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October 28, 2003

Comments

Bruce

Thanks Stephen,

very interesting!

Gerald

BURLINGAME MATHEMATICS:
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A few years ago when Broadway's Streetscape project was in progress, the Planning Department "surveyed" the parking in and around Broadway. One day they found "X" number of spaces open at one moment. The next day, they found "Y" number of spaces open at that particular moment.
They added the numbers "X" + "Y" along with something like "14" (actual number) of parking spaces being added in the new lot behind 1199 Broadway. From this sum the subtracted the 30-something spaces they intended to REMOVE from Broadway. They then presented this new plan to City Council, telling them their "new" plan would actually INCREASE the parking on Broadway by something like 9 spaces.

Only a last-minute tap-on-the-shoulder to the City Council saved Broadway from being a business district which in the process of "adding" spaces was actually subtracting them.

--I don't know if this is "old math" or "new math," but it sort of reminds me of some political candidate's calling it "fuzzy math."

***

Rosaline

Gerald, what do you think about the rejoning of Broadway to allow more businesses? Mrs. O'Mahoney asked at the last council meeting that they ask each and every business on Broadway what they thought. It has been said that most of the businesses would welcome the change but I would love to see the result of the survey. Isn't this going to hurt Broadway?

Gerald

Rosaline...I posted a topic starter elsewhere covering the possible re-zoning of Broadway.

I think it will hurt the street and town by allowing the limited resource of viable retail space (ground floor storefronts) to be used by businesses such as dentist offices, chiropractic, voo-doo, and the like.

I own a retail business on Broadway. But my shop cannot be successfully transplanted on to the third floor of some office building east of Bayshore or into a medical building near Trousdale Drive. Most other retail stores in town cannot be moved to those locations, either.

The amount of retail space in Burlingame is limited to a few areas: Burlingame Mallvenue, Broadway and the Burlingame Plaza.

The town also has numerous locations for other types of enterprises: auto dealers, auto repair, offices, warehouses, etc.

While we do have a number of non-retail businesses operating on Broadway, along with a mix of food establishments, the notion of allowing the remaining retail storefronts to be shuttered by doctor's offices, law offices, etc. would spell CURTAINS for Broadway as a retail area.

Some of the business owners on the street don't care what happens on Broadway. Many don't live in town. Many open their shops entering the place through the back-door and never get out onto the street to see what's going on here.

I may be the lone voice on Broadway, too, by the way, in wanting to see the street remain a "RETAIL" district.

Further, the number of vacant storefronts on the street is quite small and largely centered in a building many people consider an eye-sore, 1199 Broadway. (Galleria de Farce used to operate from this site.)

The issue, too, is about money. The owner of the building with these vacancies is hoping to attract tenants to whom the space is more valuable. If a doctor's office, for example, can pay a higher rental rate, he feels he should be able to collect this tariff.

Of course, a question that needs to be asked, as well, is what happens to retail businesses on the street if the "going rate" of rent escalates to a level higher than retail shops can afford to pay and remain viable businesses?

Do we simply resign ourselves to doing business in shopping malls and big box stores or is Burlingame interested in retaining some semblance of a viable retail zone?

These are difficult issues. But it will be sad when retail merchants on Broadway have to leave because of back-breaking rents to make way for a chiropractic office (for example).

That's my two-cents' worth and then some.

***

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