Millbrae road stencil misleads motorists

A once-handy lane stencil pointing Millbrae Avenue drivers to northbound U.S. Highway 101 is less handy these days — unless you are willing to take a ten-minute detour.

Though it’s no longer accurate, an eastbound lane on Millbrae Avenue just before Rollins Road still bears a bold, stenciled “SF,” alerting drivers of the entrance lane for northbound Highway 101. Unfortunately, it will drop you into the east side of town instead of funneling you into the freeway-only lane.

Thus far, the mix-up has not resulted in any accidents, only some frustration and some backups on the Millbrae Avenue overpass, police Sgt. John Aronis said. But the city has received some complaints about the misleading stencil and is considering removing it altogether.

“I imagine the worst that happens is that it gets backed up over there when people try to merge into the right lane,” Aronis said. “I’m sure it might be irritating if you’re not used to it.”

Major changes to the area earlier this decade have resulted in roadway snafus.

Lanes do not properly line up once Millbrae Avenue crosses Rollins Road because of roadway alignment changes that took place in anticipation of the intermodal BART/Caltrain station. A turning lane, meant to funnel drivers turning right on Millbrae Avenue from El Camino Real, was added, and the lanes were reconfigured slightly around Rollins Road.

Because of the changes, the lane marked “SF” leaves drivers one lane too far to the north, sending them east on Millbrae Avenue and sailing right past the freeway exit.

“We’ve had so many discussions about that and we have gotten some complaints,” Public Works Director Ron Popp said.

Since an “SF and SJ” lane would presumably be too confusing for drivers, public works staff has been considering removing the stenciled lane markers altogether, though no funding or specific plans have been nailed down for such a project, Popp said.

“I’m used to it by now, but at first I remember I almost crashed into someone over there,” Burlingame resident Janet Meyerson said.

tramroop@examiner.com

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