Motorists ignore ‘Keep Clear’ signs in front of Soquel Drive fire station, reader says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I was hoping you could write an article concerning the bottleneck in Soquel Village during the morning rush hour. I have to commute from Aptos to the east side of Santa Cruz five days a week. Every morning, I see the same handful of inconsiderate and irresponsible drivers making the same illegal move, so that they don't have to wait in line like everyone else. There is a very visibly marked 'Keep Clear' area in front of the fire station. When traffic in the right lane heading west is stopped for the traffic light, there is a gap left in case the fire engines need to respond to an emergency. On a regular basis, the 'I'm-special-so-laws-and-rules-don't apply-to-me' drivers pass the entire line in the lane designated for turning left, and cut to the front of the line, blocking the 'Keep Clear' area. My personal favorite is the woman in the green Subaru Forester, who is usually yapping on a cell phone when she cuts the line and changes lanes without a signal. I've witnessed her do this on several occasions. Then there's the diesel-smoke-belching 70's vintage Mercedes with the over-tinted windows, whose tail, brake and/or signal lights don't seem to function at all. He seems to enjoy playing 'chicken' with his lane change, knowing that the owner of a nice vehicle won't want to tangle with his already dented panels. I encourage you to forward this to law enforcement so the CHP could station a motorcycle officer on the apron of the firehouse to issue citations to the scofflaw motorists. Sincerely, Thomas Cunniff, Aptos A: “I see this scenario playing out in front of the many fire stations between Aptos and Santa Cruz,” said officer Sarah Jackson, spokeswoman for the CHP's Aptos office. Jackson has noted your complaint and will alert officers working the area to keep an eye for fire station blockers. Meanwhile, Mike DeMars of the Central Fire Protection District told Street Smarts that emergency personnel have not had issues exiting the firehouse because of motorists stopped in front of their driveway. He also noted the CHP's tries to keep a presence there. "But they can't be there everyday," he said. Q: I have noticed that bullying is an accepted way of driving now. Instead of cars flashing their lights to ask you to move over, they tailgate you – like being pushed – to get you to move over whether there is or isn't space to move over to in the next lane. I especially notice this behavior on Highway 17 but it is ubiquitous. I wonder why the CHP doesn't ticket more people to discourage this type of bullying? Thanks for any and all information you can provide. Best, Donna Von Joo-Tornell, Santa Cruz A: “In 2011, CHP officers wrote 4,818 speeding citations on Highway 17 alone,” said officer Sarah Jackson, CHP spokesperson. “We also issued 51 citations for unsafe lane change, and 172 citations for following too closely. Aggressive driving is dangerous to everyone on the roadway – and we realize that.”  
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2 Responses to Motorists ignore ‘Keep Clear’ signs in front of Soquel Drive fire station, reader says

  1. John Colby says:

    The DUI drivers are the ones who steam me the most. They’re unguided missiles waiting to take out innocent families.

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