Residents in Fremont said they’re fed up with commuters using neighborhood streets as shortcuts during rush hour. The city said it's received dozens of complaints and is taking action. One of the new measures is a sign encouraging drivers to stay on the freeway.
Drivers coming from the South Bay often use Mission Boulevard to avoid traffic on Interstate 680 as they head to the Tri Valley in the evening. The sign discourages it, telling drivers to expect delays and don't trust your apps.
Drone video captures dozens of cars packing residential streets in Fremont. Misty Ferguson lives on Luzon Drive near Washington Boulevard and calls it a nightmare.
“It’s very frustrating when cars are backed up from the stop sign up 35 cars and they are sitting in front of your house with their music going, sitting there for at least 15 minutes to a half hour moving slightly when they would move faster on the freeway,” said Ferguson.
She’s not alone in her frustration and that's why the city of Fremont is implementing new countermeasures. A recent survey found traffic congestion and safety rank number one among residents’s concerns.
“Residents have told us the navigation applications have been sending motorists onto their neighborhood streets and they have now felt trapped or isolated from their homes and neighborhoods,” said Noe Veloso of the City of Fremont Public Works Department.
Veloso is referring to apps such as Waze, Google Maps and Apple Maps. Drivers blindly use them to find the fastest routes. In Fremont, residential neighborhoods adjacent to the Interstate 680 corridor are the most impacted.
“We actually receive a lot of requests, information and complaints from the regional cut through traffic motorists,” said Veloso. “We are honest and we tell them we are trying to create delays for you. We don't want you in our neighborhoods. We want you to stay on our freeway.”
Besides electronic signs encouraging drivers to stay out, the City of Fremont is adjusting signal timing and installing stop signs. Police are also enforcing turn restrictions between 3-7 p.m. on some residential roads forcing navigation apps to remove them from their algorithms.
“I feel it's hard to stop it because it's a public road,” said Nick Sireci who commutes from San Jose to Pleasanton. “Can they force people to not drive on it certain times of the day? That seems kind of extreme.”
The city is currently partnering with Waze to try to resolve this issue. The City of Fremont isn’t the only city dealing with this problem and have been contacted by the City of Santa Cruz and Lafeyette.