LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Waze calls itself the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app that allows users to share real-time traffic and road information, saving them time and money on their daily commute. But while the app is popular with many commuters, it is driving some people living in quiet neighborhoods crazy.
Josh Kraakevik is a business consultant who lives in Costa Mesa but works in Downtown Los Angeles. He leaves for his daily commute before the sun comes up.
His daily drive entails departing his house at 5:30 a.m. and driving for more than an hour to work. Because his daily trek is so tedious and long, he relies on Waze to give him the quickest routes.
“Sometimes, you’re like white-knuckling all the way, even though you’re only going 5 miles an hour,” Kraakevik said.
The navigation app provides step-by-step instructions on the fastest routes, often taking users off the freeway in favor of surface streets.
Kraakevik said while he never felt like he was in danger, Waze has sometimes taken him through some sketchy parts of town. “I’m sure that’s something that Waze doesn’t take into consideration is crime statistics.”
But the Waze features that Kraakevik finds useful can be a headache for Melissa Menard, who lives in Sherman Oaks. She blames the app for turning her quiet residential neighborhood into a busy thoroughfare.
Menard has lived on Cody Road for 16 years. Her street is now selected by Waze as a good alternate to the 405 Freeway. She said the daily bumper-to-bumper traffic is disrupting her peace.
“We did have a resident that was here less than two years and decided that this was absolutely ridiculous, and so they moved,” Menard said.
During an interviewing with Menard, CBS2/KCAL9’s Stephanie Simmons noticed an endless parade of cars driving down her street during the morning commute. Some people were listening to loud music, smoking and talking on the phone with their windows down.
“7:15 to 7:25 is when the cars start lining up. There’s a slight lull around 8 a.m. But then it continues beyond 9 o’clock to 9:45, sometimes 10 a.m.,” Menard said.
She and neighbors have banded together with authorities to find a solution to the problem. But it is difficult since they live on a public street.
“Waze does recognize local laws. So, if there’s a local law that says you can not make a left-hand turn from 7-10 a.m., then Waze will not send the drivers that way,” Menard noted.
Waze issued this statement: “We alternate which routes are used, based on real-time conditions, to avoid generating congestion of our own on a different set of roads. It simply wouldn’t be effective to route a large amount of Wazers down a residential street and the app is built to prevent that.”
But that does not seem to be the case on Cody Road. For now, Menard is patiently waiting for the day she can enjoy her morning cup of coffee in peace.
Waze also added that the app does help to reduce traffic across the city by rerouting traffic, and even those who do not use the app see the benefits.