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January 19, 2022



Isn't Emily Beach kind of a big deal at the MTC?

A Squared

The tree roots seem to be causing this damage based on the image included. I could show you an image of what is happening below our streets but I would get fired.

It is not uncommon to find trees with root systems having an area with a diameter one,two, or more times the height of the tree.

The water this town wastes on trees and the damage they do to the streets is in the millions.


Nice photo Joe, if you’re looking for El Camino pavement scores, that’s usually handled thru the State. You’ll be glad to know (ok maybe glad not the right word) that the roughly 15 miles in Burlingame scored “Fair” when it was first put on the list years ago.

The sidewalk and ADA/curb ramp uh situation scored in the worst category as “Poor.”

But not too worry, Caltrans plans to now start construction on that $121M ECR Renewal/Repaving project as early as April 2024. Until then, traffic just has to survive about two more years. Fortunately El Camino isn’t a bridge deck otherwise we could have a Pittsburgh event here too.

Source here: https://dot.ca.gov/programs/financial-programming/state-highway-operation-protection-program-shopp-minor-program-shopp

Greta Stunnedbird

Let's face it the main problem with El Camino pavement is nonstop SamTrans buses with no one on them pounding the pavement into little tiny pieces. I see a dozen empty double buses a day. There are pleny of bad spots where no trees grow.


I'm with you Greta. I could (and maybe will) post a photo of a section that has no Eucs on that side for a whole block and it's a mess. Do the Eucs have some impact? Sure, but it is the main thing verses just regular maintenance--not so sure.


I used to have the same poor take of blaming buses for roadway performance. Until I learned that buses actually net improve the longevity of roadways by taking cars from the road. And having ridden that bus more during the pandemic, I know it is not empty.

Now if you want the painful truth as to why our roadway issues will actually get progressively much worse, look no further than our infatuation with EVs specially SUV EVs and truck EVs. Those batteries weigh extra and put more strain on each axle, which does pound the pavement more by orders. And to compound, EVs take money away from the gas tax that’s supposed to pay for road maintenance. So they net negative. I know it’s the easiest virtue signal way for cities to claim climate accomplishments. But they actually increase liability more than they ever help.


I Agree!
Life has changed so much in the last 60 years there was no way to plan for this.
Therefore the "Dire Need" for the US to update all US Infrastructure.
Whatever it costs.

Burlingame, CA. First!


MV. That is good information. I checked the Tesla weights and they are

Here’s how much Tesla car batteries weigh based on the models:

Roadster: 992 lbs (450 kg).
Model 3 Standard Range: 1054 lbs (478 kg).
Model 3 Long Range: 1168 lbs (530 kg).
Model Y: 1168 lbs (530 kg).
Model S: 1377 lbs (625 kg).
Model X: 1377 lbs (625 kg).

For comparison a Mercedes E350 weighs 3,792 lbs in total so the S and X batteries are about 36% of a whole comparable car. I think you have a point but I'm not knowledgeable to be sure. Maybe Bruce Dickenson can weigh in?

Just Visiting

Isn't the relevant question how the cars compare in weight per axle, not how much certain components weigh? (Related: an EV's battery weights about 100 pounds, whereas a V8 weighs between 400 and 750 pounds, plus another 400 or so for the transmission--that an EV doesn't have--and another 100 pounds or so for a full gas tank.

A Tesla Model X is heavy, at about 5200 pounds, or 2600 pounds per axle). That's more than a Ford Explorer, but less than a Mercedes GLS, and substantially less than a Cadillac Escalade.

A Tesla Model 3 weighs about 4000 pounds (2000/axle), plus or minus, which is heavier than most sedans, but not dramatically heavier than most luxury sedans--the cars it primarily competes with.

Same for a Tesla Model S--which is heavy at about 4600 pounds (2300/axle, again more or less depending on the battery), but lighter than a Mercedes S class.

Moreover, the amount of wear on the road from a vehicle will also depend on what the road is designed for. In the simplest terms, even a bicycle causes wear on a gravel road, but it causes essentially none on an interstate designed for carrying massive 18-wheelers. Most of our roads are designed to support vehicles much heavier even than a Mercedes S-class (CalTrans generally allows 20,000 pounds per axle), which means the relative amount of difference in wear between a 3500 pound vehicle (at about 1750 pounds per axle), and a 4500 pound vehicle (2250 per axle) probably isn't especially significant--though engineers could probably figure it out.

It's a clever argument that EVs are hurting us by depriving us of the gasoline taxes that pay for some of our road infrastructure. State and Federal gas taxes account for around 1/3 (I think a little less) of the CalTrans budget. So it's true that as we incrementally reduce the amount of gasoline used, that portion of the budget will also decrease. Of course, most people don't "virtue signal" through their EVs (or hybrids--which also have batteries that make them heavier than their counterpart internal combustion powered cars) because of the amount of wear on the road, but rather the amount of CO2 they produce. That's more complicated than simply gas or no gas--an EV still gets its power from a power plant, but power plants, even old ones, are much more efficient than gasoline powered internal combustion engines.

Perhaps MV has seen peer reviewed studies that show that EVs hurt more than they help--certainly the oil industry has paid for such research, but the relative road wear per pound vs. the gas tax revenue vs. the amount of CO2 released is a pretty complicated question--a lot more complicated than whether EVs have heavy batteries.

Just Visiting

And we all know that the trees along ECR are causing a lot more damage to our roads (including the surface streets, not just ECR) than the Teslas. So again, the calculation of the impact of the EV's battery weight on the road budget is pretty complicated.

Just Visiting

Augh--editing fail--and no way to edit after hitting post...

An EV's MOTOR (not battery, duh) weighs about 100 pounds...


Where is our wannabe congresswoman on getting these reports done?


Hey, I hate eucalyptus trees, Teslas and buses as much as the next guy but I am not going to blame those things for why El Camino Real is screwed up.

Roads wear out and we just don't have the money to fix them because we are socialists and communists in California and we have to take care of the government first (transparentcalifornia.com) so that it can take care of us. Once we have made our government large enough and compensated them well enough we can start taking care of the roads.

Onward comrades.


I hear you @JV. I wish there were comment editing capability as well. For lengthy posts (and thank you for that) I use the Preview button and generally find something to correct.

@MBGA, I hear you too. All of a sudden CA is wallowing in cash from the Feds and the market (capital gains taxes). You can be sure billions of it will be p*^#ssed away but perhaps some will be applied to the roads. Some will miss the Eucs if and when they are gone.


I don’t have the answers either.

But unquestionably EVs are much heavier, even on a per axle basis. The more widely they’re accepted and heralded as a silver (green?) bullet, the more they will become the design vehicle displacing the lighter but dirtier internal combustion versions. The price-point will come down and the more we all will drive them. But because we get that false sense of doing good for the environment by driving electric, we’ll all end up driving the same amount or maybe more. Emissions and power-sourcing are only some of the costs. A traffic jam around BHS, or the traffic jam getting onto 101, or when the Broadway grade sep is under construction where we all wait and stew will be the same traffic jam, whether we’re in Teslas or Accords.

I was taking more broadly about streets, not just state highways or freeways that Caltrans maintains. Think about our local city streets - the Californias, the Carolans, the Aves, the Howards, the Trousdales. Those are increasingly bearing these heavier axle loads. Gas taxes cannot catch up. Even supplemented by local sales tax, property tax or other city revenue. Without EVs paying, it gets that much worse. And with no indexing to inflation, there is less and less money for Public Works departments to fix roads.

Sorry to say these roads now are probably as good a driving surface as we all will ever drive.


I was thinking about the eucalyptus trees while driving south on ECR into San Mateo. There are no eucs down there and some stretches with few trees of any kind. Yet from the B'game border to Crystal Springs Rd. you would be hard pressed to say the road is in any better condition than our section. Caltrans is falling down on the job.......


I have avoided jumping on the potholes-are-everywhere bandwagon even though they are everywhere. I just hope MTC does it's job this time around. Thanks for all the emails about the potholes around town and how quickly they are getting filled, especially around City Hall. Reports are the initial fill is settling and we may need another layer.

I have also been told these temporary patches are only good for 3-4 months.

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