Just last week, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that he'd launched a partnership with Waze that would let the navigation app and the city swap real-time data about street conditions, road closures, and traffic. That's all well and good, but it was not clear from the deal what Waze might do for the city—especially, perhaps, for Westsiders, who are mad about Waze sending cars through their neighborhoods (the app responds to real-time traffic and sends users on less congested paths). Councilmember Paul Krekorian wants to make sure that the issue doesn't get overlooked, and, according to a release from his office today, has introduced a motion that would make the app take steps to "reduce the impact of cut-through traffic that results from use of Waze and similar traffic apps." That kind of sounds like he wants the app to stop doing what it does.
The motion, like many Westsiders who complain about the app, seems to argue that residential streets are somehow unable to handle cars driving on them. "Many blame Waze and other mobile apps because they divert drivers from major avenues onto small residential streets that aren't designed to accommodate them, resulting in far greater congestion and traffic for residential neighborhoods." The motion suggests one possible way that Waze might control the level of traffic on residential streets would be to "[regulate] the number of added daily trips" for certain streets.
But if the app discourages taking anything but larger, arterial streets and major avenues, or doesn't show shortcuts that pass through residential areas, then what good is it at all for traffic workarounds? Also, why should drivers have limits on the streets that they can take when the motion itself notes that Google Maps and Waze are all just different ways to "maximize the efficiency of public street infrastructure by utilizing unused streets during periods of high traffic congestion." These public streets were never "secret"—they're on maps—and people should be able to use them if they like.
· Waze App and LA Partnering to Smooth Out Commutes [Curbed LA]
· Westsiders Freaking That People Are Driving By Their Houses [Curbed LA]