Impact of new roundabout on California Dr. on Burlingame residents

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Impact of new roundabout on California Dr. on Burlingame residents

The roundabout on California Dr. is scheduled to be completed in February.

The roundabout on California Dr. is scheduled to be completed in February.

The roundabout on California Dr. is scheduled to be completed in February.

The roundabout on California Dr. is scheduled to be completed in February.

Rachel Yap, Staff Reporter

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Since its construction in March 2018, the new $2.9 million roundabout on California Drive is on schedule to be completed in late February. The project is currently in Stage Four, the final stage of the project, in which workers are completing the new sidewalks and finalizing the green infrastructure. Although the traffic circle may make the intersection safer for pedestrians, some Burlingame residents are skeptical of its impact on traffic and drivers.

“Right now, the roundabout clogs traffic flow, but it is also still under construction,” junior Danielle Jaworski said.

Some drivers, like junior Julia Geurse, predict that navigating the roundabout will be confusing. As a result of this confusion, Geurse noted, clogged traffic may ensue.

“I think that because roundabouts aren’t as prominent in California as they may be in the East Coast, people don’t really know how to drive through them,” Geurse said.

Roundabouts have been widespread in many European countries for the past few decades, and their influence is slowly spreading to the U.S. With a few roundabouts already in place in San Francisco, traffic seems to be improving despite residential complaints. Burlingame residents are slowly adjusting to the traffic circle, with some already acknowledging its benefits.

“I think it benefits [pedestrians] the most out of everyone as there is a safer place to cross California [Drive] to the Ave now,” Geurse said.

The traffic circle forces cars to slow down to 15 mph, reducing the risk of fatal, high-speed collisions and allowing drivers to be more aware of pedestrians and bicyclists. California Drive formerly allowed cars to travel up to 25 mph. Cars from Bellevue Avenue and Lorton Avenue turning onto California Drive previously faced the risk of high-speed collisions. The roundabout will limit the dangers to low-speed crashes involving only property damage and a tow truck.

With experience and familiarity, Burlingame residents will begin to adapt to the roundabout. In the long run, Burlingame city officials expect the roundabout to improve traffic flow as well as pedestrian safety, once residents become accustomed with the system.

“I actually really like the new roundabout,” junior Namiha Yasuda said. “It’s easier to get to the street you want to go to. Plus, I’m more aware of pedestrians now that I’m going slower in that intersection.”