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The New L.A. Story: Waze Partners with City; Neighbors Get Upset

A partnership between Waze and the city of Los Angeles has prompted a cry of "not on the street in front of my frontyard!" from residential neighborhoods around the city.
May 5, 2015, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"The Waze traffic-avoidance app has begun sharing drivers' aggregated data with Los Angeles city and county traffic managers in exchange for information on street closures, detours and other data that make the app more useful," reports Sharon McNary.

McNary's coverage includes more details about the potential benefit of the deal to both of the parties involved. Los Angeles entered the agreement in October and announced during Mayor Eric Garcetti's State of the City Address in April.

Though Los Angeles is only one of ten cities to enter into the agreement, the unique relationship of the city's residents to their cars and the streets upon which they travel and park their cars, has prompted a strong response on the part of "Traffic NIMBYs" concerned about the number of drivers who use the app to more frequently access residential streets away from congested arterials and freeways. City Councilmember Paul Krekorian has even introduced legislation that would "reduce the impact of cut-through traffic that results from use of Waze and similar traffic apps," according to a separate article by Bianca Barragan.

Brian K. Roberts, author of L.A. Shortcuts: The Guidebook for Drivers Who Hate to Wait, written 25 years ago, pens an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times in response to pushback against Traffic NIMBYs, offering perspective about the clashing dynamics of public and private brought about by the controversy.

Roberts recalls being let off with a warning after making a turn that was once legal—before residents lobbied for changes to the street configuration in reaction to his book:

"Though I dodged a ticket, that traffic stop raised serious questions. How was it possible that a public street maintained with my tax dollars was no longer available to me? I wasn't speeding. I wasn't intoxicated. I had a valid license. It wasn't my fault that homeowners didn't look at a simple map or check the traffic patterns before they bought a house. Who were these people who had persuaded the government to give their private interests priority? What shortcut did they take every morning to get to work on time?"

One more of the best quotes from an op-ed full of provocative turns of phrase:

"Krekorian and other Waze critics — like the Brentwood woman who told the Associated Press recently that "the streets on the Westside are no longer a secret for locals, and people are angry" — should realize that the streets were never a secret meant for a select few and have been listed on maps at least since Wyatt Earp died here in 1929. Instead of blaming Waze, they should redirect their sense of entitlement to demand better mass-transit options that would reduce traffic for everyone."

Full Story:
Published on Monday, May 4, 2015 in Los Angeles Times
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