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December 26, 2018



I agree about the over decoration and light pollution. Two other examples are downtown Burlingame Avenue: 1 Either the upper lights or lower lights could’ve gone away without doing the sidewalk visibility harm. 2 The other example is the Broadway overpass where 1/3 to 1/ half of those lights could’ve been removed – it looks really overdone like too much frosting on a cake. But I imagine it’s regulatory driven or some such nonsense. Or someone getting paid a lot of money to put in the lights.


Does anyone have any thoughts of the (benefit/lack of) about Roundabout?
I do all I can to avoid it.


Maybe it is part of a grand plan.
But what do I know?


They city documents show the project costing $4.3 million. I wonder if the crosswalks are going to provide enhanced safety for pedestrians once the round-about construction is completed.


It wasn't broken. Then they (city council) decided to fix it.


When humans finally land on Mars, there are 2 things they will see. The Broadway overpass with lights every 5 feet. And the Burlingame roundabout birthday cake with dozens of “candles”. Cassandra is right. Can’t believe council overlit the roundabout up so wastefully, with lighting 3x more than required.

On the plus side, when ambulances and fire trucks respond at night to the inevitable rear-enders, sideswipes and pedestrians getting hit because drivers are confused and trying to focus on navigating the RA, the area will be well lit. And bicycle riders - it’ll be dangerous for them day or night. They’ll flee to the sidewalk.

A signal would have been better - safer, more intuitive, cheaper and would have been built 2 yrs ago.

Bruce Dickinson

Another classic Burlingame "solution in search of a problem". Our city sees free $$$ and can't help but spend it, even if the reasons are dubious, at best.

However, from Bruce Dickinson's perspective, it will serve as a great "drifting circle" for all my supercars!


But here’s the thing - it’s not free money.

Per the 3/19/18 Council report, the roundabout itself cost $2.8M. Of that, the “free” or grant money of $1M is from the County’s Measure A sales tax pot for pedestrian and bike improvements.

Which means Burlingame had to kick in $1.8M of its own money to build it. That is neither free nor cheap. And the opportunity cost. Instead of $1.8M worth of paved roads, better lit streets, improved traffic signals, real traffic or safety improvements, Council sunk it all in to the middle of the roundabout. Poor Mayor Colson has an immediate mess in her lap.


I never thought about that....
As "The City Burlingame" closes the "downtown" for a Biker Race, it is only fair to do the same for "Drifters."


[repost/edit from my Nextdoor comment] The roundabout: I consider the resultant reconfig to be an extremely poor decision, for the following reasons:

1) wasteful use of space: roadway is a precious resource, and it is best to use it efficiently. The roundabout reconfiguration has drastically reduced the square footage of space for vehicles to navigate. The huge center area is now completely unusable. And now, it needs to be completely clear of any obstruction for the sake of visibility.

2) constricted roadway: before, California was very wide, and vehicles/bicycles had lots of room to navigate and maintain 3+ foot buffer. Cars didn't have to drive around bicyclists; there was plenty of room for both. The southbound roundabout now forces two lanes of cars and a bike lane into a single curved path whose width is narrower than the original right-hand-side lane (lane closest to sidewalk). Constricted roadway. Think heart attack. That's how they form.

3) straight line navigation: it is a well-known fact that keeping vehicles straight and in-lane reduces risk of accidents. That's why in Canada it is illegal to drive on the left lane (passing lane only) and why CHP considers a slow driver more dangerous than a fast driver (slow driver forces everybody else to weave around the slow car whereas fast car is 1 vehicle weaving around everybody else).

4) roundabout diameter: anybody watch buses navigate through the roundabout, and how much radius they need to turn? Not much room to navigate. I've been behind a bus and watched as it managed only 2-3 feet on either side because the lane is so narrow. And due to the curvature, it is less. Thankfully, the roundabout curb edges are slopped (the buses need them...they hit the edges and drive up on them sometimes). Now add bicycles to the mix.

5) Going to BHS: Southbound California cars turning left at North Ln (The Donut Shop). The procession of left-turners now backs into the roundabout, blocking cars that want to continue south on California because it is a single lane. I've seen it, I've been blocked by it enough times to say it's a new normal.

6) Morning sunlight now hits the Southbound California roundabout exit (around Stack's) right in your eyes.

7) Emergency vehicles: I'm wondering how a large fire engine or hook&ladder truck will navigate the roundabout heading south. Cars cannot get out of the way...there is no extra space, no curb, no ability to get out of the way! Before, cars would move to the side of California and pause, and there would be plenty of room for emergency vehicles to safely drive by. Now, vehicles must navigate through the roundabout with the stress of sirens blaring behind them before they can get out of the way.

8) a 10,000 sqft park and green space was removed :(.

But what was the original problem? I read the brief and the traffic engineering report during the planning phase. I think another intersection at Bellevue & California (and remove Lorton's access to California), or at Lorton & California (and remove Bellevue's access to California), would have been better. It would allow cars to turn onto California and allow pedestrians the safety of a stop light. And it would have preserved the green patch of park space.

Roundabouts are very effective for 4-way stop signs, but this is a complicated intersection. And roundabouts need a massive amount of space! That's why I suggest my paragraph above: better option is to simplify the intersection by removing one of the access roads to California (either Lorton or Bellevue).

My suggestions only, as a daily driver and a concerned Burlingame resident. I am an engineer by profession and am looking at from an efficiency and optimization point of view.

Charles Magnuson

Hey commenters, you want some cheese with that whine?


Dear Chuck,
The Company Holiday Party-FB
"Turd in the Punch Bowl."
We are all waiting for your St. Patrick Day show too.

Paul Prendiville

It’s what happens when you vote the IRA into office.


Irish Republican Army?


Looking forward to the Roundabout’s ribbon-cutting and commissioning in the new year.

I hope there will be both wine and cheese. It is after all a multi-million dollar Burlingame taxpayer investment. This should be celebrated.


Lets do a 2 for..
I forgot about the fact that the "Wreck & Park" 30 million dollar project being forced upon the citizens.
Lets celebrate being Weak Sheep this year.
Is 30 Million even enough?


The roundabout will also spell the end of Stacks outdoor seating. Maybe Stacks altogether.

The roundabout will bring 10,000 vehicles a day of California Drive traffic right to its front door and next to its curb. Before it was buffered by being tucked away from the traffic. But now, it's part of the roundabout. So although the usable sidewalk there is now 1' wider, and it will have a wall (ok, steel slats) and some grass, who wants to eat with 1,000 vehicles an hour whizzing by so close to your omelet.

Traffic calming my crepe.


As I said; Mismanaged State. The unfair proportion of money spent on bike and pedestrians using trains is shocking. It comes from Sacramento. To hell with those using cars. The Politburo has spoken.


From the city e-newsletter today:

The fourth and final phase of the California Drive Roundabout project has begun! In addition to resurfacing California Drive, between Oak Grove Avenue and Burlingame Avenue, crews will be working on green infrastructure updates, drainage improvements, utilities, signage, and striping. Weather permitting, the project is on schedule to be completed in February.

To acquaint drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians with the new traffic pattern (once the roundabout is fully opened), the City of Burlingame has developed a two-minute instructional video. Be sure to take a look! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aos514tOTk4&feature=youtu.be)

For more information, visit the project website. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the project team at [email protected], or 650-288-6436.

Bruce Dickinson

Question: if instructions are needed for a roundabout, was that roundabout really needed? Just more evidence of an over-complicated solution in search of a problem.

If it's not intuitive, then maybe it shouldn't have been built.

That $4 million dollars should have been used for something else.

Next up: Bruce Dickinson Masterclass on how to Drift the Roundabout!


How many lives will be saved now that the City of Burlingame has a "Roundabout?"
Grant or NO Grant, accepting money or property only to waste in on "medieval traffic control" should be a crime. At least an ethics crime.
Send the money back!
How will our Society be able to take care the "people's needs" if there is "FREE MONEY" wasted on things like this?
Shame on the City of Burlingame Elders. Shame on all of you.
Your Rock is waiting for you Mr. Brownrigg.


Regardless of what you think the City’s motives might be, a project like this requires a design from a licensed traffic engineer…and they must understand and design for the geometric requirements for all the vehicles using the roadway (including Samtrans articulated buses and emergency vehicles), mobility requirement for pedestrians, and lighting requirements for a commercial district. This design has to meet all those or else no one would have stamped the plans.

Furthermore, a project like this typically isn’t developed just for the hell of it or because funding is available that would be lost otherwise. There must be a goal to support and/or a deficiency that needs addressing. In this case, it is likely a bit of both. My guess is that the deficiency had to do with the goofy intersection on the Lorton/Bellevue side (a stop sign on only one of the three legs plus ambiguity on who has right-of-way), including insufficient decision distance after left turns off of California. You locals who used it for years likely figured it out, but visitors (including many Uber/Lyft drivers who are from outside the Bay Area and come in to serve SFO) are baffled…or just cruise through the area in blissful ignorance. Also, despite the crossing lights, the California pedestrian crossing is tough at night. When the lights flash, almost all drivers slow down…but most only stop if they can see the actual pedestrians.

Another goal could be to calm traffic as it approaches Burlingame Avenue. North (west, actually) of Burlingame Ave., California is 35 mph and slows to 25 mph south of the Ave. The roundabout will serve to slow traffic down. In the prior configuration, southbound traffic could cross the Ave on a green signal and continue merrily on their way at 35 (or more). Also, because of the businesses and the train station, there is a much higher pedestrian volume than further north and the roundabout will force drivers to pay more attention to their surroundings. Lastly, roundabouts are sometimes located in commercial and civic districts as a gateway treatment to convey a change of environment and to encourage traffic to slow down.

Change is tough, especially for folks who use the area so frequently that they’re likely on autopilot, but not the end of the world. The Broadway/California/Carolan area was a mess during construction and immediately after completion, but over time (and few signal timing adjustments) it has turned out OK. Give the roundabout a chance...traffic engineers generally know what they’re doing.

Sign me up

Somebody definitely just called someone else's baby ugly. That $4 million could have hired an officer to live at that intersection for years to solve every problem you have described and a bunch more that the roundabout can never solve.


For some reason "Sign me up"'s comment landed in the spam file. We'll try to figure out why that happens to some commenters sometimes. Sorry about that.

Jennifer Pfaff

Not sure if this (U-Tube) has already been posted on the Voice, but this came through yesterday via the City E-news: How to Navigate the Roundabout: https://youtu.be/Aos514tOTk4

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