Barricades come down in San Bruno neighborhood


For some of the residents whose homes were destroyed, moving the barricades on symbolizes moving on with their lives.

"It's a bittersweet moment obviously for a lot of the people here, but we are making progress and this was another step in that line of progress," San Bruno resident Bill Magoolaghan said.

The removal of the barriers that divided Glenview Drive opened up the street Wednesday to people walking, even running to celebrate.

Marla Shelmadine was hesitant at first to get close to what she calls "Ground Zero."

"I just felt like I had to [come to the ceremony] because that was the last piece that was holding some of us back, it was the road," Shelmadine said.

It's more than just a symbolic milestone. The barricades made it inconvenient for residents who were trying to have some semblance of a normal life. They could not easily do what they did before -- walk down the street to talk to neighbors, get to the grocery store, or to work and back.

"I've turned up there on San Bruno Avenue, I don't know how many times to come home," San Bruno resident Jerry Guernsey said. "Now I can come down this street without worrying about it."

The barricades went up after the pipeline explosion destroyed the Crestmoor neighborhood, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes. The crater caused by the blast was filled last month and homes are being rebuilt. Wednesday's ceremony to reopen access to the newly paved streets is part of the healing process.

"It's another little chapter in our ongoing story," Mayor Jim Ruane said. 'We have a long way to go and this is a big part of it here."

Residents are still facing obstacles to rebuilding. About 45 percent have yet to settle with their insurance companies.

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