City offers funds to calm fatal traffic area

City officials have come up with a “fair” proposal in their latest attempt to tackle a longstanding concern with cross-over accidents on Westborough Boulevard.

At their Wednesday night meeting, the City Council rejected an estimated $90,000 idea to drop one lane from eastbound Westborough Boulevard, citing the traffic congestion it would create.

It supported, however, extending the center barrier up the hill to the thicker median just east of Junipero Serra.

San Mateo County estimated that the project would cost $250,000, City Manager Barry Nagel said.

The stretch of Westborough between Junipero Serra and Camaritas Avenue is under the county’s jurisdiction, and South San Francisco officials want the county to help reduce crossover accidents.

The council decided it was willing to put forward 17 percent of the total cost of the barrier project — $42,500 — because even though the road is county property, roughly 17 percent of the portion of the road without a center barrier is within South San Francisco.

“We’ll approach the county with that and see how they respond,” Nagel said. County officials did not return calls requesting comment yesterday.

Mayor Joe Fernekes said the council felt it would be “fair to offer” the 17 percent assistance to the county.

“We felt, most importantly, we want to be able to stop the head-on collisionswith people jumping the curbs,” Fernekes said. “We’re trying to be partners and work together to accomplish this goal.”

Since 1990, there have been five fatal accidents from crossover accidents on that stretch of road, according to the South San Francisco Police Department.

In the last three years since the barrier was installed on the lower section of Westborough, there have been four crossover accidents, three accidents in which vehicles have struck the barrier and two collisions where the median without the barrier was hit, according to the department.

The Police Department has also issued roughly 1,266 citations on that stretch in the past five years.

Most recently, on Aug. 9 Ray Masaganda was on his way to pick up his wife, Maria, 45, at her hula lesson when another driver lost control of his car and came over the center curb and struck Masaganda’s car head on, killing him.

Maria Masaganda filed a lawsuit Nov. 6 against the county, city and state, as well as the family of the young driver who caused the crash.

dsmith@examiner.com

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