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Stains on new sidewalk pavers causing concerns: Burlingame officials want to make sure new streetscape kept clean
January 06, 2014, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Community members have complained to the city of Burlingame about food and beverage stains, along with cigarette butts and other litter.

With a good portion of the Burlingame Avenue Streetscape project completed, the city wants more frequent cleanings and more cooperation to make sure the revamped blocks are kept clean amid growing concern about dirty new sidewalk pavers.

Since the opening of the wider and revamped 1200 block of Burlingame Avenue in September 2013, the city has been receiving complaints about dirty new pavers spewed with trash, stains, food and drink spills, cigarette butts, chewing gum, dog waste and other items. The City Council will vote Monday night whether to put in $25,000 to increase cleaning, conduct outreach to businesses and property owners seeking their cooperation to keep their frontage sidewalk areas clean and require restaurants and food/beverage-related businesses to clean and maintain their frontage sidewalk areas as part of their tables and chairs encroachment permit conditions, according to a staff report.

“We’re not sure if it’s because the pavement is new and it shows up more on it because it’s cleaner and shinier,” said Vice Mayor Terry Nagel. “We want to educate businesses on how to clean the pavers too.”

Education, included in a letter to business and property owners on the 1200 and 1300 blocks of the avenue signed by Public Works Director Syed Murtuza, includes not using bleach, solvents or chemical solutions to clean the sidewalks, benches, planters and light poles, not using sharp instruments to remove gum from the pavers and leaving sidewalk power washing to companies that specialize in those cleaning techniques.

The city will also vote on installing signs on other education measures including installing signs informing the public not littering. Signs would include images with the words “Help Keep Your Downtown Clean; Please Don’t Litter.” There are also additional cleaning measures such as performing power washing of the sidewalk pavers monthly and reseal the pavers biannually using a private contractor, performing spot cleaning of the pavers following the power washing monthly and performing quarterly cleaning of the parking lane pavers, the report states.

“Staff believes that quarterly power washing of the sidewalk pavers on Burlingame Avenue is inadequate,” the report states. “A more frequent collaborative approach is needed to properly maintain the pavers… [T]he collaboration is vital to maintain the charm and aesthetics of Burlingame Avenue.”

The staff’s proposed plans would cost about $45,000 annually, with an additional $2,500 needed for street signs. There would also be costs for staff time and outreach. There currently are no funds available in the Public Works Department’s operating budget to undertake the increased cleaning efforts as outlined in the report. If approved, a mid-year appropriation of $25,000 would be made to cover the costs for increased cleaning efforts and signs for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Jane Gomery, program manager for the Public Works Department, said the upkeep measures are really to make sure the new streets are cleaned correctly and “kept in shipshape.”

Streetscape work stopped for the holidays, but will commence on the 1400 block between Primrose Road and El Camino Real sometime this month. Construction began in April 2013 and is expected to be completed by the end of the summer of 2014.

For more on the Burlingame Avenue Streetscape project, visit the city’s website at

The City Council meets 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall, 501 Primrose Road.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105



Tags: pavers, cleaning, clean, sidewalk, avenue, burlingame,

Other stories from today:

Colma/San Bruno Creek
San Mateo County police reports
Stains on new sidewalk pavers causing concerns: Burlingame officials want to make sure new streetscape kept clean

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