Burlingame parking

Select lots near Burlingame Avenue will soon be featuring digital signs. 

In the latest of a series of moves to solve Burlingame’s parking problems, officials agreed to install digital signs showing available spaces in each of the city’s commercial districts.

The signs will be established at select lots near Burlingame Avenue and Broadway to alert drivers of how many vacant spaces can be found, under unanimous approval by the Burlingame City Council.

Officials are hopeful the signs will assist drivers who otherwise struggle to find a place to park, especially during peak shopping and dining periods in the city’s popular downtown commercial district.

“This is super cool technology and I think it has a lot of interesting benefits for us,” said City Manager Lisa Goldman, according to video of the meeting Tuesday, Sept. 3.

Under the approval, officials will work with Foster City company Streetline to install in surface parking lots sensors and cameras tracking demand and parking availability which will be updated live on signs at the lot entrance. Signs will also be installed at main thoroughfares directing drivers to the lots, while also showing the amount of available spaces. Officials also suggested the parking demand can tracked remotely on phones or other mobile devices.

One sign will be installed in downtown parking lot C, between Burlingame and Donnelly avenues and Primrose Road and Lorton Avenue. The other will be in lot Y, behind Broadway and between Laguna and Chula Vista avenues. Considering the parking crunch downtown, officials will also consider adding a sign in another lot near Burlingame Avenue but the location is yet to be identified.

The approval issued by officials launches a one-year pilot program, of which the first three months will allow for installation and calibration, followed by nine months of practice. If successful, the program could be expanded to other lots and made permanent.

Streetline, which installed similar systems in Los Angeles and Redwood City, as well as corporate campuses for Facebook and Apple, will pay for about 60% of the pilot program installation cost. With the city’s share covered by parking funds, Burlingame officials agreed to pay as much as $60,000, depending on the amount of lots included in the pilot program.

Councilwoman Ann Keighran firmly advocated for piloting two lots near Burlingame Avenue, as officials prepare for ground to break on the new downtown parking garage and affordable housing projects.

Plans to build the developments on downtown parking lots F and N have fueled fears among many that the loss of hundreds of spaces during construction will further compound existing parking issues.

“It’s going to be very difficult to find parking in the downtown Burlingame Avenue area,” said Keighran.

Initially, Keighran proposed officials solely focus the pilot program downtown, but Goldman noted the signs have long been requested in Broadway too and advised against shifting course.

“I would hate to not do that there,” said Goldman, referring to the Broadway signs. Ultimately, officials agreed considering a second downtown lot as well as the Broadway site.

In anticipation of the downtown parking problems, officials have also adjusted parking costs and timing at certain lots to accommodate downtown workers and further loosen the crunch.

For his part, Councilman Michael Brownrigg said he appreciated the vision behind the initiative, while also raising other concerns associated with parking.

“I suspect this is going to be successful and popular,” he said. “And we have to come up with a different way of labeling these stupid parking lots.”

In other business, councilmembers approved amending the deal with San Mateo Union High School District officials for use at the new pool on the Burlingame High School campus.

The deal was first approved by the district last week, since it is owned by the school system. Burlingame officials ratified the contract, because the facility is used by the community when not occupied by students or athletes.

The pool has been closed since last summer when maintenance workers discovered structural flaws so severe that officials elected to rebuild the center rather than attempt to temporarily fix it. Officials are hopeful the new pool will be completed by the end of the year.

School officials shouldered the upfront costs associated with getting the roughly $6.6 million project started, in an effort to get plans approved and move toward construction as soon as possible. City officials are required to pay $2.7 million, with an initial payment of $1.2 million.

Once operational, the school district and city will split evenly the maintenance and operations expenses. Following the first year of use, city and school officials will reconsider cost sharing expenses to determine a reasonable formula for addressing such costs in the future. Under a previous agreement, the city was paying 78% of the operational and maintenance costs.

Officials also intend to extend the terms of the agreement from 2026 to 2040. By 2035, either party may seek to leave the agreement, at which point they would need to reimburse the partner agency for remaining costs.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105

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