Last week, the San Mateo County Department of Public Works completed the first phase of a speed reduction plan on Pescadero Creek Road.
The plan targets the portion of Pescadero Creek Road between the fire station and North Street and aims to slow motorists as they enter town from the east and the west. In addition to the replacement and relocation of existing speed limit signs, the plan adds several new “35 mph” signs and thermoplastic legends — essentially the white markings you see on pavement — to the portion of road.
“We’re going to install these speed limit signs and the numeric pavement markings and evaluate its effectiveness,” said Director of Public Works Jim Porter. “And based upon that, if it slows cars down, then that’ll be the solution.”
According to Khoa Vo, the deputy director of road services at Public Works, the department first heard about speeding concerns on Pescadero Creek Road in February, when it received a letter from the Pescadero Municipal Advisory Council. But for many locals, speeding on Pescadero Creek Road has been an issue for far longer. Edward Sawyer, who moved to Pescadero in 1992, recalls feeling unsafe riding his bike on Pescadero Creek Road even back then.
“It’s always been fast,” Sawyer said. “And it’s gotten worse because this area has become more popular.”
Sawyer pinpoints the 2008 financial crisis as the true turning point for Pescadero tourism. Suddenly, people stopped taking regular vacations and took mini “staycations” instead, he said, discovering the beauty located just 30 minutes over the hill from their homes. And now, with the coronavirus pandemic, Sawyer is seeing a similar influx in tourism, and with it, speeding.
“People are just so sick of being inside,” Sawyer said. “But I’m all for getting them to slow down.”
Some residents say the new signage is unlikely to work. Dina Gold, who moved onto Pescadero Creek Road in 2016, would like to see the county take a stronger stance on speeding. This includes lowering the speed limit on Pescadero Creek Road and considering the use of speed humps and roundabouts.
“There has been no change on this road in decades, and yet so much change has happened in this community,” Gold said.
Jeff Grech, who has worked for the Department of Public works for 25 years, is no stranger to speeding on Pescadero Creek Road. While working with his crew near Cloverdale Road this past Thursday, a car drove right through their work zone at 90 mph, he said. And on Dec. 5, 2020, a relative was driving on Pescadero Creek Road near Dearborn Park when he got into a head-on collision.
“I hope it helps, I really do,” said Grech. “But I don’t know if it will work. It needs to be enforced.”