Waze has turned the nearly undriveable, fifth-steepest hill in America into a disaster-strewn major thoroughfare

I didn’t read it as though Waze was to blame. I think helpful citizens are simply hoping Waze stops directing unsuspecting motorists into a situation with a higher risk factor. Seems like a reasonable request to me for a company that surely promotes safe driving.


Car culture wins again but I suppose thats just LA for you. How is it that this street wasn’t made one way up hill thirty years? Do cars really have more voting power in this country than people? Sure seems that way.


Oh boy, here I go again . . . Echo Park/Silver Lake is East Los Angeles only in the minds of the new residents that want it to have a cool sounding location. The problem is that East Los Angeles is a real place that is already a “cool” neighborhood and one filled by brown skinned people. It is also ten or so miles to the East.


Especially where those “main roads” were build by invoking eminent domain on poor and dark neighborhoods for the convenience of those living in those “light usage” streets while using the highways as barriers to separate them from the undesirables.

Just sayin’ – there are multiple sides to a story, and a lot of the issues with roads and urban planning have a long and sordid history fully of injustice. Marking routes as hazardous, especially when wet seems like a really good thing for Waze to do, but public roads are public roads payed for by everyone, and treating them as “private” only to be used by people who “belong here” is not something I expect to see from Cory except when it allows him to slam technologists for creating unintended consequences.

Its also not like Waze invented the short-cut through residential streets. They made it more popular and easier for new people to the area to find, but people have been complaining about this problem for decades.


I agree. Waze has sent me on Baxter street, and it is a doozy. There is a sort of crest that is so sharp it seems to scrape the chassis.
That said, it is reasonable that to reduce traffic in one place, you spread it around. And Waze does that.
I’m lucky in that the street where I live is not a good shortcut for anything, so I’m sympathetic, but as the poster said, it is a public street.


These are the map editing options. It seems like you can’t report hazards or anything like it. I would imagine people would abuse that kind of feature to keep people away from perfectly safe roads simply because they did not want the traffic.


I don’t know about that particular street, but as a regular Lyft user, I do know that Waze is a highly inefficient guidance system… even without any ‘human error’ on the part of the drivers.


Huffington Post is the opposite of a credible source, and the source they quote doesn’t list any streets outside of cities.

Canton Ave. and Dornbush streets in Pittsburg aren’t anomalies; PA and WV have plenty of rural roads with harsh inclines like that, because there’s a giant mountain range and the roads were cut before the invention of automobiles. Boot Jack Hill off, hmmm, Rt. 219, I think? comes to mind as a hill that you can’t take anything larger than a pickup truck down without melting the brakes.


Park a junker car in one of Google’s driveways. Fill with concrete. Write “Love, Baxter Street.” in the concrete dust in the window. Waze will miraculously stop sending people there.

The red light cameras do not hold up in court and have been abandoned by the City of L.A. Culver City still has them.

Councilman O’Farrell is pretty good on road safety issues (Edit: Although…). They could install roundabouts or speed bumps but those can delay emergency vehicles, especially the big fire trucks.

I’m a very experienced driver on L.A. streets, with numerous friends and family members who’ve lived in and around the hills that divide the city, have traveled by car across the U.S. several times and driven in several other countries. Cory may have understated it: even in a new, small car with wide tires, great brakes and downshifting, this hill is absolutely terrifying. It makes most of SF feel like salt flats.


Looks like a fun ride.


This is why I quit using Waze. It would have me driving saw-toothed routes through Los Angeles, turning at every corner. It’s stress and work, not worth a short time savings.
Google map’s drive is a little better but still wants you to frequently make left turns (or cross) against heavy cross traffic which is stressful and more work than it’s worth to save a little time.


Don’t know how it compares to Baxter, but here is a hill from the town I grew up in. I had two occasions when I had to stop on the way up; when attempting to restart, fully engaged clutch ( two different cars) with engine turning would not move either car. Had to back down . The high school is at the top of the hill, so it gets a lot of traffic. Snow and ice in the winter, for added fun.


You might be uncomfortable, but the car you are describing shouldn’t be anywhere near it’s limits on a street like that.


Not in a straight line anyway. It is a delightfully non-intuitive fact* that the cheapest way to improve a car’s performance around a track is often to upgrade its brakes. I suppose the idea is that you can start braking later before a turn?

*I learned this from television, I have never driven a car around a track. Take with a spoonful of salt.


So what’s the grade of that road? People in cars literally can’t stop at times even with the brake pedal floored on Baxter because it is so steep. A box truck, forget about it. So let’s hear some numbers. Rise and run is an easy calc.

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Huffington Post cribbed it from here:


The list of “ESources” does not appear to be a dataset large enough to determine definitively “Top 10 Steepest Streets in America”. It’s basically just another bunch of other not well-sourced lists.


That still places the impetus for change on Waze. Resolving the road safety issue seems to me a solution that not only would resolve the problems create by Waze but for everyone with the misfortune of traveling the unsafe road.

That’s not exactly it. Any car you can buy has brakes strong enough to lock the rotors, at least until ABS kicks in and reduces braking force to allow the wheels to keep rotating so you retain control and maximum deceleration. The limit to deceleration is simply tire grip.

The reason you upgrade brakes on performance cars is that after a couple of hard stops in fast succession, they heat up and loose effectiveness aka “brake fade”. Is the same reason that trucks need to use engine braking on long downhill runs – otherwise the brakes would overhead. High performance brakes actually work less well cold (not that it makes a difference), but can operate at higher temperatures. So if you are on a race track with “regular” brakes, you need to go easy on your brakes to avoid overheating them, and that means going slower so you don’t have to brake as hard.


Yeah, I didn’t mean that this was a waze only issue. The city should get involved for sure, maybe even the insurance companies paying for the accidents need to force the city to do something?

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It’s in the article: “The Times has reported that Baxter ranks as the third-steepest street in Los Angeles with a 32% grade, behind 28th Street in San Pedro (33.3%) and Eldred Street in Mount Washington (33%).”
Steep, at 33%, but around where I live in the west of England, there are many 1:4/25% gradient hills, quite a few in the city of Bath, and many more in the more mountainous areas of Britain. Part of the problem may be that most American drivers use auto boxes, whereas over here most have tended to use a manual box, and that, combined with a Diesel engine gives pretty efficient engine braking, but even petrol engines give that, when shifted into a low gear, in fact it’s quite common to see road signs advising drivers to use low gear, to avoid using brakes. It’s something I’ve done as long as I’ve been driving, over forty years, a 33% gradient wouldn’t bother me, especially as it’s almost dead straight.

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