Burlingame Avenue from California Drive to El Camino Real

City or County Responsible for Project: 

City of Burlingame

Award Category: 

Narrative Description Of Your Entry: 

The City of Burlingame has transformed the entire downtown with safer vehicular access, an exciting pedestrian promenade, new utilities, wider sidewalks, parallel parking, improved intersections with corner bulb-outs, bicycle parking, classic lighting and street furniture, gorgeous landscaping, and more room for dining al fresco.  The project creates a safer, sustainable downtown while preserving the historic features of the past.   Burlingame, a city south of San Francisco, has an historic downtown of five blocks, anchored by a transit station on one end (Caltrain), and El Camino Real, a major north to south traffic corridor on the other. The downtown has a past history of flooding, poor pavement structure, damaged sidewalks, and inadequate drainage. In addition all the utilities were close to a hundred years old requiring replacement. The new improvements created wider, safer sidewalks; reconfigured parallel parking stalls to slow traffic circulation; shortened intersection crosswalks with bulb-outs for pedestrian safety; created green street rain gardens for on-site drainage; and added amenities such as beautiful landscaping, site furniture, LED street lighting; entrance gateways, directory kiosks, and smart parking meters.  Arbors were added and act as a backdrop or stage for special events held in the center of the downtown. Overall the downtown became more walkable, pedestrian and bicycle friendly, with transit links, and improved fire and flood protection. The downtown design process was community led beginning in 2012. The streetscape design took shape with a thorough public outreach component of public visioning sessions, stakeholder meetings, interviews, and Planning Commission and City Council review. A project stakeholder group, comprised of property owners, merchants, and various community representatives, met monthly to develop and refine the project.  Community workshops obtained input on the character of the design alternatives. Throughout the community outreach process, the City heard a strong desire to enhance the pedestrian and shopping experience and to create a safer environment that better balances the needs of pedestrians and vehicles.  The design includes changing the angled parking to parallel in order to widen the sidewalks to sixteen feet. The additional sidewalk width and richness of the paving enhance street activities such as strolling, outdoor dining, seating, lighting, landscaping and art. Parallel parking spaces ease traffic congestion. At intersection corners, at-grade sidewalk bulb-outs allow for additional pedestrian area and improved safety in crossing the street. The planning process ensured that the final design met the needs of the community while creating a safe downtown for traffic, pedestrians, and bicyclists (See attached for complete application – Thank you – There are currently issues with the web link.)

Submitted by: 

Jane Gomery


Program Manager


Engineering Division, Public Works Department


501 Primrose Road, Burlingame, CA 94010


(650) 558 - 7230


(650) 685 - 9310