ECHO PARK — For those who don’t mind driving on some of the neighborhood’s steepest hills, Baxter Street has been a handy east-west route to get to Glendale Boulevard and the 2 Freeway. It was a shortcut long known mostly to locals. But now the secret out, leaving stretches of narrow, hilly Baxter congested with traffic during evening rush hour. “To see a line of cars on both sides of the street – it’s unbelievable,” said Cesar Blanco, who has lived in the 2000 block of Baxter for nearly 20 years.
Many neighbors blame Waze, Google Maps and similar apps for routing motorists off traffic-choked Glendale Boulevard and into a quiet residential area. Congestion, which is worse on Dodger game days, began to grow noticeably eight to 12 months ago, say residents.
Alyson Sullivan, who lives around the corner on Lake Shore Avenue near Baxter, said the apps fail to tell motorists they are heading for a street so steep it has induced panic attacks among drivers. She has seen car tires smoke as they spin furiously to gain traction. One bus actually shifted into reverse midway up the hill, with traffic circling around the vehicle. “This is where it’s actually dangerous,” Sullivan said.
Carlo Lopez watched as a line of vehicles drove past his Lake Shore home before turning left and heading up Baxter. He assumes these are Waze drivers who are seeking relief from the traffic on northbound Glendale Boulevard. “When we sit in the living room and watch TV, you can watch the flow of traffic” outside, he said.
Lopez, who has lived on Lake Shore for about 17 years, said a no left-turn sign at Lake Shore and Baxter might convince motorists to steer clear of the area. He said he complained to the city about the traffic and received an email from a Department of Transportation employee saying they were looking into the matter. That was about a year ago and the Baxter Jam continues.
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