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Los Gatos Residents Say Beach-Bound Drivers Using Waze Causing Traffic Headaches

LOS GATOS (KPIX 5) – People who live in Los Gatos are upset the popular navigation app Waze is directing drivers looking for a shortcut to Santa Cruz through their town, leading to traffic jams for local residents.

It's no secret that beachgoers heading southbound on Highway 17 to Santa Cruz are usually met with bumper to bumper traffic through Los Gatos. While the app directs drivers to take a detour through town, locals said their roads can't handle it.

"It can go from taking 10 minutes to get from my house to work to taking 20 or more," said Los Gatos resident Whitney Alter.

Paff Wood, who also lives in Los Gatos, told KPIX 5, "Normally I could be down in downtown in three minutes or less. But it's taken me 20 minutes to 30 minutes."

To beat the snarl, the city is testing out four signs this weekend near highway exits, telling drivers that city streets are for local traffic only and telling beachgoers to stay on Highway 17.

Highway Detour Sign
A detour sign advises motorists headed for Santa Cruz to avoid downtown Los Gatos. (CBS)

"We want you to enjoy what we have here. We don't want you to be frustrated in a traffic jam," Los Gatos Mayor Marcia Jensen told KPIX 5.

Jensen said the city has reached out to Google to ask about making a change to the app, but it hasn't heard back yet. The mayor said congestion on city streets, especially during the weekend, is causing headaches for locals.

"They cannot get out of their neighborhood, they're trapped," Jensen said. "And if we have an emergency, God forbid, we don't want to have potentially longer response times that are caused by the traffic."

The city isn't sure how long they will keep the signs up. Los Gatos has hired a traffic consultant and is hoping for Caltrans will allow them to install signs on Highway 17, urging beachgoers to stay on the highway.


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