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May 19, 2020

Comments

Bruce Dickinson

Guys, some of the earlier comments, really good job exploring the space and getting into the solutions business! Being a Negative Nancy won't get you really far in life, as Bruce Dickinson says.

The parklets, limited hours, nighttime/weekends only, trial periods, vote by the merchants, all really great ideas guys.

I like what I'm hearing! Win win if most businesses support and helps them grow revenues and stay in business. What do they have to lose?

Chadsworth Rutherford III

let me say this: when offered the choice to sit inside or outside on the street on a pleasant day, I always opt for sitting inside. Eating at a table on the sidewalk is low class when you get right down to it. You peasants that want to sit at an unstable table on asphalt or cement because it's fun, go for it.

Russ

Get the Government out of all Downtown land and open it up for redevelopment. Bring in some creative developers from other states.

All your shopping areas are looking worn out with exception of the Apple store and a couple others. Broadway is a eyesore should be rebuilt as a multi purpose street with 4 to 6 stories of condo's and retail.

Limit the duplicate business types chasing the same dollar.

Joe

"Russ" you are barking up the wrong tree if you are talking about Broadway, Burlingame. If you got lost and thought you were in Oakland, it's across the Bay.

Now back to sensible stuff. From today's Chron:

San Francisco merchants battered by the coronavirus pandemic will soon be able to apply for free, fast-tracked permits to use portions of outdoor public spaces — sidewalks, streets, parks and plazas — for business activities.

The program is also the first effort born from the city’s Economic Recovery Task Force. Individual business owners and merchant groups should be able to apply for shared-spaces permits beginning in mid-June. After obtaining a permit, businesses will be responsible for maintaining safe travel paths and complying with arrangements for people with disabilities.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/San-Francisco-plans-to-offer-sidewalks-streets-15295445.php

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In B'game I'm still wondering how an Avenue closure is fair to the rest of the restaurants? Parklets can work anywhere a full-service restaurant is located.

Joe

Next Monday is the council discussion:

Other (councilmembers) suggested the (San Mateo Strong recaptured) money could be used to help local businesses navigate potential challenges with operating along Burlingame Avenue, should the street be shut down to traffic to give more space for merchants. Officials are slated to discuss such a proposal Monday, June 15.

https://www.smdailyjournal.com/news/local/burlingame-pulls-contribution-from-county-relief-fund/article_fd16985c-a939-11ea-a115-0b7c70dc6339.html#utm_source=smdailyjournal.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletters%2Fheadlines%2F%3F-dc%3D1591624817&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline

Cassandra

Open up the Avenue and let’s get going.
WHO just said it is rare for people who are asymptomatic to spread the disease.
It’s a bad flu.
If you’re sick, stay home.

BillyGBob

Courtesy of statnews.com: “The WHO created confusion yesterday when it reported that asymptomatic patients rarely spread the disease,” an email from the Harvard Global Health Institute said Tuesday. “All of the best evidence suggests that people without symptoms can and do readily spread SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. In fact, some evidence suggests that people may be most infectious in the days before they become symptomatic — that is, in the presymptomatic phase when they feel well, have no symptoms, but may be shedding substantial amounts of virus.”

Cassandra

WHO seems to confuse things a lot.

Joe

Well here we go with the experiment in advantaging some restaurants over others:


At a special meeting open to the public, held Tuesday, June 9, the City Council unanimously voted to close the entire Burlingame Ave.to make it a pedestrian zone. The street will be closed Fridays 8am to Sundays 10pm each weekend for one month, beginning on June 19. (This is a pilot program.)

The Public Works department is working with the Burlingame Police Dept. to establish traffic flow, proper barriers, signage to reroute traffic, etc.

The DBID Board will reach out to restaurant owners to meet this weekend via ZOOM to develop a plan to establish "distribution points" to allow for take-out food/curbside pick-up. The curbside pick-up/take out has been essential to many establishments, restaurant and retail, during this time of shelter in place business closures. It will continue to be essential throughout the county's opening phases, including when restaurants are allowed to offer dining indoors with limited capacity.
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I wonder how much this will cost us?

Bruce Dickinson

Well, as yours truly, Bruce Dickinson predicted, rightfully so, once again, looks like the businesses overwhelmingly wanted to try this out. I think we do need to give it a try, given there are lateral models where this is working out great in other cities, and the conditions under which this works for Burlingame is actually superior to these other cities.

The arguments to not do it, unfortunately don't pass the "Dickinson Test"

a) Businesses can't receive deliveries; most business have rear access and the closure is for most times when deliveries won't occur. There are also designated pick up areas for curbside. Non-issue.

b) Disadvantage of non-Ave restaurants vs Ave restaurants; First, regardless of COVID, a restaurant on the Ave is a superior location and IS an advantage. Secondly, with those advantages, also comes higher rent, so in general they need more business/traffic to break even. Even assuming equivalent rent, this is the benefit of choosing a prime location...prime locations have advantages. A restaurant off a side street of Burlingame Ave is more advantaged that a restaurant off a side street from Broadway.

c) Cost: I think minimal. Guess what, more restaurant sales = more sales tax that goes directly to Burlingame. You care about costs, do something big/rational like cut that Rec center cost in half. This street closure program won't even move the needle and to the extent it can make or break some of these retailers, we all get long term benefits for each retailer/restaurant that survives.

d) Some unintended consequence comes out of this: Let's remember this is a TRIAL. If purported problems are created and/or people don't like it, it will stop. So let's see how many of you will be right on these supposed problems. Let's just say it wouldn't surprise Bruce Dickinson that this street closure idea (similar to pedestrian friendly zones in other cities) has some legs beyond COVID. It has a decent chance of actually increasing business to Burlingame Ave.

Guys, you really need to explore the space and try to see things a little differently and see the glass half full sometimes. Who says myopic thinking has to increase with age??!??

Sign me up

a) Not so sure. 8am Friday to 10pm Sunday is a long time. It's not like they are reopening each morning for awhile.

b) Non-responsive

c) Agree

d) It's a trial approved in a de facto secret meeting. No notice. Slipshod governing.

Better get that staff of yours some remedial training.

Joe

My man Bruce, don't get me wrong. I am going to thoroughly enjoy this trial. Being only a block and a half from the Ave and having 2 hour parking restrictions on my street this trial is custom made for me. I'll be walking over and dining regularly at a real table with real table service--just like I did last week in Tahoe. It was a retro revelation.

A certain former mayor I am acquainted with has been advocating for limited Ave closures for YEARS. Now we get to try.

The ordinance did not allow for entertainment and I want to know why? Shouldn't we have the strolling Mariachi band that plays every weekend on Coyote Point? What about a banjo player banging out Woody Guthrie tunes as a tribute to the working man? Maybe some rapper providing us with life advice in rhyme?

I'll see you out there next weekend--but how will I recognize you if you can't park in front of Rasoi in your Ferrari? I'll be the guy with the 1990 Napa Cab under my arm for corkage service. Stop at my table with your mask on and I'll comp you a glass!

Joe

B'gamers breathed a sigh of relief last night on the Avenue as the closure started. They also breathed on each other a little, but mask protocol was pretty good. It was the place to be and be seen as there were at least two councilmembers and a County supervisor around.

It felt like a quiet message might have gone out to the restaurants to stick to a parklet-sized space in the street since almost without exception that is how it played out. It's easy to tell since the brick surface meets the asphalt where the parking spaces end.

You also start to realize that it's a tale of two ends of the street. The long block in the middle was really quiet since almost all retail was closed. The DJ has a piece today about the San Carlos experiment where a retailer notes:

"“I’m completely confused why the city did this without considering the retail stores. It’s not feasible, probable or anything for us to haul our merchandise outside and haul it back inside,” she said. “Our candles would melt, clothing would fade. ... It’s dirty.”

I'm betting we get a similar reaction here. But the weather was nice and the novelty of it all made for a nice night.

The City is polling the B'way businesses to see if they want to get in on the action as well--either via parklet or full closure. That's even trickier given the 101 access/egress. But to my original point--tipping the scales in favor of some restaurants at the literal expense of others has to be weighed along with tipping the scales for restaurants vs. retail.

Bruce Dickinson

Retail stores only work if people are allowed to go inside. Regardless of street closure or not, you still have to go inside the store. Isn't it the case that people can go inside the stores? Does closing a street make it more difficult to shop in stores? What shop would want to haul stuff out and bring it back in? Makes no sense.

Joe, you really don't want this to work, do you? Does Bruce Dickinson detect some sort of bet between you and the lovely Madame Baylock? Might have to make it a 3-way wager!

As for me, in my advanced age, I still think that the dining situation/format is too risky for me personally and while I'm also within walking distance of the Ave, I won't be partaking anytime soon. If I were a young whipper-snapper like you guys, I may feel differently!

Peter Garrison

Many of the stores were closed, boarded up or empty.

The open stores need to be obviously open.

They could provide more “threshold allure” with the doors open, brighter interior lights, a greeter within and a decorated table with flowers, samples, candies.

My wife and I shopped both avenues Saturday, enjoyed the vibe, and bought retail. The day before we ate outside. Tip for the restaurants: shade is a must.

Love our town. Love our cops.

Joe

Mr. D, I'm not sure what the wager is. Please clarify what you mean by "work". The lovely Madame and I had a lovely time last night. It worked for us and I think my comment made that clear.

I do love a good, well-thought-out bet tho! If we could only know after the experiment if the majority of Ave retailers were in favor or opposed--THAT I would bet on :-)

SnitchDoor Sam

Some lady name Noreen Bulotti tipped over the hornets next on SnitchDoor. Go check out the ignorance of the ordinance and the psyche of the fear mongers.

Listen to this piece of work--Rheaa Matsura

Made me more angry that I saw two cops outside of Apple today, in their normal hang out place, both NOT wearing masks. Horrible example.
Also, I was trying to walk away from everyone, in the middle of the street w my mask on (today) and people were getting unnecessarily close to me while walking by. Why? Go away!!

Jennifer Pfaff

Also disappointed this morning (Sat.), maybe 20% at most, wearing masks, the rest seemingly oblivious and walking too close, even with the additional space. The worst offenders this morning seemed to be those walking their dogs, letting the dogs lead, "wherever".

SnitchDoor Sam

The problem is the city newsletter reads like a cover yer azz piece of Kirkland TP. Do you need to wear a mask anytime you are on Burlingame Avenue or not? Maybe the mayor could stop worryin' about gas hook-ups and start worryin' about germ hook-ups.

Bruce Dickinson

Guys, why are you making things so complicated? The state orders that you must wear a mask when in public. Obviously, if you're gonna stick a slice of pizza in your mouth, gonna be kind of hard to wear a mask while doing that. So you eat, put the mask back on, and go your own merry way.

Burlingame PD should be there enforcing the mask rule on the entrances to the Ave, just like they are in many other cities that have many streets closed down to make it pedestrian-friendly and allow outdoor eating to help the restaurants.

Here's the news folks, and you don't need Bruce Dickinson to tell you this: This open streets concepts isn't exactly a revolution. This is occurring in dozens of cities and it can be done properly. Why is Burlingame acting like spoiled brats complaining about "well the newsletter didn't say this"..."someone's dog came too close to me" or "what a stupid ordinance". You act like this is some exceptional concept to Burlingame when there's a whole other world out there that is doing the same thing and is doing it successfully I might add. If the risk is too high for you personally, then "Be like Bruce" and don't go! Done right, this could really help out some of our favorite restaurants and done without it becoming this "super spreader" center.

There are plenty of low risk dining options in Belmont!

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