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  1. Default Fastest Route - Santa Clara to Big Sur

    Hello there,

    Trying to find the fastest (not most scenic) route from Santa Clara, CA to Big Sur, CA.

    Directions from Mapquest:
    I-880 -> CA-17 S -> CA-1 S

    Directions from Yahoo Maps:
    I-880 -> US-101 -> CA-156 W -> CA-1 S

    They both estimate 1 hour and 52 minutes. Are the routes really that similiar that it doesn't really matter? Looking for advice from those that have driving this route before.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    234

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Memoboy
    Directions from Mapquest:
    I-880 -> CA-17 S -> CA-1 S

    Directions from Yahoo Maps:
    I-880 -> US-101 -> CA-156 W -> CA-1 S

    They both estimate 1 hour and 52 minutes. Are the routes really that similiar that it doesn't really matter? Looking for advice from those that have driving this route before.

    Thank you.

    Hi,
    I have done both routes.
    Hwy 17 as you might know is through a major part of mountains(parts of it with speed limit of 55 mph). It can become a lil worse with the rains(fog might affect visibility on some days)And there is no way you can expect to speed through on Hwy 1.
    So, I would suggest the 101 S -> 156 W -> 1 S.
    You can zap through 880 and 101. 156 W is partially a 2 lane highway. And Hwy 1 is all the way 2 lane.

    You might reach a lil early, "if" you do not get caught in traffic along 101.

    Hope this helps.
    Cool

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Route 17 is the local's choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Memoboy
    Trying to find the fastest (not most scenic) route from Santa Clara, CA to Big Sur, CA. They both estimate 1 hour and 52 minutes. Are the routes really that similiar that it doesn't really matter?
    I have probably driven both routes about 100 times over the last couple of decades. Yes, it is true that route 17 is curvy, subject to delays from crashes, fog, wet weather, etc -- but it is 2-3 lanes (each way) the entire distance and without a whit of doubt the choice of thousands of commuters who travel between Santa Clara and the coast on a daily basis. "Cool" is correct -- there is a 55 mph limit (I am not sure I have ever driven that route at such a speed -- the road is capable of higher speeds).

    The routes are not similar in any way. If you would prefer to avoid mountain driving, US-101 to CA-156 is probably a better choice -- but you are going to be on CA-1 with lots of steep drop-offs. As to the time required.... that is really tricky -- if the roads were dry, and there was no traffic -- the US-101 route would only take about an hour. But if you drove this route on a weekday during normal business hours -- it could easily take two and half hours. Similar issues on the CA-17 route, although I would say that I would give it a slight edge on time -- maybe close to the Mapquest estimate -- it is also is far more scenic! (I know you said that wasn't a concern).

    However, if you would like an alternative scenic route -- much slower in some places, but awesome driving road....
    US-101 to Gilroy and then follows SR-152 over Heckler Pass to Freedom/Watsonvillle and then join US-1 -- Surprisingly, I think the actual driving time would be about the same for the entire distance as the other two routes.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-07-2006 at 12:46 AM. Reason: fixed lane count as per LA Native's reminder

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    I have probably driven both routes about 100 times over the last couple of decades. Yes, it is true that route 17 is curvy, subject to delays from crashes, fog, wet weather, etc -- but it is 4-6 lanes (each way) the entire distance and without a whit of doubt the choice of thousands of commuters who travel between Santa Clara and the coast on a daily basis. "Cool" is correct -- there is a 55 mph limit (I am not sure I have ever driven that route at such a speed -- the road is capable of higher speeds).
    Mark
    Are you sure about that? Unless there's been some major construction in the past few years, highway 17 is 2 lanes each way over the mountains from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz. And if it's raining or foggy, I'd be hesitant to drive faster than 55 on that road, this is coming from an LA driver where most people cruise at 90 mph. Watch out for the decreasing radius curve at the end of the highway, it takes most people by surprise, even though there are signs and reflectors all over the area warning you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default I drove it a couple of months ago

    Quote Originally Posted by LA Native
    Are you sure about that? Unless there's been some major construction in the past few years, highway 17 is 2 lanes each way over the mountains from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz.
    It is mostly two lanes, but there are passing lanes in each direction at several points, making it a four-to-six-lane road.
    And if it's raining or foggy, I'd be hesitant to drive faster than 55 on that road, this is coming from an LA driver where most people cruise at 90 mph.
    It can be challenging, but I have driven it many. many times in all sorts of weather and while I generally recommend observing and following the speed limits, it is possible to go faster.

    [Kudos to LA Native for suggesting I re-count those lanes in my memory banks]

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-07-2006 at 12:49 AM. Reason: Add comments

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