different points of view on some of these issues. Candidates????

Hockey Player

There is no there there yet but with clever planning, respect to the environment (very important) and plenty of good dealing and wheeling, our Bayfront could be even better. Presently there is a few ugly parking lots overlooking out beautiful bay, a place with so much potential.

Wasn't another Mahoney idea a Costco by the Bay? Wow a concrete box by the bay - now that is creative! not

What you describe sounds like mini Foster City to me. Foster City started in the 50's and 60's and was just a bedroom community, no center. It was created on fill. Being located over the freeway you needed a car to navigate out of there to get anything. The Foster City we see today is really just more sprawl. They have tried, after the fact, and not "organically," to create little centers, numerous mini-malls, some mixed use, etc., but there is still no logical center, and people are bound to their cars. I seldom see bikers or walkers, except on the recreational Bay Trail. Heck, they don't even have a school after all this time. Shuttling people around, to me, seems a bit hokey. I took surveys for Ms. Nagel on the train shuttle, and how many Caltrain passengers planned on using the shuttle to Millbrae, after the Broadway station would be closed. I wasn't too impressed. Time will tell if this really turns out to be money well spent. But I see many more people returning to their cars, just as the survey indicated. To me, infrastructure isn't just having a wide street or freeway in front of my house. It means schools, police, stores, public transportation, etc., I agree the area over there could be improved upon, certainly. It also attracts crime at the moment, at least that is the way the police reports look. But I think it is too much of a treasure to be on the Bay, and then not be able to have access to it (I mean, everyone having access to it). At the time, I never really understood Rosalie's problems about housing there, that is an area where she has been unwavering in her opinion. With time, I do see her point. A Costco or Walmart wouldn't be a good idea, in my opinion, mainly because of traffic. But I don't think that idea was ever seriously considered. The area on the northend, closer to BART makes much more sense for housing. Use up what we have first, before sprawling into yet another area, particularly on the Bay. Maybe we'll agree to disagree on that one.

Ray Park

OK Jen.

Constrained by the reality that this is privately held land, what is your vision. You don't like housing, you don't like big box store. What would you like to see out there? I think a park is a wonderful idea and probably the best use for the land but I just don't understand how this could happen. Short of that, a mixed use developement is our best bet to save any access at all. I think open areas can be negotiated into the deal.

As far as Foster City, that was all single family dwellings spread over a large amount of land. Not at all comparable. I thing looking at Bay Meadows may be a much better model. I agree with you that there are other areas where this model will work even better due to the proximity of mass transportation but they are not mutually exclusive. Lets do both.

The biggest probelm with cities up and down the Peninsula is that people oppose any developement and the compromise ends up being bad for everyone. I hope in Burlingame we can have vision and go chase after what we want for our community. Something will be built there and I hope it is not decided in the courts. Anyway what is your vision?


Still a great blog

Who owns the land? Several holders or just one?. Is city or county land involved? I don't know much about it, so funny you ask me. All I said is that there are far better places to consider housing.

Is this the same piece where the biotech company has submitted something? I don't have a problem with that, as long as it isn't a skyscraper. What about a mix of biotech businesses,dealers, and open space? I would need a map, Ray Park, to know what parcels would be involved. This is where the vision part comes in. I think given a council that can work together and can weigh the positives against the negatives, the community will see a positive outcome. The remark about the Peninsula residents opposing everything is only half correct. If you have been keeping track of what has been proposed on the Peninsula, and the way the public has been handled, you'd understand why there are problems. It doesn't have to be that way. People like to feel like they've been included, somehow, in the process. The reason measure ""Q" didn't get passed is because it was a poor project, but also because the council had decided it liked it, without really communicating or involving the public.

Ray Park

It is truly a pleasure disagreeing with you. Now if the City Council could behave like you, they would get a lot further.

When I picture a large Biotech firm, I don't see greenery or bay access for all.

There are many reading this exchange that have much more info than I do. Hopefully they will fill us in. Until then, I still feel that housing can provide a great solution to a beautiful corner with bay access to all. By the way, I am pretty sure it is all Burlingame.

Actually, I think it may depend on the firm who would apply, or who has applied. I hope we'll hear more about it. What about a biotech company that proposed a "green" building, of the type we've heard so much about, great for energy efficiency, biodegradability of building materals, etc, etc. with a clever design to boot, that blends. I've even heard of "green" (as in, living) roofs, I think the new de Young museum will boast one. What about combining green buildings, labs, etc. and a park in that case? I can picture it, but I do have a good imagination. Look at what was done successfully in the Presidio. In case you haven't seen Lucas' complex, it is amazing, blends beautifully, and there is some, albeit limited access (I think a park and cafe). I don't think it's too weird of an idea, do you?
Likewise, It is also a pleasure disagreeing with you, there's a great answer in here somewhere and I'm glad we can discuss it here.

By the way, someday, I want to meet all of you: the real, the fake, the multiple personalities. We can call ourselves The Voice Groupies and hang out at Il Picolo, discussing all sorts of things. It would be fun, seriously.


Why doesn't the Burlingame Voice have a party? Maybe after the elections? We could celebrate all the great voices, opinions and discussions over the last two years.

Make it a mask party!

What do you think editors?

the BVB's !! (better name)


There is masses of information on the Bayfront on the City website. An interesting one is the Minutes for Monday, August 18th, 2003 which includes state land parcels, limited land use, empty nesters, bay trail and Anza Point, etc. Of course there is lots more information in the minutes after 2003.


Still the best blog.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

About the Voice

  • The Burlingame Voice is dedicated to informing and empowering the Burlingame community. Our blog is a public forum for the discussion of issues that relate to Burlingame, California. On it you can read and comment on important city issues.

    Note: Opinions posted on the Burlingame Voice Blog are those of the poster and not necessarily the opinion of the editorial board of the Burlingame Voice. See Terms of Use

Contributing to the Voice

  • If you would like more information on the Burlingame Voice, send an email to [email protected] with your request or question. We appreciate your interest.

    Authors may login here.

    For help posting to the Voice, see our tutorial.