City of Fremont says traffic apps cluttering side streets

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of Fremont is trying to beat traffic apps that cut people across the city during rush hour commutes.

RELATED: Live traffic maps

Waze and other apps have pushed drivers onto residential streets causing traffic nightmares for local residents who are used to the peace and quiet around their homes. The city is trying to outsmart the apps by actually making residential streets a slower option instead of a shortcut. They're even issuing tickets.

Noe Veloso with Fremont's Department of Public Works is trying to keep commuter traffic where city planners intended -- on the freeways. "Some of the navigation applications are smarter than we are, so they adapted," he said. "When we did a left turn restriction they directed people to go straight and into another neighborhood."

A Waze spokesperson says the city is chasing the moving target of an algorithm. "The algorithm alternates which roads are used and is smarter than just selecting one road as a solution for all," the spokesperson said.

"It does kind of give you all those tricks, which is why I love it," said Fremont resident Michelle Motoyoshi. "But I guess I can see it causing problems."

A shortcut on Starr Street to Interstate 680 snarled traffic for residents leading to complaints with the city.

"It was also hard for us to like, get down Starr Street because there were like, so many cars," said Fremont resident Tanvi Kapse.

Now new turn restrictions make it a less desirable route for Waze users.

"After a while they stopped doing it, so now there's like barely any traffic so now it's easier for us to go," Kapse added.

Traffic re-routes seem to be working, but it's only a temporary solution.

"If the economy continues to do well I only see it getting worse and worse," Veloso told ABC7 News, as he believes affordable housing near work is the only way to truly cut traffic.

Waze has released the following statement:

Waze finds open stretches of road and spreads cars across the grid of public streets, helping not only to alleviate congestion but promote a safer drive, as bumper to bumper traffic often means a greater risk of accidents and unsafe driving behavior. By diverting traffic from the most congested bottlenecks in the city, Waze helps to reduce traffic across the city for all road users, and local citizens who do not use the app often still reap the benefits.The algorithm alternates which roads are used and is smarter than just selecting one road as a solution for all.

With or without Waze, drivers look for alternatives to major thoroughfares. This is a municipal issue; if traffic is pushing to smaller roads because it simply has nowhere to go, solutions like stop signs, speed bumps and school zones need to be utilized.
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