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City Considers Getting Rid Of Some Waze Shortcuts

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(Photo by F Delventhal via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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Waze is a blessing for L.A. drivers who need shortcuts to navigate through our hellish daily traffic. However, not everyone is happy about it, especially folks who are complaining Waze is pushing traffic into their quiet residential neighborhoods. An L.A. councilman siding with them proposes that we reduce the number of the shortcuts through these residential streets in the app.The details in L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian's proposed motion are a little murky right now, but it's clear that he wants the app company to direct users to more major thoroughfares instead of sending them through residential streets, according to City News Service. He proposes that Waze limit the number of daily trips allowed through certain routes or find other ways to deal with the problem, VICE reports.

"Residents in my district and throughout the city have experienced a major uptick in cut-through traffic over the past few years," Krekorian said. "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."

Earlier this year, a Department of Transportation spokeswoman told the L.A. Times that there was no way to link increased traffic to one source, like Waze, and that bumper-to-bumper traffic could also be due to the growing population in our city. Curbed LA

TMZ reported last November that Westside residents were so frustrated with Waze drivers cutting through their residential roads that they were banding together to produce fake traffic reports on the app to reroute drivers back onto the freeway. However, Waze said that is impossible since the app depends on other users to verify road closures. So, if other drivers negate the closures, then the closures will disappear from the app.

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Krekorian, who represents North Hollywood, Studio City and other Valley hoods, says that drivers zip through these residential shortcuts, making it unsafe for pedestrians in the areas. He says major roads are safer because they have signal lights and crosswalks. However, VICE says there aren't any major reports linking Waze to causing crashes. We know firsthand that using Waze requires expert-level maneuvers—like making difficult left turns on busy streets without signals during rush hour.

Meanwhile Mayor Eric Garcetti has been collaborating with the app and its parent company Google Maps. He announced earlier this month that the city will be sharing data with the companies. That means that they'll be sharing info on street closures and locations with movie shoots to help with everyone's commutes. They'll even be asking Waze drivers to look for suspects in kidnappings and hit-and-runs.