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Councilman says it’s time to consider legal action against Waze over traffic woes

Residents say Dodger game day traffic has worsened with Waze

Councilman David Ryu, who represents Los Feliz and a portion of Silver Lake, has asked the City Attorney to look into taking legal action against Waze over its traffic app creating a “dangerous condition” on many city streets.

“After numerous attempts to reach a resolution with Waze for the threats to public safety and infrastructure caused by their mobile technology, it has become clear that any and all legal options should be considered,” Ryu said in a letter sent today to City Attorney Mike Feuer.  “After many years of trying to bring Waze to the table, it has become clear that this company refuses any responsibility for the traffic problems their app creates or the concerns of residents and City officials.”

Ryu’s request to explore possible legal action comes after L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez  earlier this month wrote about the Echo Park residents who have blamed Waze and other traffic apps for a rise in traffic congestion and accidents on Baxter Street, a steep and narrow roadway that has become a popular shortcut.

The same column prompted City Councilman Paul Krekorian to have the  Department of Transportation look at options to deal with problems caused by traffic apps. However, Krekorian introduced a similar proposal three years ago that went nowhere.

The problem, said Ryu in is letter, “has grown faster than our Department of Transportation can get a handle on it.”

What legal options are available to deal with Waze? It’s not clear what those might be and how the City Attorney will respond to Ryu’s request.

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18 comments

  1. Yeah, sounds like a solid lawsuit. “Keep those tax payers off of these particular public streets”!

    More pandering folks. Don’t be fooled.

    • The big solution is a lawsuit against a map? The problem isn’t Waze, the problem is increasing traffic, and drivers looking for less congested routes that don’t really exist.

      There is no solution other than closing off the streets so they become dead ends (which is what they’ve done on some streets in Burbank and Toluca Lake — very effectively I might add). Tax payers would still be more than welcome to drive down my newly dead ended street.

      • Close off one end of the street — I’m sure the people living there and complaining about the traffic will favor that suggestion. NOT! They don’t want to have to go a mile out of their way every time they leave home because they have to leave in the wrong direction, and then wind there way through local streets to get turns around to the direction they were trying to go.

        Sounds to me like just another idea designed under fantasy thinking to make driving so cumbersome that people will give up and — yes, they all want to ride bicycles if we would just get rid of all the cars, and so they will all ride their bicycles up and down Baxter street, with all their groceries and with the kids on board, as they would already be doing so if it weren’t for Waze.

        • I live on one of those streets and I’d gladly have them block it off at either end to eliminate the traffic jams on the residential street. So would both of my neighbors.

    • Exactly! Talk about finger pointing and shifting the blame. They are trying to blame Waze for traffic problems that the city refuses or just doesn’t know how to handle. I’ve never used Waze but isn’t it updated using user input? What’s next? Sue the users who report traffic jams through Waze?

      • Not problems the city refuses or just doenst know how to handle, problems the CITY has created with its policies designed to manufacture traffic jams.

        They added a traffic signal on Glendale just past the end of the 2 Freeway, and now that backs up traffic in both directions, its always making people stop. That was justified for the oversized housing project that went in there — and people complained and pointed out the problems of the traffic at that spot and a traffic signal there. But there it is, jamming up traffic even worse than it already was.

        I didn’t see Ryu do anything to stop that fiasco. And now he blames it on Waze.

        • thanks Tom. Its nice to see people who drive in this town are finally understanding how these idiots mess up traffic and have no solutions. My point is beginning to get out there.

  2. Hmmm, the city gov, that’s so financially stretched that it can’t even fix a pothole, is going to sue Google, one of the most rich tech companies in the world. Seems like a great use of tax dollars!

  3. Waze can’t be held accountable for traffic, lol! The city for decades has failed to pay for effective mass transit infrastructure. Until that changes I’ll enjoy my daily commute rallying through the hills while trying to beat Waze’s arrival time.

    • We’re actually paying for a ton of mass transit projects at the moment… probably more than any other city in the country: http://media.metro.net/measure_m/map_measure_m_ltr.pdf

      Problem in LA is not infrastructure… it’s land use. Too much sprawl, too much parking, too many streets designed as cut-through highways for commuters. We’re in such a hurry to get from one place to another, that we’ve neglected to build places that are self sufficient in the first place.

      The solution to congestion is intensification of land use. Bring people and places closer together. Waaaaaaay more productive use of our time, money and finite resources.

  4. Aren’t these the same city councilmen who vote to use tax payer money to pay off the lawyers filing multi million law suits brought to them by pedestrians and cycles injured due to the poor road conditions? They seem to have plenty of money to hire lawyers to sue app creators for making it easier to maneuver around the mess they cause by road diets and the LADOT inability to make traffic flow in a reasonable manner.

  5. You know what would be incredibly dumb, wasteful, and pointless….suing Google about an app that routes vehicles on pubic roads. Is Ryu really this bad? Next please!

  6. It’s a dumb suit but it’s something… even the suggestion of legal action means press, and the court of public opinion is something Google/Waze are very sensitive to. I agree that ultimately the solution is probably new traffic regulations around streets like Baxter.

  7. Yes, of course Waze is to blame, it certainly would not be all the city’s efforts to manufacture traffic jams by various means all over. And I do recall Ryu siding with the manufacturing of traffic jams.

    A lawsuit — and on what grounds could you win a lawsuit against Waze over this, and that would not even more so implicate the city itself?

  8. call althea & bring back the gay cruising spots. lol. peace, yall.

  9. Baxter wasn’t built for cars and isn’t safe for them. Make them walk streets like nearby Loma Vista. Stick a few steel bollards in so that motorists get the picture.

  10. No one seems to be connecting the dots. Pedestrian deaths have skyrocketed in the past three years and so has the amount of drivers using Ways. Officials say it because of distracted drivers on their phone. Drivers have been distracted on their cell phones for decades now. What’s different is that now they are distracted while following Ways. Winding them though unfamiliar neighborhoods that they don’t know and don’t seem to care about how fast they are driving. If no speed limit sings are posted, Ways assumes the highest possible speed limit and no consideration of elevations in their routing. This in’t just irresponsible, Its Deadly. Ways jeopardizes the safety of all residents subjected to Ways routing of massive amounts of drivers though our once quiet, narrow and windy streets. In short. Google says their not doing anything illegal with Ways policies. In short. People are dying because of Ways. Time for Ways to go away.

  11. Diogenes De La Torre

    Public streets are for use of the general public, not just for the resident that live there. If they want privacy then buy the street property from city and create a HOA to maintain it.

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