El Camino Trees vs. Caltrans Safety project

Funding has been appropriated to Caltrans for a major infrastructure project between Bellevue and Oak Grove Avenues that would install a fifth lane (a turn channel on both sides of the highway) for turning (east and west) into Floribunda. There are left-turn accidents occuring at this intersection at a higher rate than at other intersections (roughly 10.5 per year, the majority involving turns). The turn channel, highway-widening solution preferred by Caltrans is what the agency would typically construct throughout the state.
However, Burlingame’s segment of El Camino Real is narrow, and character-defining for the city of Burlingame, and town of Hillsborough, and it may create precedent for road widening and tree removals elsewhere on the highway.
A public input meeting was held by Caltrans consultants on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. Attended by roughly 100 people, the vast majority of those who spoke were in favor of safety solutions, such as signal phasing and lane splitting, that did not involve tree removals. There is significant concern about the degradation of the character of our tree-lined highway.
If you would like to have input on the outcome of this plan, please contact Yolanda Rivas, District Branch Chief, CALTRANS District 4, 111 Grand Ave. Mail Station 8B, Oakland, CA 94612  or e-mail Yolanda_Rivas@dot.ca.gov before December 21, 2013UPDATE APRIL 2014:

After an outpouring of sentiment against the removal of any trees for this lane widening project, Caltrans is working its way through a litany of other suggestions made by the communities and local governing bodies of Burlingame and Hillsborough. Some signal timing changes are being attempted at the Oak Grove signal so that westbound traffic into Hillsborough at Floribunda has more time to turn without any opposing southbound traffic. At this writing, it is unclear how long this entire process will take, or if it ultimately will dissuade implementation of Caltrans’ original widening proposal. A Draft EIR may still be in the works.


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