Waze, Similar Apps Blamed for Snarling Traffic in Los Gatos

The town of Los Gatos is taking a stance against apps like Waze which direct drivers toward longer – though perhaps less congested routes – through town.

Waze and similar apps often direct drivers through downtown Los Gatos as an alternate route to the beach from Highway 17. In the interest of public safety and traffic concerns, Mayor Marcia Jensen has advised that drivers stay on Highway 17 or use alternate routes such as Highways 85 or 101 to Highway 152 to travel to the coast. 

"We want visitors to come to Los Gatos and stay to enjoy it, rather than wind up sitting in a traffic jam," said Mayor Jensen in a statement that claims that the highways are the actual quickest routes. "The Town hopes beachgoers will come to realize that the freeway is the fastest way over the hill and should be their first choice for trips to the coast and that Los Gatos should be their first choice for a post-beach stop to enjoy dinner, music, or a stroll through Town on their way home."

Starting this weekend, Los Gatos police will direct traffic and extra signs will point drivers toward the freeway, away from the downtown area.

The town has hired a traffic consultant to analyze the current traffic patterns and recommend more alternatives, with findings expected before Labor Day weekend.

In Southern California, drivers have attempted to trick Waze into not recommending shortcut drives through their neighborhoods, but found that it's hard to consistently fool such a crowdsourced app.

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