L.A. Lawmakers Looking To Take Legal Action Against Google For Not Solving Long-Running City Traffic Problems

from the fix-our-stuff-or-we'll-fix-you dept

Hopefully nothing will come of this, but one should never underestimate the creativity of city attorneys presented with the opportunity to rack up billable hours.

Yet another Los Angeles city councilman has taken Waze to task for creating "dangerous conditions" in his district, and the politician is now "asking the City to review possible legal action."

[...]

In a new letter sent to the City Attorney’s Office, [Councilman David] Ryu formally asked Los Angeles’ top attorney to examine Waze’s behavior.

While Ryu said he supported "advances in technology," he decried Waze and its parent company, Google, for refusing "any responsibility for the traffic problems their app creates or the concerns of residents and City officials."

The city's government believes the traffic/mapping app has made Los Angeles' congestion worse. That the very body tasked with finding solutions to this omnipresent L.A. problem is looking to hold a private third party company responsible for its own shortcomings isn't surprising. If a third-party app can't create better traffic flow, what chance do city planners have? But beyond the buck-passing on congestion, the city may have a point about Waze making driving around Los Angeles a bit more hazardous.

For several months, it's been noted that Waze has been sending drivers careening down the steepest grade in the city -- Baxter Street. Drivers seeking routes around Glendale Ave. traffic choke points have been routed to a street with a 32% grade, increasing the number of accidents located there and generally resulting in barely-controlled mayhem. When any sort of precipitation falls from the sky, the city goes insane. Drivers bypassing Glendale are now hurtling down a steep, water-covered hill, compounding the problem.

It's become noticeable enough that the city government has approached Waze/Google in the recent past, asking for an algorithmic change to prevent drivers from being routed to Baxter. These efforts were met with a reasonable response from Google.

"Google Maps models the ever-changing real world by mapping for ground truth," the company said. "This means that our map reflects any measures taken by local agencies to protect their citizens—for example, blocking off a steep road, or implementing turn restrictions. Should the local agency decide to restrict Baxter Street, this change will be taken into account when routing drivers through the Los Angeles area."

The city finds this response -- one that says the city should do something about limiting access to Baxter Street if driving on it is inherently dangerous -- unreasonable. These are the words of Councilman Paul Krekorian.

"[Google has] not demonstrated any willingness to engage," he told Ars last week. "It goes to the heart of problems—that’s not [the] good corporate citizenship I expect."

Yes, but "engage" how? The city believes the algorithm can be rewritten to exclude Baxter Street from suggested routes without screwing things up elsewhere. Residents of Baxter Street want even more -- for it to be erased from Google's map.

This is nothing more than a city looking to offload problems of its own making. I suppose the addition of a cautionary note when rerouting to Baxter wouldn't be that much of a problem to implement, but that shouldn't even necessarily be something Google needs to handle. The Waze app allows drivers to add notes about streets, traffic, etc. so it's highly likely motorists are being warned about the steep grade but choosing to take their chances anyway.

I'm not sure where the city wants to go with this, but that hasn't stopped it from tasking its attorney from trying to find some way to punish Google for city's long-running congestion problems. Google isn't part of the city government, isn't asked to participate in city planning efforts, cannot control access to the city's streets, and has no way of forcing drivers to take only certain routes. This is all stuff only the city can address, and it's decided to make it someone else's problem.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 8:56am

    'Are you lying to us, or are you lying to the public?'

    "This means that our map reflects any measures taken by local agencies to protect their citizens—for example, blocking off a steep road, or implementing turn restrictions. Should the local agency decide to restrict Baxter Street, this change will be taken into account when routing drivers through the Los Angeles area."

    Seems to me the answer to this would be simple: the government makes it clear that the road is unsafe under certain conditions(something they apparently aren't interested in doing) and the app will change to reflect this.

    As it stands they seem to be wanting to have it both ways, refusing to make that statement telling the public that the road is unsafe, while expecting Google to assume it is.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 9:27am

    While some requests seem exaggerated I do think Google could help in specific cases like this. I mean, 32% grade with such narrow crown is what I would call an exception. And I live at the top of a hill where loaded cars with more than 100hp fail to climb. In my example the traffic authority already forbids heavy vehicles there.

    The point is, while I do think the city govt must adopt reasonable measures like restricting traffic during rainy days and put boards in place warning drivers of the danger Google could apply restrictions to avoid taking people unfamiliar with the area through the street. The street was built before there were rules in place that would have restricted such mind boggling grade and that crown I've read. But no seriously, when you see stuff like

    https://www.theeastsiderla.com/2009/03/baxter-street-bus-stop/

    You simply have to agree that Google could restrict that route to protect their users. The city shouldn't pursue any legal mechanism or lawsuit against Google but me as an user would like to see Google be more proactive when dangerous cases like this are brought to their attention. At the very least a permanent warning. (Then again maybe they already have those in place and the city is just being whinny).

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2018 @ 11:10am

      Re:

      but me as an user would like to see Google be more proactive when dangerous cases like this are brought to their attention

      But that is the reasoning that landed YouTube with an automated system for DMCA handling. Has the mess of the DMCA not taught you that extra legal measures will always be abused.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 25 Apr 2018 @ 4:21am

        Re: Re:

        Apples to oranges. It's not automated. It's just that if something dangerous goes public and reaches Google (as it did reach) they have no obligation of doing anything but they could apply restrictions for safety purposes. It's not some ethereal copyright dispute, it's a real safety hazard. In the example of my street I don't think it's worth the effort because there are very few accidents there related to the grade or something.

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    • icon
      crade (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 11:24am

      Re:

      If Google had the grade information available (unsure) they could certainly allow users to enter a restriction, and/or even default to one. If they don't happen to have this info that isn't really an option.

      They most certainly don't have any responsibility to do it though.. The City is the one who gets to decide if the road is safe for people to use; Google is just the messenger.

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      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 25 Apr 2018 @ 4:18am

        Re: Re:

        That's what I mean. If there's a widely known issue then why not incorporate into the app to protect the users?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2018 @ 2:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Google can't really do anything here, though.
          Can you imagine the furore if they decided that some other major thoughfare in LA were too riddled with potholes to be driven safely, and routed all the traffic through the local 'burbs?
          The city would go nuts again and demand that Google not make decisions about roadways, and that it's the city's responsibility to make that call.
          And it is the city's responsibility to make that call. And Google have said that if the city make that call, they're happy to have their app respond to it.
          Users make notes on the system, and the app can display those, but it's simply not Google's call to decide the driveability of roadways.

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    • icon
      David (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 1:32pm

      Re: It's software, do it over the weekend.

      And yet again the programmers will be handling millions of requests to change a particular street, or in a particular direction or under certain weather conditions.

      Sorry, you just ruined the concept and the implementation of the app.

      The city can (yet has not) signed the street 'For Local Use' and therein lies the problem. Their reaction to their problem is to have Google/Waze fix it, like a gfixit.

      Sign the street. Waze will adjust automatically, with no special cases.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 25 Apr 2018 @ 4:26am

        Re: Re: It's software, do it over the weekend.

        It's not certain conditions. It's adding a restriction or at least warnings on places that register a lot of accidents. I agree that the city/state/whoever in the govt are the ones that should work to fix it via engineering or better signaling of said dangers if it can't be fixed but I guess I wasn't clear when I said that Google could help its users by placing warnings or avoiding such accident hotspots. Not because someone sued or because it's a law (I hope they don't get this funny idea of making it into law) but because they want the users to be safe.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2018 @ 1:45pm

      Re:

      Forgive me if I did not read the article clearly but, it seems to me that the City made a request of Google and Google informed them how to see that request fulfilled.

      It seems they literally said 'Our app will adapt to steps you guys take to protect your citizens. So take steps to protect your citizens, and our app will reflect that.'

      The city then turning around and complaining that isn't acceptable, in this context, seems to me like sheer lazy delegation. It seems the city are the ones who should be proactive when dangerous cases like this are brought to their attention, rather than becoming indignant when told by the people they are blaming that everything is based on the city's actions and policies.

      Based on the context I can see in this article on the situation, the city is shirking responsibility. A responsibility that is much more theirs to bear than google.

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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 9:49am

    Not on my street!

    The problem is, people are already clamoring for the ability to keep Waze from routing down their street. Not just this one hill - I have been reading articles for a couple years now with residents frustrated at increased traffic on side streets.
    Waze's position is "Use all the streets." But they *do* have a process in place - so the councilman David Ryu is not being very honest.

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    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 11:04am

      Re: Not on my street!

      Yeah, some places especially are about not wanting others in their area.

      There's one street near a large university in my state that has a 'no outlet' sign to prevent people from driving back there. Only one major problem... it's not no outlet, the sign is a complete lie by NIMBY's to keep college students and college commuters off their street.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re: Not on my street!

        > Only one major problem... it's not no outlet, the sign is
        > a complete lie by NIMBY's to keep college students and
        > college commuters off their street.

        The people who live up near the Hollywood sign are infamous for doing stuff like this. They put up fake road signs and barriers all the time to keep the tourists away. The put up saw horses with "Road Closed for Construction" signs across the street when there is no construction at all.

        To a certain extent, I'm sympathetic about how the hordes of tourists-- empowered by smart phone map apps-- have upended their quiet neighborhoods, but at the same time I have to say, hey, you moved right next to one of the most recognizable and iconic landmarks in the world. Tourists are part of that package. It's not like you didn't know what it was when you moved in.

        Same with the ultra-rich folks in Malibu. The law in California is that there's no such thing as a private beach. With the exception of some military and government property, from the Mexico border to the Oregon border, every inch of the coastline is public land and the public can't legally be blocked from access.

        But a guy who pays $20 million for a Malibu beach house likes to believe he bought the beach, too, and they're notorious for having private security run people off, claiming it's private property. To that end, they've developed all sorts of strategies for discouraging parking along Pacific Coast Highway, which is the only road that services most of Malibu's coastline. The homeowners post fake "No Parking" signs and even go so far as to construct pretend driveways and fake garage door facades to eliminate the availability of street parking spots.

        Incidentally, Malibu used to be one solid wall of beach houses stretching for miles, with each house's property wall blending in with the next so there was literally no way to access the beach from the road unless you were a homeowner. Back in the 80s, someone sued, claiming it was an illegal restriction on public property access and the state Supreme Court ordered that the city had to provide intermittent public access points to the beach at regular intervals along PCH, so a bunch of rich people had sidewalk-sized sections of the property condemned and confiscated to construct these cut-throughs to the beach. Boy were they pissed.

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    • identicon
      Paul Brinker, 24 Apr 2018 @ 11:24am

      Re: Not on my street!

      This is not always a dumb idea. Roads are built for specific capacity. You have a main road in rush hour thats packed, so people are routed via back roads.

      Now not all back roads are equal. Some squeeze to one lane with street parking, others have a very bad peek that cant be fixed, others have a dip that causes damage to anyone in a tow configuration.

      The app does not account for any of this at all, if the fastest way to get someplace is via a 32% grade, who am I to argue with the app? So when I get high centered at the top of the hill, or my car cant get to the top at all, I want to blame someone else (the app or the city) ignoring physics and my own brain.

      City engineers need the ability to work with Google to fix this stupid stuff. They need the ability to route traffic around an accident, block roads not built for capacity, or mark roads with hazards AND ask the damm app to actully take those into account.

      But this is not a legal issue, it should be an outreach issue from Google to the Transportation engineers working for the city.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2018 @ 11:43am

        Re: Re: Not on my street!

        But this is not a legal issue, it should be an outreach issue from the Transportation engineers working for the city to Google.

        FTFY

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2018 @ 1:52pm

        Re: Re: Not on my street!

        "City engineers need the ability to work with Google to fix this stupid stuff. They need the ability to route traffic around an accident, block roads not built for capacity, or mark roads with hazards AND ask the damm app to actully take those into account."

        Forgive me if I am mistaken, but didn't Google basically say if you fix your stupid stuff (to use your own words) our app will reflect this?

        It seems to me, reading the article, that the issue is the City would rather harass this app maker than take steps to correct the problem locally.

        And I don't mean major construction projects or constructing new roads or anything, I mean making pro-active local restrictions or designations to account for this change of citizen behavior based on a third party tool. To be honest, with how dangerous this road sounds, it seems this is something that should have been addressed sooner.

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        • icon
          btr1701 (profile), 25 Apr 2018 @ 10:30am

          Re: Re: Re: Not on my street!

          > To be honest, with how dangerous this road sounds, it
          > seems this is something that should have been addressed
          > sooner.

          After reading through this thread yesterday, I decided to stop by this Baxter Street hill on my way home from work and check it out for myself. Wow. The Google Street View pics don't do it justice. I've never encountered a hill/crown like that in my 35 years of driving.

          Cresting the top of the hill, it's like going over the first drop of a rollercoaster. The road seems to just disappear in front of you. You can't see anything over your hood except open air. It's actually kinda scary. You just have to nudge the gas and take a leap of faith.

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    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 12:01pm

      Re: Not on my street!

      > The problem is, people are already clamoring for the
      > ability to keep Waze from routing down their street.

      Not just streets. Entire towns are banning Wazers. Here's one in New Jersey that made pass-through traffic illegal in the entire town.

      https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/04/the-small-town-that-took-on-waze/558215/

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      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 12:22pm

        Re: Re: Not on my street!

        That works until the folks next-door do the same thing.

        October 2009:

        The mayor of the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, faced with an overcrowded highway D909 through town, "solved" the problem recently by making the street one-way, sending traffic speedily into the adjacent town of Clichy-la-Garenne. That city's mayor (a political rival of the Levallois-Perret mayor) reacted by making his portion of D909 one-way back toward Levallois-Perret, creating a dilemma at the city limit. Other authorities are working to resolve the impasse.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2018 @ 12:44pm

      Re: Not on my street!

      The problem is, people are already clamoring for the ability to keep Waze from routing down their street.

      But how would they react if their favorite shortcut is blocked off?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 25 Apr 2018 @ 7:57pm

      Re: Not on my street!

      If Waze won't route down the street, then it won't be able to give directions to destinations - or from starting points - which are on that street.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 24 Apr 2018 @ 11:15am

    How about one way and a drop in the speed limit?

    To give a pre-internet example:
    Baxter street is shown without any special marks on my street atlas. I'm supposed, as the map's publisher, to be responsible to mark this street as crazy? What about all the other mapmakers?

    I think the city should just make the street one way, or dead end the middle, or drop the speed limit to about 15 mph...and then enforce it consistently. That should drop the traffic significantly.

    I've always wondered why the electric signs on my local mountain don't drop the speed limit in the fog....or rain.

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    • identicon
      Paul Brinker, 24 Apr 2018 @ 11:29am

      Re: How about one way and a drop in the speed limit?

      In the old days one would use a topographical map to figure out that the road is descending 1000 feet far faster then normal. As a map maker I could easily figure out that holy shit this road is not built to modern codes and I should mark it as something special.

      This is done all the time in other places, Hawaii marks gravel roads and lava flows and all other kinds of hazards. %6 grads are markets on trucking maps for many passes.

      Again, this is not a new thing, its people taking short cuts.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2018 @ 11:22am

    what about...

    "responsibility for the traffic problems their app creates or the concerns of residents and City officials."

    what about the problems their lack of planning and funding of roads have caused? Why should Waze be liable and not the fucking clowns causing the damage that Waze is just trying to route people around?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dan (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 11:47am

    The easiest solution is not a technical one

    Seems to me, the easiest solution is for the city to make Baxter Street one way going uphill. Drivers won't have to deal with gravity to maintain control. The apps will update themselves with the change.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 11:55am

      Re: The easiest solution is not a technical one

      Unless I'm missing something obvious the city has a number of ways they could address this, the 'problem' is that it would require them to admit that the streets they are responsible for can be unsafe.

      Since that just won't do they are instead blaming Google for assuming that because the city government isn't willing to say a street is dangerous that means it's safe.

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      • icon
        Dan (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 12:24pm

        Re: Re: The easiest solution is not a technical one

        As an additional note, I can see where a city might say that an app has made congestion worse. But it's all about perception for those side streets, not even close to an actual analysis of overall traffic flow, pre and post app. By their very function, nav apps distribute traffic more evenly over more routes to achieve the best travel times. That being the case, streets once not traveled so often fill up a bit, and [in theory] the traffic on the main through-ways is lessened. But of course, not everybody is using the apps to get around, so there's that.

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  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 11:51am

    L.A. Traffic

    > The city's government believes the traffic/mapping app
    > has made Los Angeles' congestion worse.

    The city council has got a lot of damned nerve accusing some software company of making the traffic worse in this town when *they* are the ones actively making it worse. Intentionally so.

    The mayor and the council have embarked on this insane plan to create "road diets" on most all of the major surface streets in Los Angeles, which is just bureaucratese for blocking off and taking away traffic lanes. Reducing 4 and 5-lane boulevards down to three or two lanes.

    Supposedly this is for pedestrian "safety", but a couple of these bastards were caught on an open mike discussing the real reason for it: They don't like the suburban commuter lifestyle and people stubbornly insisting on using their freedom to drive their cars, so they're intentionally making traffic as unbearable as possible so we'll finally say to hell with it and use their buses and trains to get around instead.

    Figueroa Street downtown is currently undergoing one of these "road diets". It used to be five full lanes wide and now it's down to two. That part of my commute used to take 5 minutes; 10 minutes if I was unlucky and caught all red lights. Now it takes me 45-50 minutes to traverse the 2.1 miles of Figueroa from the 110 freeway to 7th Street.

    And they have the fucking gall to blame Waze for the traffic problems?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2018 @ 12:06pm

      Re: L.A. Traffic

      Follow the money. Sure using public transportation would add benefit, but the idea is to make sure that public transportation is the "only" option... for tax revenue purposes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 12:34pm

        Re: Re: L.A. Traffic

        A local talk radio team did just that-- followed the money. And it turns out this whole thing is being funded by some New York City hedge fund billionaire who's also an environmental zealot. He's pouring money into city programs (and city officials' election coffers) to do all this crap.

        Somehow it makes it even worse to know that my daily commute is being turned into a living hell by some elitist asshole from the other side of the country who doesn't even live here.

        The irony is that more people *would* ride the buses and trains if the city's other lefty-liberal lunatic policies didn't make doing so a nightmare.

        The buses and trains here are literally teeming with homeless bums who use them as their daily shelter. They lay all over the benches and seats sleeping, doing drugs, or drinking themselves into a stupor, the cars reek from their body odor and urine, and they spread cholera and hepatitis. That's when they're not begging you for money (in many cases aggressively demanding it), or relieving themselves in the corner. And, of course, many of them are also mentally ill and will unpredictably attack you for no reason.

        Then there's the gangs. Since many of these commuter routes go through places like Watts, Compton, and Inglewood, you can easily find yourself sharing a train car or a bus with a dozen Crips or Bloods, who have been known to rob entire cars en masse.

        And the city allows this to happen then wonders why no one normal wants to give up the pleasant environment and safety of their car to descend into that nightmare just to go to work and back every day?

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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 12:05pm

    Residents of Baxter Street want even more -- for it to be erased from Google's map.

    And what an interesting precedent that would make!

    The world is full of homes that are hit repeatedly. By drivers who lose control when going over railroad tracks (11 times and counting). Or who take a curve too fast (3 times in 6 months).

    I've seen plenty of similar stories. There would be plenty of gaps in the maps, some on main routes.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2018 @ 12:08pm

    Perhaps there should be a right to be un-mapped?

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  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 12:56pm

    Guess I should not bring up the GPS I used when I was a field tech, one that wanted me to drive through a lake and on a one way dirt road during a showy day over a mountain because of an overturned truck. I chose to wait.If people can't see that a hill can be dangerous they can easily have waze map around it by simply stating the road is closed. These people would never be able to drive in the back woods of Maine, that is for sure.

    As for it being MORE dangerous, are these people sure that the drivers would have not gotten into an accident had they taken their time in the traffic they were in rather than rushing around neighborhoods at higher rates of speed than posted most likely? Has the city tried putting police on the roads to clock people? Seriously, take some responsibility for the city you work for you ignorant poop hole. (The select man complaining, not Google.)

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  • identicon
    jim st, 24 Apr 2018 @ 1:13pm

    willing to engage

    Google, youtube, facebook and all of these entities are acting like monolithic unresponsive, zero customer engagement monsters.

    I have gone on road races thru the countryside in Austin, Tx, and Nashville following waze / google maps guidance.

    There is a demand here for this feature. The discussion should be why don't they respond to that, not whether it is hard to install or modify their function.

    This street is clearly dangerous for the general traffic flow, as is one in Laguna Beach, which I know of which is similarly steep and hazardous.

    Would you think it would be okay to run traffic down Lombard street in San Francisco, for instance and have no feature to remove that if there were complaints?

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    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 1:22pm

      Re: willing to engage

      The discussion should be why don't they respond to that

      As the story states, they did respond, and quite reasonably.

      If the street is "clearly dangerous" as you say, then why doesn't the city itself treat it as such?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2018 @ 8:08am

      Re: willing to engage

      Would you think it would be okay to run traffic down Lombard street in San Francisco, for instance and have no feature to remove that if there were complaints?

      Google isn't "running traffic", they're giving people information. If someone asks me for directions I have the right to tell them Lombard is the best way to go, whether it's true or not.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2018 @ 1:43pm

    It seems to me that the problem is the city want Google to mark the street as dangerous, but will not enter that infomation in the databases that Google uses. Are they scared that if they mark it in their own database that some lawyer will sue the city over an accident because they did not remediate the cause of the danger.

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    • identicon
      Bruce C., 24 Apr 2018 @ 2:15pm

      Dangerous street

      They don't even have to mark it as dangerous. Just designate it as "No Through Traffic".

      I respect Google for taking this stance. The map reflects the real conditions in the map and metadata. There are so many pressures on them to change the version of reality that they display (the "right to be forgotten" is another example).

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2018 @ 8:50am

        Re: Dangerous street

        They don't even have to mark it as dangerous. Just designate it as "No Through Traffic".

        In general, American traffic engineers don't like to spell "through" correctly.

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  • identicon
    peter, 24 Apr 2018 @ 2:51pm

    A rich source of revenue

    So can I assume purveyors of (paper) street maps specifically have these steep hill / dangerous / do not use warnings?

    And that other navigation apps (Apple, Tomtom etc) have already built in these algorithms at the request of the City?

    No? Wonder why?

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  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 4:55pm

    People who live in glass houses...

    I did not know it was possible to sue because traffic problems have not been solved. It never occurred to me.

    So, those LA lawmakers: shouldn't we sue them for their long-running failure to solve Los Angeles traffic problems? They've been failing a lot longer than Google has been causing any problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2018 @ 5:12pm

    California Attitude Problem

    While California leads the way in some places it has some major entitlement problems with routing. Like the residents near the Hollywood sign spoofing the location of it to an observatory that can look at it from a distance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 25 Apr 2018 @ 10:42am

      Re: California Attitude Problem

      Yeah, I forgot about that. Google has already caved to local pressure regarding the Hollywood Sign.

      As you note, if you search for "Hollywood Sign" and hit "Get Directions", the app takes you to the Griffith Observatory several miles away from the sign. It used to take you up Deronda Drive, which dead ends right below the sign and makes for a fantastic souvenir photo. It's also an extremely narrow residential street with no parking, so there are legitimate problems with hordes of tourists showing up. Google acquiesced to requests from both the city and the neighborhood residents to re-direct traffic elsewhere.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 24 Apr 2018 @ 5:40pm

    "The solution to this problem is just to have Google nerd harder."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2018 @ 6:26pm

    Blame Google! Yes, yes, YES! Stroke my common law!

    Eat it, Masnick! Soon you won't be allowed to talk about Prenda Law anymore! I bet this site won't be online by 2019, OR I'm sawing my own dick off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      christenson, 24 Apr 2018 @ 8:04pm

      Re: Blame Google! Yes, yes, YES! Stroke my common law!

      You must enjoy sawing your own dick off! Prenda isn't suing anyone anymore.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ArkieGuy (profile), 25 Apr 2018 @ 7:45am

    Slippery Slope

    It's a slippery slope when you allow locals to exclude "neighborhood" roads from maps (as the people on that street apparently have already requested). I know a LOT of people that would love to make their roads "locals only".

    As Google stated, if you don't want people to drive down that road, close it or restrict it in some LEGAL manor, don't hide it on the map.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 25 Apr 2018 @ 10:44am

      Re: Slippery Slope

      > I know a LOT of people that would love to make their
      > roads "locals only".

      My general attitude toward this is, if you want to live in a gated community, pony up the dough and move to one. But you don't get to treat the public roads, that I helped pay for with my taxes, as your private property.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2018 @ 9:57am

    Get a passive GPS

    I can no longer trust Surveillance-As-A-Service companies like Waze to route me via the shortest route, so I use a passive GPS system with open source maps instead.

    openstreetmap.org

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2018 @ 7:48pm

    Waze sounds like SimCity 4's default pathing algorithm. Put simply, SC4's engine would look for the shortest route... which was not necessarily the fastest or best route. The faster/better routes might have a higher speed limit, or fewer intersections, for example. This sort of situation seems to be why traffic keeps clogging up my area, despite the fact that the only way in and out of the area is the exact road they just pulled out of! Turn off the main road to the backstreet, go two blocks and then you have to turn back onto the main road.

    Comparisions aside, programmers and companies have an obligation be ethical about what their software does. If the company is made aware of a situation that is undeniable unsafe, they should take steps to fix it. It wasn't that long ago that Google sent people looking for the Blue Mountains in Australia were sent to a dead end kilometres away from the real thing. Like this, Google has been made of an unsafe situation. For the safety of its users, Google should act to remedy it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 25 Apr 2018 @ 8:06pm

      Re:

      Waze actually has two routing options: shortest, or fastest. Either can take you via routes which may be undesirable for other reasons.

      Myself, I want a third: best fuel economy. (Faster speeds generally mean worse fuel economy, but more stop-and-go traffic also means worse fuel economy, so there's a trade-off between lower speeds and fewer traffic lights - and of course greater distances mean more fuel consumed, so there's a trade-off between both of those things and shorter distances.) My car's built-in nav system has that, where Waze doesn't - but it also requires paid-for map updates, and the difference just isn't worth the price to me.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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