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Parks, Open Space, and Recreation

Parks and recreation facilities provide places where people can be physically active, gather as a community, recreate, learn, and participate in the greater community. Active park spaces include sports fields, game courts, and playgrounds. Open spaces and natural areas support biodiversity, allow for the management of water and other natural resources, and offer opportunities for residents to be in and connect with nature. Burlingame has a diversity of open spaces, with most neighborhoods having relatively easy access to a neighborhood park or playground or the Mills Canyon Wildlife Area. Along the Bayfront, the Bayside fields, community garden, Bayside Dog Exercise Park, golf driving range, and Bay Trail offer places that attract not just Burlingame residents but visitors from other communities. And while the Bayfront amenities are separated from the rest of Burlingame by Highway 101, the policies in the Mobility Element include initiatives to improve pedestrian and bicycle access across the freeway.

Figure HP-1 identifies neighborhoods where residents are not within one-quarter or one-half mile of a park, distances considered to be walkable and bikeable. The Easton Addition neighborhood lacks ready access to park space, with the exception of fields at Roosevelt Elementary School. Open space in Downtown, where land use policy will allow for construction of up to1,200 new units (from baseline year 2016), is limited to a small playground on Primrose Road within Downtown itself; otherwise, the nearest park is Washington Park to the east. With the addition of residences at the north end of town—on El Camino Real and Rollins Road—additional open space amenities will be needed to create complete communities and respond to new residents’ desires for gathering and recreation spaces. Because Burlingame has virtually no vacant land, creating new public park and recreation facilities will be a challenge.

The private sector has responded to active residents’ desires by establishing indoor recreation facilities in industrial spaces within the Rollins Road district. While these businesses offer tennis, indoor soccer, gymnastics, and other activities, participants must pay a fee. The City sees the value that private recreation facilities bring to the community, but also is committed to providing public recreation places that meet the needs of residents of all ages and income levels. This commitment includes planning creatively to establish public space in Downtown—which could consist of plazas and outdoor performance spaces—and requiring that new residential development in north Burlingame incorporate publicly accessible green space and gathering spots. The overarching goal is to ensure that every Burlingame resident can easily walk or bike to a public open space. Figure HP-2 illustrates a conceptual parks, recreation, and open space master plan.

Goal: HP-4

Provide a diversity of City-owned parks, recreation facilities, natural open spaces, and public gathering places citywide, and ensure that every Burlingame residents lives within one-half mile of such a resource.

Develop and implement a parks, recreation, and trails master plan to guide open space investments and ensure a comprehensive and integrated system of parks, plazas, playgrounds, trails, and open space. 

Development Review Master Plans Services and Operations

Ensure all neighborhoods have easy access to park and recreation opportunities within comfortable walking distance of homes, schools, and businesses. 

Master Plans Services and Operations

Conduct a study to identify the level of use for each park, trail, and open space in Burlingame, and ensure that existing open spaces meet residents’ and visitors’ evolving needs, providing unique recreation experiences in parks, open spaces, trails, and public plazas. Consider incorporating education with recreation opportunities in the renovation of existing parks. 

Studies and Reports

In concert with development proposals in the North Burlingame and North Rollins Road districts, require plans for publicly accessible plazas and open spaces. Develop guidelines so that these spaces fit within the overall parks and recreation system in Burlingame.

Master Plans Development Review Partnerships with the Private Sector

Explore opportunities to create a new central gathering space in or near Downtown and on Broadway. 

Studies and Reports Partnerships with the Private Sector

Continue to pursue plans for development of a new Burlingame Community Center that provides a multi-functional, flexible, and complementary space that allows for a variety of community services, recreational activities, and cultural amenities that are accessible to and benefit all ages and abilities of the community. Continue to engage residents and other stakeholders in planning and developing the new center. 

Master Plans Financing and Budgeting Public Information and Education

Expand and focus recreational programs and services to meet evolving and diverse community needs. Establish a regular review of recreational programs to evaluate capacity and demands. Work with local school districts to provide programming opportunities. 

Financing and Budgeting Agency Coordination Services and Operations

Provide a range of quality recreational and multi-purpose facilities that are suited to community needs. Provide space for fitness classes, sports leagues, continuing education opportunities, community events, and other functions. Ensure facilities are well maintained and have adequate lighting, signage, and hours of operations.

Financing and Budgeting Services and Operations

Work with the school districts, faith-based institutions, and private entities to allow for the joint use of non-City recreational facilities.

Partnerships with the Private Sector Agency Coordination

Establish and maintain an integrated recreational corridor system that connects regional and local trails to creeks, open spaces, hillside areas, and City parks. Identify potential recreational linkage opportunities to better connect Burlingame’s existing trails, and retain publicly owned corridors for future use. 

Master Plans Services and Operations Agency Coordination

Work with Metro, the Coastal Conservancy, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and private property owners to close gaps in the San Francisco Bay Trail along Burlingame’s Bayfront. Improve public access and connectivity to the shoreline, and enhance recreation opportunities in the Bayfront area. 

Agency Coordination

Improve access to large-scale natural areas along Burlingame’s Bayfront and in Mills Canyon Park. Identify areas for limited or restricted recreational use where natural habitat is particularly sensitive. Pursue opportunities for environmental education to encourage habitat conservation for residents, schools and visitors. 

Studies and Reports

Continue to allow indoor sports and commercial recreation facilities in the Innovation Industrial district within the Bayfront area and along Rollins Road. 

Development Review

Limit the use of public facilities by private organizations when such arrangement works to exclude a substantial base of Burlingame residents from using the facilities. 

Services and Operations

Provide parks, recreation, and trail access for people with disabilities. Identify spaces with limited disability access, and implement plans to incorporate accessible features, including appropriately graded paths and trails, firm and stable paving materials, edge protection on trails, gates and doorways of appropriate widths, accessible drinking fountains and restrooms, and accessible benches and tables. 

Services and Operations Studies and Reports

Utilize native and/or drought-tolerant landscaping to the maximum extent practical in all City parks and open spaces, and minimize impervious surfaces wherever possible. Identify opportunities for sustainable upgrades within City parks and other planted areas, such as parkways and roadway medians. 

Services and Operations Studies and Reports

Establish consistent signage and wayfinding for the parks and trail system to indicate distances to different open space and recreational destinations. 

Master Plans Services and Operations

Pursue funding for parks, recreation, and trail enhancement, development, and maintenance through a variety of mechanisms, including developer fees, the general fund, parking funds, special service districts, user fees, and grants. Include funds in the City’s Capital Improvement Program for timely community facility and park improvements. 

Services and Operations Financing and Budgeting