Radar patrol considered on road near Los Gatos
By Mark Helfen
Knight Ridder

Responding to complaints about speeding, Santa Clara County supervisors will consider asking the California Highway Patrol to use radar on Kennedy Road near Los Gatos.

Kennedy Road from Los Gatos Road to Stonybrook Road, in an unincorporated area near Los Gatos, will be approved for radar patrol if the measure passes. The supervisors will also consider a section of Church Avenue in an unincorporated part of San Martin for CHP radar enforcement. The county has an agreement with the California Highway Patrol, who enforces traffic laws on unincorporated highways, that ``any request for radar deployment must obtain the support of the Board of Supervisors,'' according to the documentation supplied to the board.

The issue came up in response to residents who complained about speeding, said Michael Murdter, director of roads and airports department for the county. The CHP won't use radar for enforcement without community consensus, indicated by the vote of the supervisors, Murdter said.

If the measure passes, the vote approves both radar speed enforcement, and asks the CHP to add radar patrols on the two road sections.

A traffic study is required before radar enforcement can be done on roads that don't have state defined speed limits, such as freeways, said CHP Lt. Mike Durst.

The county traffic engineer conducted studies on both road sections and set the speed limit at 30 miles per hour. Local CHP offices have reviewed the recommendations and agreed with them.

How often the CHP would use radar to check up on drivers is not clear. The officers' main assignments are the freeways -- both enforcing laws and handling accidents, said CHP spokesman Steve Perea. That uses up most of their time.

``Are they going to go off beat and shoot radar on a regular basis?'' said Perea. ``Probably not.''

``It will be more hit or miss. They may sneak some time to do local enforcement.''

In addition to radar, just having the CHP on the street shows ``visual presence,'' said Perea.

The amount of time the CHP spends on the two roads might also reflect the number of calls from the community, Perea added.

The supervisors are set to meet at 9:30 a.m. today at 70 West Hedding St. in San Jose.

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