Is Santa Cruz Avenue Dangerous?

Accident Wednesday afternoon involving two vehicles along the thoroughfare proves something must be done to slow down traffic, one resident says.

Two cars collided at about 4:20 p.m. Wednesday at North Santa Cruz Avenue, in front of the

The motorists involved, Manouchehr Shahab and Robert Johnson, were first shocked at what happened and then began to exchange information, calling witnesses and contacting to help them file a report and find out who was at fault.

Shahab was driving a Chevrolet that collided with a Lincoln Continental driven by Johnson.

Johnson called the middle lane, which motorists use to turn into the various parking lots along the 25-mph avenue, the "suicide lane."

He said Shahab was traveling northbound on North Santa Cruz Avenue and attempted to make a turn as Johnson was exiting the Comerica Bank parking lot to turn left and travel southbound on the avenue.

Johnson argued the traffic had stopped to allow him to exit the parking lot to turn left onto North Santa Cruz Avenue and that Shahab came down the road on the "suicide lane" and struck him.

"This is just ugly," Johnson complained about the narrow, two-lane road. "It's horrible and the suicide lane is ridiculous. The road is far too narrow to have a middle lane. The town needs to get rid of that suicide lane."

Witness Doug Lynner agreed with Johnson that North Santa Cruz Avenue is dangerous. He said Shahab had to step on his brakes and screech the tires before colliding with Johnson.

Lynner said the most dangerous part of North Santa Cruz, however, is whereMexican restaurant is located at 551 North Santa Cruz Ave. and the scene of several tragic accidents, including a fatality. "Someone was killed on the crosswalk there and I know there's been other cases. It's very dangerous."

Lynner lamented that motorists speed along the avenue and said as a regular walker he's come close to being hit by cars multiple times. "I can't tell you how many times that I've been walking across the cross walk and somebody will come around and try to zoom around to the left or onto the right to get by them and just narrowly missed me," he said.

Lynner said he was actually hit by a car at Lark Avenue while on his bike, but he somehow escaped injury. "Drivers around here don't pay any attention ... it's all where they're going and when they'll get there."

A Los Gatos Monte Sereno traffic patrol officer responded to the scene and was taking down information to file a report and conduct an investigation into the accident.

Police Sgt Steve Walpole said there have been 24 accidents in 2011 on North Santa Cruz Avenue. Of those, 19 were car versus car, two were car versus  pedestrians, and three were car versus bicyclists. Three of the accidents involved drunk driving, seven were hit-and-run incidents, seven were non-injury accidents, and seven were minor-injury accidents, he said.


Robert Johnson November 11, 2011 at 03:56 AM
I agree re exciting a parking lot that is the law, but the other motorist was exceeding the posted speed limit and came barreling down the center lane at plus 40 miles per hour in a 25 mile zone and had to "stand on he's brakes" to stop...but obviously he's speed was too high to stop in time. I was a "sitting duck" Common sense at times trumps the law!
Robert Johnson November 11, 2011 at 04:02 AM
Thank you Sheila for the exposure of this unfortunate incident, The Officer called me today to advise me that he is revising he's/the accident statement he told me he has now added the fact that a witness was contacted and gave a statement that he saw the Chevrolet brreling down the center lane at an excessive and unsafe speed, "stood on he's brakes" to stop but was unable to. He (the officer) has added this fact to the report. Common Sense should rule the day, the law isnt always fair.
Robert Johnson November 11, 2011 at 04:10 AM
What do I do when the North Bound traffic is backed up and stopped? The person who stopped to let me in should be commended. I was waiting to enter santa Cruz and head South for over 7 minutes, when the opening appeared why on earth would I not proceed? I did so cautiously and proceeded with care (3 miles ph) and I was already turning South when the car hit me, see else where on this posting for details.
Collette Lynner November 11, 2011 at 03:54 PM
@Ann, you should thank your lucky stars for pedestrians, who were not just the only people who came to the aid of the drivers, but also the only way this story got reported in the first place. Seven hit and run accidents out of 24? That's amazing.
Amie Sue November 11, 2011 at 09:02 PM
Next time you're driving on LG Blvd between King's Court and the High School, look at your speedometer, slow to 25mph, and you'll experience how slow "25" feels, then start practicing it religiously. It's posted for a reason- kids sometimes aren't paying as much attention as they should be while cycling or walking to school. Additionally, my neighbors and I would like to exit/enter our home's driveways without "punching it" to get in or out of traffic (umm...sadly, it's often necessary.) On average, I see an accident a week near my house on LGB, most are small fender benders with minor bumper damage. It's only my opinion, but I believe if drivers were obeying the posted 25mph speed limit, many of these (mostly rear-end) mishaps could have been completely avoided. This is the first time I've spoken out about LG traffic publicly. I have lived on LGB since 2000. I absolutely love my home, it's location, and this amazing town. I don't want to sound like a whiner. I'm just telling it like it is. Please slow down for our kids, walkers, and cyclists. Don't treat the Bikelane on LGB like a second lane, and pay extra attention when you see a marked crosswalk on any LG street. Have a Happy Veteran's DAY Holiday! :o) xoxox


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