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San Francisco Bay Area community news

Residents beg city to curb joyriding speeders

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Beth Winegarner
Daily News Staff Writer
September 15, 2005

One night, at two o’clock in the morning, Redwood City resident Kathy Schrenk heard someone pounding on her door, begging her to call 911.

When she opened the door, she found a girl standing in her doorway, bleeding from a gash in her head. She and friends had been attempting to jump their car on a particularly juicy stretch of McGarvey Avenue, lost control, and crashed into a tree in Schrenk’s front yard.

“Teenagers in the area seem to know the street as a place where you can jump your car,” Schrenk said. Other neighbors have reported seeing cars drag-racing along McGarvey, a small, steep neighborhood road that connects Farm Hill Boulevard with Roosevelt Avenue.

About six weeks ago, city crews installed a sign reminding drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. It was mowed down by motorists repeatedly and was ultimately destroyed last weekend. Signs indicating the speed limit of 25 mph have in some cases been shot at, one resident said.

Hosts of accidents have happened on McGarvey because of ongoing speeding problems; in the past two years, five cars have been totaled, Schrenk said. Some residents’ pets have also been killed by passing cars.

They have asked Redwood City for help. So far, the ill-fated sign has been the primary effort, although resident Bob Farina said he has seen more police patrolling the strip in the past couple of weeks.

“It hasn’t affected much, but they’re working on it,” Farina said. “I think the steps the city has taken have not been very radical, but I know they are stretched thin.”

Redwood City plans to replace the sign and consider other options, said City Council Member Ian Bain. The police department recently got a grant to install signs that tell passing motorists how fast they’re driving, and could install one on McGarvey.

“But the bigger problem is people who are deliberately speeding,” Bain said. “We need more police enforcement, but we’re short on police right now, and those resources are needed elsewhere.”

Bain would like to see some physical changes to the street, which could be included in the city’s next capital-improvement budget in April if funds are available.

Farina is circulating a petition among residents on McGarvey Avenue which asks them to suggest and support a number of options for controlling speed and traffic. One of the street’s ongoing problems is heavy commute-hour use from drivers trying to get from one side of the city to the other.

Those suggestions include adding raised dots or speed humps to the roadway or adding stop signs at some intersections. One of Farina’s neighbors suggested forbidding left turns from McGarvey onto Farm Hill, which would force commuters to find another way to cut through.

The neighbors plan to hold a community meeting with city officials sometime in the next two months. In the meantime, many are afraid the next victim won’t be a pet or a tree, but a child.

“As far as I know, no people have been seriously injured, but we’re all really scared,” Schrenk said.

This article originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily News.

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Written by Beth Winegarner

September 15, 2005 at 8:41 PM

Posted in Redwood City

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