Protesters voice their anti-speeding creed

Speeding solutions urged by residents of one San Mateo neighborhood could be used around town to help areas dealing with an influx of traffic due to increasing density in businesses and housing.

Approximately 50 residents took to West Third Avenue on Wednesday morning with neon-colored signs to tell drivers to “Slow Down,” and point out — to city staff and police officers — the dangers inherent along West Third where Eaton Road, Virginia Avenue and Parrot Drive all flow into the street.

“It’s a pretty wicked intersection,” said Erik Frykman, who brought his two terriers, Ellie and Emma, to the demonstration. “You see people out here doubling the speed limit, even exceeding that.”

Anna Kuhre, who organized the demonstration on behalf of the Baywood Action Committee, said they were calling for “long-term solutions, not Band-Aid fixes,” from the city with their signs and shouts, and trying to remind drivers they were in a residential area.

The city has already installed a yield sign and “enhanced” crosswalk at the thoroughfare, but Public Works Director Larry Patterson said the city is still looking into other measures to help calm traffic. Those could include the installation of a $30,000 electronic radar sign to alert drivers to their speed automatically, but those are typically installed in areas around schools or health-care facilities.

“If we were to find that these measures work here, I think they could end up having applications all over San Mateo,” Patterson said.

There are a half-dozen such “driver feedback” signs in San Mateo right now, andPatterson said their use is limited both by cost and the need to mount the signs on existing light poles or freshly installed poles, which can add to the price tag.

The signs fulfill the “engineering” aspect of the “3 E’s” Patterson said are necessary to solving the speeding problem — education, enforcement and engineering. Because the police department does not have the manpower to place an officer on every corner to watch for speeders, engineering tools such as speed signs, speed bumps and signage are also needed.

A half-hour into the demonstration, shouts of “Slow down, clowns” were momentarily interrupted when San Mateo police officers drove off in pursuit of a car that had sped through the intersection after nearly causing an accident at West Third and Virginia avenues.

“That’s awesome; that made my day,” seven-year resident Sean Lawrence said.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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