Santa Clara residents fed up with speed racing, illegal sideshows

On Tuesday night, city leaders in Santa Clara heard from residents about a serious speeding problem on their street. They said reckless drivers have rammed into parked cars and they said they've also seen illegal sideshows on Briarwood Drive.

David Volk said he hears sounds of racing outside his home on Briarwood several times a month.

“I’ll be watching TV and all of a sudden I will hear errrr,” said Volk. “I come running out. They are already gone. They are just flying with their cars screeching out and doing donuts, taking off. What if kids are walking down the street when this is happening?”

At the intersection of Briarwood and St. Lawrence Drive, a neighbor took pictures of a car spinning donuts. Smoke from the tires and skids marks can be seen left behind.

Resident Qi Xiao said she woke up to the noise.

“We heard a loud noise at night 1 a.m. of speeding cars,” said Xiao.

Resident Matt Cotton said drivers go 50 to 60 miles per hour in a 25-mile per hour zone. Cotton said parked cars have gotten damaged.

“I’ve seen probably three different cars get hit right here,” said Cotton. “I’ve had my side mirror taken off.”

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, neighbors said it’s been a problem for some time. They’ve gathered 60 signatures for a petition for speed bumps or any traffic calming measure.

“We have students who walk our streets all the time,” said Todd Bevis of Santa Clara.

Neighbors said several schools are in the area. School buses use the street too as their main route to the bus yard. Neighbors also said drivers often use Briarwood as a frontage road for busy Lawrence Expressway.

“Some of the things you describe, people are doing all over town unfortunately,” said Mayor Lisa Gillmor.

City leaders said it’s not just their street.

“As a resident of the Northside, we have the same issue,” said Santa Clara City Council Member Kathy Watanabe. “Lafayette Street is a great conduit for racing, side show and donuts.”

The council could designate the street as a school zone and work with the school district to ensure drivers adhere to traffic rules. Neighbors said something needs to be done.

“Our street is not treated as a residential street,” said Todd Bevis of Santa Clara. “It’s treated no differently than Lawrence Expressway and we ask for your help.”

The city council did not make a decision. The council plans to address their concerns at a meeting next month after city staff study the issue further.

Meantime, police plan to present a report to the council regarding illegal street racing and sideshow activity in the city in two weeks.