The city’s sidewalks range from fair to poor condition overall, but officials say there is little wiggle room in the budget to make more significant repairs in the next five years.
The Parks and Recreation Commission last week discussed a deteriorating piece of sidewalk in front of Washington Park on the 800 to 900 block of Burlingame Avenue, after concerns surfaced about potential hazards to pedestrians, Parks and Recreation Director Randy Schwartz said.
Band-Aid patches can be made to sidewalks raised because of stretching tree roots, according to city engineer Donald Chang, but long-term fixes will likely continue to be made piece-by-piece to different parts of the city every year.
Burlingame’s approximately 18,000 trees are the main reason for sidewalk repairs. The towering eucalyptus on El Camino Real cause the most damage, but those trees and road are regulated by Caltrans, Public Works Director George Bagdon said.
Mills Estates along Trousdale Drive have the best, newest sidewalks, while areas east of the railroad tracks around Easton Drive are the worst, Bagdon said, which falls in line with the general observation that residential sidewalks are typically worse off because there are more trees there.
The city used to pay for all sidewalk repairs, but Burlingame and many other cities shifted responsibility for repairs to sidewalks adjacent to private property to the property owners after the economic downturn two years ago.
The city rotates where repairs are made each year, dispatching crews to a different section of the city every year. It takes approximately 20 years to finish the whole city.
Approximately $400,000 annually in capital funds is now dedicated to city sidewalk repairs, a figure that remains steady over the next several years, according to the city’s adopted five-year capital improvements plan.