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Would be interesting to see an autonomous taxi or other AV drive down El Camino where the lane lines in the northbound direction have been wiped out by construction. Reminiscent of when Kramer adopted and doted on a highway by “widening” the lanes. If you see an AV stopped on ECR, it’s trying to figure out what to do.
More like Beta. They, or the City, can't even get the traffic lights to go red yellow green. It's been two years since they were built. Still flashing red.
Toggle Commented May 14, 2022 on New Bayfront toy store: Meta at The Burlingame Voice
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 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.
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
Sadly the Venn diagram of fix the roadway, fix the flooding, fix the ADA and ped safety sidewalk hazards, and keep all the trees is a null set. We're asking Caltrans' engineers to solve a multi-variable problem where the solution does not exist. The flooding and ponding that happens is because the low points on the curb/gutter along ECR don't have drains. They don't have drains because the tree roots preclude them from being put there. The low points also keep changing because the trees/roots are forming new low points and high points everytime. The ped bridge idea won't work because there are minimum slopes that need to be met for ADA. We can't expect people in wheelchairs or strollers to be pushed beyond a certain steepness. And there are driveways up and down ECR so the ped bridges have to come down to match the driveways before ramping up/down again. This is just physically impossible. The roadway base is failing in several places, so it's not just the surface that needs repaving. It's the underlying base that needs redoing. If it's just repaved, then we're back to sq 1 just a year after the project. And the engrs can really only do the base right if you have the curb/gutter set properly which goes back to the low point discussion above. Joe - I generally agree with you on most things. But I don't see a solution here that meets all the constraints. There will need to be painful compromises here and there. No one will be happy.
I don’t understand the ugly name calling. When you think about it El Camino while it’s striped for four lanes, doesn’t really work like that. The left lane is often taken up by left turns at the intersections or to one of the many residential driveways along ECR. We’re often lucky that the driver ahead of us actually signaled more than 3 seconds before they’re to make the turn. So it’s not really a full lane. The right lane is taken up by someone slowing to make a right turn, a stopped Samtrans bus, a fedex or UPS can because there’s no place to stop. Or a broken down vehicle. Or a utility truck. Or a flooding or an extruded tree root. ECR, to borrow the current parlance, is really a 4-lane RINO. Four lane Road, In Name Only. It really functions like three. A turbulent 3 at that, because we all have to make all these lane changes to get thru. If we’re honest, this is really the starting point. Ideas to improve it is to have cut-ins so there are at least intermittent shoulders for deliveries, emergencies or util work. And strategic NLTs and smarter signals. Let the name-calling resume.
Toggle Commented Jan 11, 2021 on Bye Bye Eucalyptus? at The Burlingame Voice
This is the thing that people miss when talking about El Camino, with the poor pavement, the poor drainage and the dangerous sidewalks. The traffic signal infrastructure is also falling apart. https://goo.gl/maps/YymShXhTsWQ1m1i67 The wiring is almost completely shot and is at the end of its useful life, so you will be seeing more of these outages as the wires and underground conduits fail. The poles are 40-50 years old, the vehicle and signal head frameworks are rusted and just barely hanging on to the decrepit poles. Already made this comment to the ECR project website. I hope it's not overlooked.
Toggle Commented Jan 8, 2021 on Serious Street Stupidity at The Burlingame Voice
It was seemingly done quickly, relatively speaking, and it was indeed a quick short term fix. But the work was in fact done by Caltrans, not by Burlingame. Per Caltrans: “In regards to the pavement plans, the pavement repairs done in El Camino Real were not part of a plan, but rather a decision due to multiple service requests.”
If only this was more the approach: The best (municipal) investments – the ones with the highest financial rate of return – address a real and urgent need experienced by a human. Consider this simple 4 step approach: 1. Humbly observe where people in the community struggle. 2. Ask the question: What is the next smallest thing we can do right now to address that struggle? 3. Do that thing. Do it right now. 4. Repeat. The key to the first step is humility. Emptying our minds of as many pre-conceived notions about the problems and solutions in a place as possible, we humble ourselves to observe as a proxy for lived experience. We are trying to understand, from the perspective of those who struggle to use the city as it has been built, where the struggles are. A great way to observe is to walk with someone – literally treading the path with them – to understand how they struggle.” - Chuck Marohn
Straight from Caltrans funding document. Project budget and milestones. Anticipated start of construction is August 2024. Project 0K810 Scope In the cities of San Mateo and Burlingame, from East Santa Inez Avenue to Murchison Drive. Rehabilitate roadway, improve drainage, and upgrade existing curb ramps and sidewalks to ADA standards. Schedule/Milestones Complete prelim design/environmental 11/1/2021 Complete design/ROW certification 11/1/2023 Advertise Contract 2/1/2024 Begin Construction 8/1/2024 Budget Construction Cost: $86 M Total Project Cost: $121M (including design, right of way, environmental, construction engineering) Source - Caltrans 2018 SHOPP (p 381 of 409) https://dot.ca.gov/-/media/dot-media/programs/transportation-programming/documents/201803-2018-shopp-adopted-by-ctc.pdf
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2020 on El Camino "Renewal" at The Burlingame Voice
Driving thru the street It was once a straight old line What’s the point of that It was working all too fine ... “Tell you what we’ll do A circle we will sell” With plants, and signs and lights and stuff The results are LOL. Oh flashing beams, flashing red, What does all this mean Why not simple traffic lights With red yellow & gre-en Lots of signs, a ton of paint, Just four million bucks The town’s confused, no one’s amused Council couldn’t give two
Toggle Commented Nov 30, 2019 on Roundabout Comes into Focus at The Burlingame Voice
In honor of yet another set of flashing lights on our Jingle Bells of a roundabout - red this time - and in the season: Flashing lights, twinkling lights Burlingame laid an egg Drivers speed, they don’t heed, Pedestrians have to be-eg Radar signs, diverging lines, Everyone has their doubt But that’s ok, city hall rules They love their roundabout
Toggle Commented Nov 30, 2019 on Roundabout Comes into Focus at The Burlingame Voice
I agree with holly. When it comes to transportation on City streets, Pedestrians are a Hazard to themselves and others. Go to a playground (or a treadmill) for God’s sake. Or get out of the way. People driving got places to go. We don’t have 10 seconds to spare.
Toggle Commented Jan 23, 2019 on Bad Dieting Ideas at The Burlingame Voice
Holy cow. Went by last night. From now on I will wear my sunglasses at night.
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.
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Jan 2, 2019