Burlingame’s pain claimed mainly in drains

While residents think highly of their town overall, many feel the city’s infrastructure is below par, according to a recent citizen survey.

The city’s storm drainage system, sidewalk repair program and street repaving service all received low marks in the survey, conducted by the National Research Center, which was retained by the city in May.

The storm drainage system was described as poor by 24 percent and fair by 30 percent. City officials have labeled the storm drainage system as aging and in urgent need of replacement.

Mayor Terry Nagel has gone as far as saying the city is vulnerable to flooding every winter.

Burlingame’s Measure H, which fell short of voter approval by a little more than two percentage points last November, would have overhauled the city’s storm drainage system. City officials have said the system is about 70 years old.

“It already has served its intended life,” Public Works Director Syed Murtuza said. “It seems the community is on the same page in that we all agree it needs to be repaired.”

For street repaving, 21 percent of respondents called the service poor and 36 percent described it as fair. 24 percent characterized the service of sidewalk repair poor and 30 percent called it fair.

Sidewalks have become a pressing issue lately because the city cannot fund repairs and residents have complained of being billed for maintenance. Murtuza said the city has excelled in repaving its streets and the survey may have reflected a misunderstanding because El Camino Real is under state jurisdiction.

Despite room for improvement in those categories, residents have high regard for the city. Len Privitera, a 42-year Burlingame resident, said he loves the city, but wishes Burlingame Avenue kept its hometown shops over the years.

“Someone told me, ‘Put a roof over it and call it a mall,’” he said.

Lou Power, a Hillsborough resident for 22 years, said Broadway has become his destination.

“It had always been Burlingame Avenue at the top end,” he said. “But now Broadway has great restaurants.”

Ninety-seven percent of respondents, according to the survey, felt safe in the downtown area at night. 56 percent of survey takers said Burlingame was an excellent place to live, while 42 percent said it was a good place to call home.

When rating shopping opportunities, 75 percent said what the city offered was good or excellent.

bfoley@examiner.com

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