Residents’ Concern Over Dangerous Stretch of Road | Slowing Down Traffic on Orange Grove Avenue

Two sisters who live in the 200 block of the curvy stretch south of Columbia Street and north of the 110 Freeway took their complaints of speeding vehicles along the busy section to the South Pasadena City Council last week as they seek a remedy

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | The stretch of Orange Grove Ave, south of Columbia St and north of the 110 Freeway onramp, in South Pasadena

Ann Rector and her sister Sarah want what they describe as “speeding and reckless driving” along one of the busiest roadways in South Pasadena to stop.

In a pair of recorded messages played during public comment of last week’s City Council meeting, the longtime residents described what they often see outside their homes in the 200 block of Orange Grove Avenue, a short spurt of about a quarter mile, south of Columbia Street and north of the 110 Freeway.    

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | The stretch of Orange Grove Ave, south of Columbia St and north of the 110 Freeway onramp, in South Pasadena

“Recently, two side-by-side street lamps were destroyed by two separate accidents involving speeding and reckless driving,” explained Ann. “The destruction left behind litter on Orange Grove Avenue in front of our home.”

In the aftermath, Sarah said the pair of incidents “tore up the irrigation lines, likely killed a pine tree, and have basically trashed the front of our property.”

Further, noted Ann, the freight trucking on Orange Grove Avenue continues to be a “chronic problem, with numerous 18-wheel trucks daily crawling up and down the curvy stretch, knocking down tree branches, brakes screaming, polluting our environment.”

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | The stretch of Orange Grove Ave, south of Columbia St and north of the 110 Freeway onramp, in South Pasadena

She and her sister are pushing for more law enforcement along the busy stretch, suggesting “numerous measures should be analyzed,” she explained, to reduce the speed of cars heading south where travel in two lanes converges to one in front of her property.

“The honking and screeching of tires is disruptive to our lives,” said Ann. “The sidewalk is not safe for pedestrians when cars are flying around the curve speeding and fighting for their lane. Perhaps signage or blinking lights warning drivers of the upcoming narrowing and curvy road would help.”

One solution, she urged, would be to paint “lines indicating two lanes merge to one would help slow people down.”

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | The stretch of Orange Grove Ave, south of Columbia St and north of the 110 Freeway onramp, in South Pasadena

The sisters, who live next door to each other, grew up in South Pasadena — Ann saying her family has lived on Orange Grove for more than 60 years. A third property they owned in the same block was recently sold. They have seen their share of mishaps involving a parade of cars along the bustling thoroughfare over many decades. “We have a unique perspective regarding the changing traffic patterns on Orange Grove Ave,” offered Ann.

They’re not alone in their quest to find a remedy, she contends, adding: “I can assure you the homeowners living on this section of Orange Grove Avenue in South Pasadena share my urgent concerns.”

In December 2018, Ann raised the issue about speeding traffic along Orange Grove to the council while describing accidents near her home resulting in property damage. Following the recent accidents on the street, Ann said she felt compelled to voice her complaints once more.

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | The intersection of Columbia St and Orange Grove Ave at the border of Pasadena/South Pasadena

“I ask you to please search for solutions regarding the dangerous speeding and accidents, and the illegal freight trucking on Orange Grove Avenue between Columbia Street and the 110 Freeway,” she told the council.

One day after making their remarks, the sisters met with two South Pasadena police officers, both of whom focused on steps they could take to improve the situation. “The officers shared three points,” Ann said. “They hope a third motor officer is added to the force so more enforcement can occur. They hope to have more time in their schedules to patrol this street and give citations. They asked permission to use our two driveways to park and watch traffic.”

The sisters were in agreement to all three proposals, especially giving a resounding “yes” to the third.

Further, Solinsky said the police department will maintain efforts to create a safe environment for both residents and motorists “through engagement and analysis. As with any concern regarding traffic safety, the city and police department take the issue seriously and act with a sense of urgency,” he said through an email. “Working in a collaborative effort, the police and public works departments consider the five “E”s of traffic safety – education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation, and engineering. Education, enforcement, and engineering speak for themselves. However, encouragement means getting stakeholders involved and becoming part of the solution. Evaluation refers to a comprehensive review of a safety program to ensure the measures put in place are working. All five of these components must be present to have an effective response plan.”

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | SouthPasadenan.com News | The stretch of Orange Grove Ave, south of Columbia St and north of the 110 Freeway onramp, in South Pasadena

Solinsky explained from both the education and enforcement perspective, the police department routinely speaks with residents “to better understand the effects of living with traffic issues in residential areas,” he said, noting that a mobile radar trailer is frequently placed on Orange Grove Avenue to remind motorists to slow down.”

Police officers, continued the interim police chief, “conduct bimonthly traffic enforcement, focusing on all areas of unsafe driving and commercial enforcement.”

That’s welcome news for Ann and Sarah, who simply want a little peace of mind for themselves and those around them.