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November 18, 2013



The folk better cometh if they want a say in the outcome. What is not said in this flyer is that this is a highway widening project (adding a 5th lane for turn channels) of the sort that is standard for Caltrans on a standard highway. Has El Camino Real ever been a standard highway? Heck no! And there is no way to make it standard without taking out heritage trees and putting in more lanes-highly doubtful that there will be room for replacement trees, either.

Come with creative solutions such as signal phasing to allow safer turns, etc. that could spare the trees, or the agency will proceed with their standard solution.

FYI-- this is the very first widening project proposed in Burlingame since Trousdale and Murchison came to town in the 1950s and widened the north end of El Camino Real in our city for their then-modern subdivision. We all can see how that part of El Camino Real turned out.


SPEAK NOW or forever hold your peace!!

Caltrain will be taking out 70 trees in San Mateo to replace the 100 year old railroad bridges.

Poppy Guy

We should be DISCOURAGING, not ENCOURAGING driving. Making roads wider should not be an answer for anything in this day and age!

Burlingame Betty

I can't make the meeting tonight but will send an email - I wish I could give my 3 minutes to someone!

I am in full support of creative solutions and we'd better be sure to show up now


pat giorni

If we don't speak up at the onset, Caltrans will surely use this project as precedent to widen the entire stretch from Ray/Rosedale to Peninsula. Com' on People, do we really want to look like Millbrae within 10 years???? Fill the Lane Room tonight SRO.


Excusez mon Francais, but what the %#@& ??!!? Caltrans can't even keep El Camino up, fill up potholes, make it safe bicyclists and pedestrians let alone cars with their stupid traffic light timing ideas and now they want to tear up our streets and trees? What a terribly maintained street El Camino is. Fix that first if safety is your priority, which it obviously isn't. I'm really tired of state transportation agencies holding this city hostage with their stupid plans and mis-allocation of resources and holding money over our heads. What do you do with hostage takers? You don't negotiate with them on anything substantial and this qualifies as a line in the sand, plain and simple.


Well, this, too was one for this history books. I don't think I've ever experienced a meeting so poorly run and organized. 20 Caltrans wallflowers with no apparent purpose at all, while hired consultants attempted to manage an over capacity crowd, without having the necessary data to even answer relevant questions. This was supposed to be just the obligatory public input meeting to cross off the list on their way towards the inevitable draft EIR. 'Reminded me so much HSR and many other huge infrastructure projects where we are guided like cattle down their path towards an inevitable outcome. And this one would not be the last of such projects, that part was actually pretty clear.

Burlingame came out in force in defense of our trees, yet again. Agree with the above poster-- if they have money to burn, try out one or more of the many suggestions from this evening, and use the remainder to fix potholes, provide some lights and repair the sidewalks without wrecking our grove forever.


Has anyone noticed how much more traffic is on Peninsula now that the overpass is widened? In the evening heading west on the Burlingame side it is now almost bumper to bumper traffic.

Widening roadways is an autocentric outmoded solution from the 1960's.

Are we really serious about encouraging residents to take public transportation, walk or bicycle?

With all the combined high density housing that is being planned on the Peninsula get ready for a lowered quality of life here.

And Caltrans main purpose for existing is building and maintaining roadways.


I love those trees.
Sooner or later they are going to have to be removed.
The only option would be to relocate ECR @ the proposed HSR.
The tree are beautiful, important to Burlingame too.
Unless, the roots that "jut" into the flow of traffic are removed, and the sidewalks that look and act like a "survival course" become repaired, the beautiful trees are a "Clear and Present Danger."
A danger to pedestrians, cars and trucks,and the people who live @ ECR.

My solution would be:
widen California Drive all the way to Millbre Ave.
Make ECR into a two lane road-Nort/South, with a left turn lane between the two directions.
Weather we like it or not HSR is coming-we can not do anything about it.
However, we can develope a solution to save the trees on ECR. Move all the transportation corridors to one place that will be able to service the entire City of Burlingame, without removing the reason people want to live here.
One neighborhood or another is going to be sacraficed for transportation/commerce.
California Drive already has:
Cal Train
California Dr.
Soon, HSR-(homes and business will be removed)
It is only logical that ECR become a"neighborhood throughfare."

Poppy Guy

A better idea IMO is to not widen, but to decrease ECR to one lane in each direction, with a turn lane in the middle, bike lanes on either side.

pat giorni

This article does not even come close to describing the tone or tenor of the meeting, but does set up the "facts"...

Close to 100 folks attended this dog and pony show and all will tell you that if we don't come together as a community in a really big way, Caltrans appears to have presented us with a done deal rather than engaging in true outreach to us. They seemed to have taken a page from the High Speed Rail playbook and flooded us with consultants who could provide us with no data and no alternatives to what is funded as a widening project; and left unsaid that anything other than a larger footprint project would not have been funded. They had NO answer as to where sidewalks and replacement trees could be once the lanes were expanded, not taking into account that private property abuts its property. So while we have a brief respite from High Speed Rail concerns we are faced with another transportation threat slicing through the heart of our city.

Written comments on the Notice of Preparation will be accepted until Dec. 21. Please send comments to: Yolanda Rivas, District Branch Chief, Office of Environmental Analysis, California Department of Transportation, 111 Grand Avenue, Mail Station 8B, Oakland, CA 94623-0660; by fax: (510) 286-5600; or by email: Yolanda_Rivas@dot.ca.gov.)

Also make sure to cc: to our own council-- council@burlingame.org

and to reach more Caltrans folks who have a say in this...
Carol Rowland-Naw

State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO)

Office of Historic Preservation

1725 23rd Street, Suite 100

Sacramento, CA 95816
Lauren Clementino
Environmental Planner
Dept. of Transportation, District 4
111 Grand Avenue
PO Box 23660
Oakland, CA 94623-0660

Elizabeth Krase Greene
Branch Chief, Built Resources/ Architectural History
Office of Cultural Resource Studies
Dept. of Transportation, District 4
111 Grand Avenue
PO Box 23660
Oakland, CA 94623-0660

Slowly-Slowly, All The Trees Will Be Gone

Pat, this seems like the beginning of The Grand Boulevard Initiative, and not just a community meeting about one intersection.

It will usurp local authority and replace it with governance by regional folks that we don't elect.

As a Burlingame resident who lives on El Camino, I see the GBI as a make-work project that most residents don't really want.

Check it out!


pat giorni

GBI in conjunction with SMART and BRT and quite possibly the stars are all poised at implementation and it has been known for years that Burlingame with its "narrow" ECR is the bottleneck in that convergence. Where you are fundamentally in error is in the belief that these separate but co-joined projects are spawned by non-elected officials....not true because you have no grasp of how 20 municipalities plus the county governance operate in San Mateo County.
Please do yourself and all the rest of us a favor and enroll yourself in the Civic Leadership course to which Terry Nagel or Russ Cohen, or Nirmala Bandepalli can direct you in order to fully understand how our regional governance operates from the MTC/ABAG to C/CAG and SMCTA to local city and town governance so that you can present cogent comment rather than spouting uninformed half truths and rumor.


Do you want to know what a grand boulevard looks like? Well look no further than El Camino Real from Ray Drive to Peninsula. For cities of this density, there is nothing that replicates the El Camino Boulevard with beautiful, stately towering trees, certainly not in the Bay Area and probably not in all of California. I don't need to look at Powerpoint presentations of "award winning" designs to tell what is pleasing to the eye or not and the grand boulevard initiative looks like a bunch of banal and uninspiring buildings that may be an upgrade for certain cities, but definitely not for Burlingame. Caltrans has some other agenda that misaligned with how citizens feel about Burlingame and what needs to be preserved.

pat giorni

Right on, Locavore.

Slowly-Slowly, All The Trees Will Be Gone


I have not made any comments that are half truths or rumor. Many of the members of The Grand Boulevard Initiative (GBI) and The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) are not elected, and those that are elected are not elected (and potentially unelected) by Burlingame residents, yet they are trying to dictate more and more Burlingame decisions.

GBI, ABAG, HSR and other non-local boards abuse our local autonymy, our local trees, our local budgets and our individual rights.

I may not have won a city council seat on my 1st attempt, but neither did Ricardo, Russ, or Nirmala. I am still a fellow honest resident, and you don't need to be disrespectful on this community-oriented blog.

As an El Camino resident, I do not support the GBI, and I do not support the cutting down of any El Camino trees except when 1 protrudes into the space of the existing road.

I hope that we can preserve our iconic National Historic Monument trees, and stand up to The State Bullies who want to disregard our home, primarily in the interest of contract creation for themselves.

There's a well-organized group that's standing up against the GBI, which I can introduce fellow residents to, if you email me at Alex.Kent@symphonic-inv.com


Alex Kent

Slowly-Slowly, All The Trees Will Be Gone

To Michael Brownrigg,

As the sole resident representative of Burlingame on the Grand Boulevard Initiative Task Force, can you please explain how the GBI will specifically impact Burlingame and on what timeline?

Will all of the trees on El Camino Real be cut down to make way for a much wider street there?

Thank you,

Alex Kent



the issue here is one of increased traffic along el camino. due to 101 being clogged most of the time, many people are using el camino instead, which creates the type of problems caltrans is trying to fix. the problem with caltrans is that they don't live in burlingame, so they have no isea of why the problems exist. there have been several accidents at the el camino/oak grove intersections this year. it is clear that the stretch of el camino, between oak grove and howard avenue has become dangerous, and that is a problem. BUT the solution is a simple one...since we can reduce the traffic on el camino, we CAN do something about the driving habits. far too many people speed along that stretch of el camino and that is a part of the problem...we need the police to step up enforcement and start giving tickets for speeding and illegal lane changes and turns. we can save the trees by reducing traffic accidents, which is the job of the police...so get to it and start writing tickets

Slowly-Slowly, All The Trees Will Be Gone


You're correct, there are periodic accidents, not only in the street, but some where crashing cars fly off the street into our yards. I live and office at 1405 overlooking the Hillside and El Camino intersections, and I have since 2009.

Speeding is a problem throughout the day and night. As thousands live in the apartments along El Camino, it's really very dangerous for those that walk on the sidewalks there. This became even more apparent to me as I hand-delivered 5,000 door hangers recently to fellow renters. Very aesthetic barriers on the street side of the sidewalk would probably be considered reasonable.

I'd like Burlingame residents and our planning folks to LEAD a solution with Caltrans, instead of Caltrans and same-perspective City Council members from Burlingame and many other cities cramming The Grand Boulevard Initiative (GBI) down our throats.

"Say Yes" to speed limit enforcement on El Camino.

"Say No" To The GBI / Cutting All of Our El Camino Eucalyptus Trees in Burlingame!

Pete Garrison

During the spring, Hillsborough police put empty patrol cars along Skyline at Summit and Hayne as traffic calming devices.

As the police department headquarters are on the corner of ECR and Floribunda, it would be easy to put those traffic calming patrol cars where they will do even more good...

We need to slow down El Camino Teal, not speed it up.


Agree with the above. We are very lucky in Burlingame (and Hillsborough) to have choices for travel. I use El Camino Real and California Drive, as well as Delaware, as alternate routes to 101. Sometimes I even use Alameda de las Pulgas.

I was always amazed that when the PUC dug huge pits up and down El Camino Real last year, (for well over a year) people either found alternate routes or they behaved themselves and drove much slower; frequently drivers were limited to one lane only. It is possible to do so, and we didn't lose one single tree to that agency, not one. They didn't go on and on about how the trees were in the way. They wrapped them all in orange mesh and wood planks and were very careful with the saplings, too.

Essentially Peninsula to Ray/Rosedale is a scenic route- it is also a historic tree district on the National Register. I am quite certain that more width will bring more speed-- maximum throughput, or whatever the term is that they use.

They should at least give serious consideration to lowering the speed limit --one of the many ideas for safety improvements that evening. Afterall, McKinley school is located on the highway, but there are also quite a few children crossing east-west at various times of the day to schools on the opposite side, up and down the corridor; yet little money for more crossing guards. As Mike says, emphasis on enforcement and tickets with hefty fines. While they are at it, ticket those who are (still) on their hand-held phones while driving.


Great article regarding a [draft] letter to Caltrans from Mayor Brownrigg and Council-very nicely done! Let's hope they listen to us...


Bruce Dickinson

Hi everyone, Bruce Dickinson here, yes *the* Bruce Dickinson and I tried to post something on this topic earlier but it posted on the wrong thread, so let me elaborate:

I for one would like to see the full letter to Caltrans and its signatories. Unfortunately as was seen with HSR Burlingame City Council refused to use any strong language on the issue and failed to join lawsuits, until the very last minute when the project was all for dead. On the Floribunda ECR issue at hand, we cannot afford wishy-washy behavior, figuring out which way the wind is blowing, and then pile on when there is no political risk. As I say in the music studio, if you're gonna play the cowbell, you really need to explore the space, really, explore the space, and play the hell outta that cowbell!

Nagel defending Caltans in the recent meeting was a disgrace. Reminds me of session musicians who pipe up every once in a while in the studio because of their inferiority complexes thinking they bring so much to the table, who don't realize they are easily replaceable and not really a part of the band.

Not only should the letter be strong, but also clearly threaten CEQA litigation as the nuclear option. Michael Brownrigg likely sees himself as peacemaker here and the language quoted seems couched in diplo-babble, but as he should know, diplomacy doesn't work without a credible threat. In terms of paying for potential litigation, I'm sure some of the wealthier Burlingame and Hillsborough residents would pay for it, or someone could do it pro-bono, or we can hire Marten Law, LLC who is doing a dynamite job with Hoover.

City Council should be holding community meetings on how to respond to this issue, as their track record in *exploring the space* really hasn't been Grammy-winning types of performances.


I do not understatnd the reason for this project.
Anyone who drives in Burlingame is aware of the driving conditions of El Camino Real, through Burlingame.
Of all the trees along ECR:
Why now?
Why these trees and not many of the others that have been involved in deadly accidents?
Which trees are "proposed to be removed @Florbunda?

Just like Hoover School, if you could follow the "money trail," the answer would be revealed.

pat giorni

Mark it on your Calendar and then attend the November 13 Caltrans Open House at the Rec Center from 6:30 to 8:30 where public comment will be taken on the Draft EIR, the next step of the "transparent" process.

For added information and late night bedtime reading, download: http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/documents/82floribunda/EA-1G020K_DEIR-EA_Final.pdf if only for its completely flawed conclusions and an undisguised attempt to alter our quality of life in Burlingame. Make sure to read the appendices because that is where the real meat is.

Attend or watch on Comcast or Granicus the Nov. 3 City Council meeting where the discussion will center on how the city responds to the DEIR. The meeting will provide you with talking points for responses that you might make in the Nov. 13 meeting.

And then you MUST write a response To Caltrans and Submit comments via postal mail to:
Yolanda Rivas, Environmental Branch Chief, Attention: Sam Fielding, Department of
Transportation, Office of Environmental Analysis MS 8B
111 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612
Submit comments via e-mail to: yolanda_rivas@dot.ca.gov.
Submit comments by the deadline:

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