Los Gatos residents frustrated over drivers seeking shortcuts

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Los Gatos city officials have put up signs throughout town telling shortcut seeking drivers to head back to the highway. (KGO-TV)

seeking drivers to head back to the highway.

With the hot temperatures, many people are heading to the beach. But Los Gatos city officials have a request before you hit the road -- don't cut through town in an attempt to bypass beach traffic on Highway 17.

It's hot, it's a holiday, and you know what that means? Well, it means southbound traffic on Highway 17 to Santa Cruz is going to be a mess. It's notorious for backing up during the summer months through Los Gatos, Campbell, and even all the way to Stevens Creek Boulevard in San Jose.

But as ugly as it's going to get on the highway, residents in Los Gatos say it's getting even uglier in their neighborhoods.

To avoid the backup, people are cutting through Los Gatos. Time lapse video shows a popular route from Lark Avenue, north on Santa Cruz Avenue, through downtown, and back on 17 at the cats. The problem with this shortcut -- you're freaking out the locals.

"It takes forever to get anywhere. A lot of times I have to re-change where I'm driving so I'm freaking out," said Los Gatos resident Kyle Harbour.

During the prime beach drive hours, getting through the Santa Cruz Avenue-Main Street intersection can take 20 minutes.

In response, Los Gatos city officials have put up signs throughout town that tell shortcut seeking drivers to head back to the highway.

Police are also out making sure drivers aren't blocking intersections and diverting traffic from normally quiet neighborhoods.

After this summer, the town council will look at the traffic mitigation measures and see what works and what doesn't. Because all it takes is a hot day on a weekend to get the blood boiling in the streets of Los Gatos.

"Because everyone is frustrated," said Los Gatos resident Shahram Javy. "The drivers themselves, I mean they're just following directions themselves from their navigation system and they're just sitting there. And it's a tense moment for everyone."

According to locals, the busiest times on Highway 17 and through town are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. And the best way to avoid traffic is to start early or leave late.

Want to avoid traffic jams? Download the Waze app to help navigate around the backup.
Related Topics:
trafficdrivingtraffic delayhighway 17Los GatosCampbellSan Jose
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