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Police officer causes traffic jam near already congested Harvey West, reader says
Dear Street Smarts, Q: On Saturday, Dec. 19, I was heading up River Street towards Costco around noon and the traffic was backed up almost to Outdoor World. I thought it was just Christmas shopping traffic until I finally got across Highway 1 and there, in front of Central (Home Supply), was a motorcycle cop giving tickets. 'HE' was the cause of the traffic jam! I hope the point is made without a need for me to elaborate further. Max Wells, Jr. via email A: “I doubt the officer’s presence was the sole cause of the backup,” said Capt. Steve Clark of the Santa Cruz Police Department. “The fact that this roadway is impacted with traffic under the best of circumstances, combined with additional holiday traffic is more likely the contributory factors.” Complaints, high accident rate, high traffic areas, and high rate of violations dictate where the department focuses its enforcement efforts, he said. “If the officer was simply sitting on the side of the road monitoring and/or watching for violations, there may be a residual backup from drivers,” Clark said. “The natural reaction is to slow when they see an officer watching traffic. If the officer was partially in the roadway or off to the side writing the citation, again it is a natural -- and appreciated -- reaction for drivers to slow and pass with caution. “In any case, we will continue to conduct enforcement operations where and when needed,” said Clark.
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