South City residents wary of perilous path

Drivers cutting through the Peck’s Lot and Paradise Valley neighborhoods could lose their favored passageway if residents have their way.

Roughly 150 residents in the two neighborhoods petitioned the city to close off Randolph Avenue where the road crests near North Spruce Avenue due to the danger and noise the cars create as they speed through.

Approximately 200 residents of the neighborhoods also petitioned to have a sound wall that runs adjacent to Sister Cities Boulevard to be extended from North Spruce to the intersection of Hillside Boulevard and Sister Cities. The 1,000-foot-long wall runs from Airport Boulevard to just past Peck’s Lane.

A long stretch of Randolph barely fits two cars and is in rough shape, with overgrown shrubs further enclosing the roadway. Since 2005, there have been five accidents on Randolph — three of them occurring on the wider portion in the Peck’s Lot area and the remaining on the narrow, bumpier section through Paradise Valley, according to police.

Colleen Rudd, who says she has lived on Drake Avenue for 32 years, described a lengthy process of edging her car onto Randolph to minimize any danger.

“You’ve got to stick your car out and ease out,” Rudd said. “I go to the middle of [Drake] and angle wide” so her car doesn’t jut out as far.

“I try not to walk my dog up there because the cars go so fast,” she said. “It’s just not safe.”

At a City Council meeting in July where the petitions were delivered, some encouraged more stop signs or speed bumps but opposed shutting off Randolph entirely because it would keep them from shopping at local stores and could prove troublesome for emergency responders.

But Inspector Tom Carney of the South San Francisco Fire Department — a resident in the area — supported blocking off Randolph.

“We don’t have any park, and most kids are in the street. It’s only a matter of time before something happens,” he said.

City Manager Barry Nagel said the road condition of Randolph has been an issue for the city, but he added that he wants to find out how a closure or any option would affect the police or fire departments.

Locals sound off on barrier

A long-controversial sound wall along Sister Cities Boulevard is not long enough, residents in the Paradise Valley neighborhood say.

Two hundred residents petitioned the city recently to extend the sound wall from where it stops between Peck’s Lane and North Spruce Avenue all the way up to where Hillside Boulevard intersects Sister Cities.

The sound wall was built in 2004 at the urging of Peck’s Lot residents to mitigate the traffic noise generated by the relatively new Sister Cities Boulevard and Terrabay development. Noise studies conducted for the city suggested the level of noise indeed warranted a wall.

Installation of a wall was also requested by Paradise Valley residents, but none was built. They said their homes are threatened by the speeding and dangerous traffic, which could career down the embankment without a wall or guardrail.

Bill Scheper lives just below Sister Cities on Claremont Avenue and he described walking on Sister Cities “like walking on a shoulder of a freeway.”

“It’s harrowing; it’s intimidating,” Scheper said.

In 2005, a man was killed on Sister Cities Boulevard just past South San Francisco Drive when his car veered off the road and crashed into a tree. Police determined the accident was caused by excessive speed, South San Francisco police Sgt. Paul Ritter said.

Since 1993, police have issued 301 speeding tickets along Sister Cities between Hillside Boulevard and Airport Boulevard, Ritter said.

City Manager Barry Nagel said the city would investigate the cost of extending the sound wall and a guardrail.

dsmith@examiner.com

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