Traffic on narrow side streets could soon be a thing of the past, or at least that’s the hope at Los Angeles City Hall. On Tuesday, the City Council approved a program requiring mobile navigation applications such as Waze to manage traffic onto certain streets before the city shares any data with developers.
Los Angeles had a data-sharing agreement with Waze from 2015 through 2017, but the agreement was not renewed following concerns regarding Waze shortcuts through difficult-to-navigate neighborhoods.
Although side-streets, such as those running through Echo Park, can help the occasional driver avoid crowded thoroughfares, often they clog those neighborhoods.
“There are tremendous advantages to apps like Waze,” Councilman Paul Krekorian said last year. Krekorian, whose district includes Studio City, led the charge against navigation-created traffic. “They can make driving more efficient, but with every technological advance, any consequences that arise must be taken into account.”
The new requirement is part of a pilot program designed to incentivize cooperation with Los Angeles officials on tackling traffic safety on small residential streets.
It’s not the first time Los Angeles has tried to work with Waze, however. In 2015, Krekorian introduced a similar motion asking Waze to partner with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and alleviate traffic on residential streets. However, Waze did not respond.
Krekorian is not the only council member to concerned about Waze and similar apps. Councilman David Ryu sent a letter in April 2018 to the City Attorney’s Office asking for a review of possible legal action against Waze for causing traffic problems
During a series of wildfires in December 2017, navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps were guiding drivers into evacuation areas and caused congestion where officials were ordering streets closed, according to Councilman Paul Koretz’s office