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Annoying police traps - what about folks who run lights???

Original post made by td on Mar 15, 2007

I feel the strong need to vent a bit at the local
police force.

I am a law abiding driver and am very careful when
approaching any & all intersections in this town.

However, there's always that *one* time that you check
in both directions and see NO traffic and so don't pause
quite as long as the stop sign...well there I was on VERY
quiet Tuesday morning at the corner of Ross & Loma Verde, going
home from the Y. I looked both ways and saw absolutely
NO traffic (fairly rare at this corner, actually) and so
went ahead since it was totally safe. Or so I thought.

Well out of NOWHERE this police car suddenly shoots behind
me with flashing lights and pulls me over, arggghhhh!!!

He claims that I didn't make "full stop" and that the camera
won't lie, so basically good luck fighting it.

Of course I didn't have my license with me because I worry
about losing it at the Y or forgetting it in my gym bag --
sheeesh can't win! (so now I'll have an additional fine for that)
The cop was really rubbing his hands together on that one,
I can tell you.

So WHY are these cops (we're paying for!)laying in wait
at intersections where there's NO traffic at 9:45 AM
on a Tuesday morning??? I mean aren't there more dangerous
traffic violators out there? like those who run red lights?
What's their problem??????
IS it all about lining their coffers? or making their
numbers??

I'm pretty mad as you can tell...

I mean even if you're really law abiding driver,
and very careful you'll STILL get caught just stopping
for one microsecond less than they consider a FULL
stop -- let's stop splitting hairs!!!!

ok thanks for patiently reading all this -- now I've had my chance to rant...

Anyway you police folks, just start worrying more
about those who are really dangerous!
-td

Comments (22)

Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 15, 2007 at 5:30 pm

Actually I see the police regularly ticketing red light runners.
I'd tell you at which intersection, but we need the revenue.

You ran a stop sign, you got caught, consider traffic school.
Suggestion leave the license, in your glove compartment at the Y.

Sorry you got a ticket, but you took your chances and lost.


Posted by Neighborhood resident, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Well, you should have stopped anyway. What if there had been a pedestrian trying to cross the street. In the neighborhood I have almost been run over by car that won't watch for pedestrians at stop signs, stop lights and intersections in general. It happened again last week in the dead of the day, not during rush hour traffic. I for one am happy to hear there is a police presence there.

Furthermore, he time of the day is no excuse to not follow the rules of the road. Consider yourself lucky you go only a ticket and did not get into an ugly situation by running over a pedestrian or into a bicyclist.

As for stop lights, many now have radar cameras that work automatically and don't require the presence of a police person. You get your ticket in the mail.


Posted by Leslie, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 15, 2007 at 6:45 pm

I live on Loma Verde near Ross. I have had a number of close calls with inconsiderate drivers who do not stop. My son has been hit. My husband run off the road while exercising. My cat was hit and nearly killed. I am very vigilant everytime I ride my bike down Ross.

In my opinion, the Y on Ross road is not a good neighbor. Many people who use the Y drive like it was located in a light industrial area instead of residential.

I am glad that you got a ticket, I hope it was expensive. I just wish the police gave more for stop sign violations and speeding.


Posted by Holy Potato, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 15, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Pull out the STOP sign in anger. :-)))))


Posted by Susan Strain, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 15, 2007 at 7:40 pm

The Y has a set of little locking boxes in the lobby that you can leave your license, keys, etc. in, while you're swimming or exercising. You get a key on a safety pin to pin to your swimsuit.


Posted by A resident, a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2007 at 8:03 pm

Sorry fella, but you didn't stop, take your lumps and stop whining. I was on California Avenue one day and a cop pulled me over, gave me a ticket for, as he put it, not stopping long enough at the stop sign. In other words I'd made a California rolling stop. I took my lumps, learned my lesson, and went to traffic school. I always make a long stop at that stop sign now!!!


Posted by Cautious Driver, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 15, 2007 at 9:47 pm

Curious. You say you are a "law abiding driver", and then admit you broke the law. Running stop signs or red lights can become a dangerous habit. A full stop probably would cost you 1 or 2 seconds. One microsecond!!?? Excuses. Excuses.

There are over 400 intersections in town and the cops can't continually patrol them all. So they go to the ones that receive the most complaints from local residents - and this is one of them.

I think not having your license is a "fix it" citation and is cancelled when you present a valid license.


Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 16, 2007 at 12:03 am

JustMe is a registered user.

I am afraid I don'thave much sympathy for people who run stop signs or speed in residential areas. I believe the laws should be more strictly enforced there than on the freeways because of the children that play on those streets. I am sure your ticket will cause you far less guilt than having hit a kid. Couldn't happen to you, you say? Are you willing to bet your life on it? Are you willing to bet my kid's life on it? I have EXTREME contempt for anyone who would take that bet.

Follow the laws strictly where children live. You don't want to experience what will happen if you hit one. There is no rush or hurry serious enough to risk that.


Posted by no dounut, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 16, 2007 at 8:01 am

With all the crazy homeless people in the area, EPA gang shootings, downtown PA muggings and a huge rash of daylight home burglaries I don't see how spending a day pulling over stop sign runners does us much good.

Oh yeah but policing those kind of things does not produce revenue.

When did policing become more about making money than serving the people?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 16, 2007 at 8:10 am

I too live near the YMCA and notice--daily--people speeding down Ross Road and running the stop signs. People, please slow down! There are many children in this neighborhood who cross the street and ride bikes. My car was totalled recently by a driver who ran a red light in Palo Alto, so I consider myself lucky to be alive. Please, please, slow down! The few seconds you save by rolling through a stop sign or a red light are not worth destroying someone's life.


Posted by SW, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 16, 2007 at 8:53 am

I am surprised, but happy to hear the police are looking at that intersection. On a daily basis I see people going through the intersection without stopping and some barely slowing down. I see more offenders running the stop signs on Ross than running the signs on Loma Verde, so Around Town is not alone. And I am curious....If you knowingly run stop signs, are you still law abiding? Isn't that breaking a law or are traffic violations different?


Posted by Rich, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 16, 2007 at 9:12 am

Regarding priorities of traffic safety versus crazy homeless people, gang shootings, etc.: motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in our country for ages 4-34. This has been true for many years and will continue to be so until something drastic happens. I am all in favor of increased enforcement. The original poster didn't notice a police car close enough for the cop to observe what happened. What else might the driver not have noticed while rolling through the stop sign?

P.S. The City doesn't make money on traffic tickets. The County takes most of it.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2007 at 9:51 am

What annoys me more than the number of 4 way stops around Palo Alto is the fact that there are so many that are not 4 way stops and not only do you have to look around for traffic, pedestrians, etc., but also to look at all the roads to see if they are stop signs and if the traffic will stop. It is so confusing at many crossroads to find that you do not have to stop when you have already slowed down and are prepared to stop when you suddenly realise that you do not have to. Also, you are never convinced entirely that the other drivers realise whether they have to stop or not. It isn't too bad when on the regular routes you drive every day, but on those routes you drive only occasionally it is impossible to memorise every one. I have no idea how visitors to the area manage.

Why can't we have more roundabouts? These do not have to be elaborate, just painted circles on the road with yield signs at the approaches. These keep the speeds down, give drivers more ability to know what to do and what others will do, and pedestrians the ability of knowing what the drivers will do. These roundabouts work extremely well in urban areas in Britain and other countries and would work extremely well in Palo Alto.


Posted by roundabouts, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 16, 2007 at 10:08 am

the one roundabout i know of in PA, which is on addison....is a huge pain and very dangerous, imo. sure you have to slow down, which is good. but you have to inch out into the street to see if anyone's coming...and if they are, then what - back up? or drive like hell to get across quickly? it's very dangerous. streets with roundabouts shouldn't allow cars to park on the street so drivers have better views


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2007 at 10:13 am

Agreed, the roundabout on Addison is badly designed, badly signed and no one knows how to deal with it. The correct method of using a roundabout is to yield to traffic already on the roundabout and all ways have equal precedent. Addison is so confusing even those of us who know how to use roundabouts anywhere else in the world are confused here.


Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 16, 2007 at 11:05 am

I am shocked by the number of people posting here that are complaining about the very laws that are designed to protect the lives of our children. If you take all the stress and rush that all of them feel in an entire year that causes them to speed and run lights and signs, it pales in significance to the loss of ONE of those young lives. Yet they thing they have the right to risk those young lives because they are rushed and stressed. I htink we need a better solution because ticketing clearly isn't enough. I propose more speed bumps to slow down speeders. I would LOVE to have speed bumps in my neighborhood, lots of them. Somehow, some way, we need to make the streets safe.

Yeah, the homeless are a problem, but you think running down our kids isn't?


Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 16, 2007 at 11:26 am

Why did you stop me? Why aren't you...

...busting burglers?
...poping agressive panhandlers?
...detaining drug dealers?
...grabbing graffiti artists?
...leaning on litters?
...jumping on jaywalkers?
...rounding up robbers?
...reaming rapists?
...whiping white collar crime?
...SWATing speeders on my street?


Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 16, 2007 at 1:23 pm

Right, and I am sure Osama is surprised we are spending so much time and effort chasing him instead of dealing with our domestic problems.

Maybe your risking the lives of our children does not seem like a big thing to you, but I assure you that some of us think the police are doing a fine thing enforcing traffic laws on residential streets. If you ever actually hit a child, you will discover just how seriously we consider it to be.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2007 at 6:40 pm

Although the original poster was looking for sympathy which he didn't get, I do tend to agree with his argument. Quite often I see the police "hiding"in driveways or dark shadows on bright days waiting for someone to do something to break the law so that they can ticket them. Most law abiding citizens do occasionally do something which is technically illegal and quite often a rolling stop is one of these. I know myself that when coming up to a stop sign there are many things I have to look for apart from the obvious traffic and pedestrians. There are kids riding bikes the wrong way, kids bouncing basketballs, joggers with headphones and dogs not paying enough attention, mothers with strollers and tots on bikes all trying to cross, cyclists with no intention of stopping, teenagers on phones, the list goes on and on. To try and "spot" a hiding police car or motor cycle is not one of my top priorities. I think I always stop at stop signs, but whether or not they are always technical stops I can't say. I know that my first priority is on the road, not my speedo to see whether it registers 0 or not. Likewise my speedo on Middlefield, I tend to follow the safe speed of the other cars and keep my eyes on my driving and looking for hazards rather than the difficult job of seeing if the speedo is above or below 25.


Posted by shiv, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 27, 2007 at 10:35 pm

can anyone please tell me how and what to write in a letter requesting the police to reduce the fine for not stopping at stop sign and not carrying the original license. This is first time that i got a ticket in my life and i want to request them to reduce the fine from $200. I had never broked the law before....can anyone barrow me few lines to be written in the letter...thanks


Posted by formerPD, a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2007 at 5:55 pm

You have no right...traffic enforecement is important and if you knew anything about police officers (not "cops" you have not earned that right to call them that since you are not one), you would know that most solid arrests start with a traffic stop. In fact, most of the hard core criminals are caught DRIVING through our town streets and neighborhoods....You are selfish and irresponsible not carrying your ID too. You do not pay for cops as you say....again arrogant, misinformed, and ignorant...the state, county, grants, and federal govt foot most of the bill....by the way the the city gets 5-8% of the money from traffic cites...so obey the law, wake up, and realize that you are not the most important person in the world and how dare a police officer site you for breaking the law, which you obviously believe you are above!


Posted by Josh G, a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm

I strongly agree with the first post. I grew up in a family where i got to see cops all the time. In my house at 3am every morning for a year looking for my brother. I personally saw a trap that was absolutely ridiculous. We were exiting the interstate and as we came to the light at the first intersection it was flashing red and all other streets were closed due to construction. This means there was only one way to go and no other possible entrances for on coming traffic to run into. The cop was literally out of his car with a flash light waiting for cars to come by. We pretty much stopped but much like the first post we did not quite stop all the way. probably a 3 mile an hour coast with no possible entrances for anyone to even possibly hit us. he was already standing in the middle of the street pointing his flashlight into the car of 5 kids and one adult driving. How low down do you have to be to stand there and give 500 dollar tickets to people in an economy that is struggling as is. I wanted to tell him how about you go stop the real criminals. The drug dealers, rapists, murderers, arsonists, reckless drivers, and people who actually run stop signs. There truly is a safe speed to approach a stop sign without a complete stop and if cops are going to use that as a way to give tickets I will gladly call in instances where i see cops doing the same thing. All the times i see them coast through stop signs, run red lights, speed, talking on phones, or when they are illegally parked while setting a trap. I wonder what reaction i would get if i citizens arrested them. How would the legal system treat the cops? Get all of the traffic cops and cut their numbers in half and put them in a field that actually keeps me safe! Thank You.


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