Sunday, November 15, 2015

Los Angeles Neighborhoods' Waze Problem


Given my frustrating hour-long commute from Glendale to Century City, I rely on the Waze app to at least attempt to cut my drive time.

Like many of you, I have a love/hate relationship with Waze. I'm frustrated by the left turns on to busy intersections without a light (when Waze is clearly trying to kill me), and often I'll throw in my own shortcut and see that helps cut Waze's estimated arrival time–which makes me wonder, why didn't Waze suggest that?

Most of the time, Waze throws me on the 10 freeway, which also feels like it defeats the purpose–I never, never used the freeway to commute before Waze came along.

But Waze also sometimes takes me over the hill through residential streets. That's the subject of Joe Flint's recent piece in the Wall Street Journal: how L.A. residents, fed up with Waze-induced traffic jams down their streets, are fighting back:

The music can start blaring at the crack of dawn. That is often followed by loud cellphone conversation, and before too long Melissa Menard, clad in a bathrobe and holding a cup of coffee, confronts the offenders: the caravan of morning commuters driving by her house.

“Everybody loves BeyoncĂ©, but not at 7 a.m.,” she said.

Ms. Menard’s suburban Los Angeles street of ranch houses, Cody Road, has turned into a thoroughfare with enough gridlock to make Times Square at rush hour feel tranquil. On early mornings when headlights are still needed, it resembles one long funeral procession.

The culprit: Waze, the popular app owned by Alphabet Inc. ’s Google that provides alternate routes to busy boulevards and packed freeways. Launched in 2007, Waze has 50 million users world-wide and about two million in Los Angeles, its biggest U.S. market.

Waze sometimes sends drivers through little-used side streets such as Cody Road. The mile-long hilly street in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood runs parallel to the 405 freeway and leads to Mulholland Drive, through which commuters can make their way from the San Fernando Valley to Beverly Hills, Hollywood and West Los Angeles.

It isn’t the only short cut. In L.A.’s ritzy Hancock Park neighborhood, resident Marnie Owens blames Waze for traffic’s doubling on her street.

Waze said it isn’t the problem.

I'm pretty sure I've driven through Cody Road thanks to Waze. I've also seen neighborhoods and parts of town thanks to Waze that I might have otherwise never seen. I'm not sure what the answer is, but let's face it, I'm not sure you could suddenly ban motorists from driving down public streets.


CodePosse said...

Benedict Cyn resident here that nearly gets hit head on by commuters from the valley daily in both directions. I do Benedict Cyn to Glendale and back daily.

As cool as it was, the roads can't handle it, the water pipes keep bursting, people building stupid homes with lots of trucks, and yes, I am a user, but I don't go through neighborhoods and I still have a top 1400 national rank.

CodePosse said...

it is unfortunate they keep building housing, and the commuters have no options for getting over the hills.

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