There’s a bit of a problem with the Waze navigation app, L.A. official claims

Community-driven navigation app Waze may be a great tool for finding your way and avoiding traffic jams, but a Los Angeles official claims it’s also causing serious traffic issues in the city.

Councilmember David Ryu points to the situation in his own area, L.A. City Council District 4, which he believes has worsened because the app’s algorithm is sending drivers along streets that aren’t designed to take so many vehicles. He says the neighborhood has become overrun with rush-hour traffic, with one narrow street built for local use taking 679 vehicles an hour, leading to a number of accidents.

Ryu claims the problem is so bad that he’s written to the city attorney suggesting its office considers taking legal action against the Google-owned company.

“Waze has upended our city’s traffic plans, residential neighborhoods, and public safety for far too long,” Ryu said in a release posted on Tuesday. “Their responses have been inadequate and their solutions nonexistent. They say the crises of congestion they cause is the price for innovation — I say that’s a false choice.”

“If we do nothing, Waze will lead us on a race to the bottom — where traffic plans are ignored and every street is gridlocked,” the councilmember said.

The official insists he’s made “numerous attempts” to resolve the issue with Waze, but concludes, “It has become clear that any and all legal options should be considered.”

Another L.A. councilmember, Paul Krekorian, recently made similar complaints about navigation apps disrupting quiet neighborhoods, telling the L.A. Times, “The use of apps to save 90 seconds of travel time not only is destroying the qualify of life in neighborhoods all over, but also endangering public safety.”

Waze is yet to offer any official response to Ryu’s claims, but insisted to the L.A. Times that it’s helping cities to address “their toughest transportation challenges” by working to ease congestion on their busiest roads.

But the problem, it seems, is not a recent development. A GQ analysis a couple of years back, while praising Waze as “an amazing navigation app,” pointed out that it “doesn’t seem to care if the street it’s sending people down is a huge boulevard or a tiny side street.” The report explains that with so many people turning to Waze to make their drive a little less stressful on L.A.’s congested roads, the way the algorithm creates routes really does matter.

“In a world where 1.7 million people are using Waze in Los Angeles each month, what you’re left with is countless people trying to take the same short cut. So suddenly, a quiet street is constantly full of drivers. Traffic’s not being avoided so much as it’s being moved to a collection of streets that were not designed for it.”

Emerging Tech

Elon Musk’s Boring Company wants to dig a tunnel to Dodger Stadium

Elon Musk's Boring Company wants to build a high-speed transportation tunnel connecting Dodger Stadium to a nearby Metro station. The system would run 150-mph passenger pods between the stadium and a terminus to the west.
Photography

From DIY to AAA, here’s how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.
Emerging Tech

6 flying cars that you might actually be able to own (and fly) in your lifetime

Just like cellphones used to be only for the rich, soon taking a personal flying machine to work is going to be a part of everyday life. Here are six pieces of tech making that possible.
Smart Home

Trulia enables homeseekers to know the neighborhood with a new app feature

Trulia Neighborhoods is taking a closer look at neighborhoods with a new digital experience, Trulia Neighborhoods, that aims to use multimedia to depict the local character of American communities.
Apple

New patent suggests multiuser support could one day come to Siri

A new patent suggests that a major improvement may be in the works for Apple's digital assistant. Nothing has been confirmed, but Apple may soon work on implementing multiuser support for Siri.
Wearables

Huawei could announce a trio of new smartwatches at IFA in late August

The Huawei Watch 3 may be a ways off from release, but that doesn't mean Huawei isn't working on what it could look like. A new patent from Huawei hints at a smartwatch with space to store a pair of true wireless earbuds.
Mobile

Apple aficionados, these cute pillows are made just for you

Created as "a cuddly tribute to the tech that changed our lives," these cute pillows will be hard to resist for diehard Apple fans. Each one features an iconic Apple product, including the first iMac and the game-changing iPod.
Mobile

iPad battery explosion prompts Apple Store evacuation in Amsterdam

An iPad battery exploded in an Apple Store over the weekend, causing breathing issues for staff members, and requiring the fire brigade and an ambulance to attend. The incident took place in Amsterdam.
Mobile

Airport’s low-tech solution to digital chaos involves the humble whiteboard

A U.K. airport has suffered a major computer error, caused by data connection problems, which has stopped flight boards from showing crucial passenger information. The solution is wonderfully low-tech.
Mobile

Free yourself! How to unlock a phone from the icy hands of your wireless carrier

Do you want to know how to unlock a phone through your carrier or a third-party service like DoctorSIM? Regardless of which way you want to go, we've compiled a list of requirements and methods for doing so.
Wearables

Part smartwatch, all fitness tracker, the Charge 3 is a blast from Fitbit’s past

Fitbit announced its next wearable: The Fitbit Charge 3. The new fitness tracker features a touchscreen OLED display, smartwatch capabilities, enhanced fitness features and more. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Wearables

Apple registers six models of Apple Watch Series 4 in European Union

Ready for an all new Apple Watch for 2018? It looks like Apple may be planning a complete redesign with improved health features. Here are all the details about the upcoming Apple Watch Series 4.
Mobile

Huawei P20 photos show bezel-less display with teardrop notch, triple camera module

Huawei is no stranger when it comes to big phones. And this year it plans to go even bigger with the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. Here's what we think we know about the new range.
Mobile

(Update: deal expired) The Essential Phone is on sale for a bargain price of $224

The Essential Phone (PH-1) was one of the best-reviewed phones of 2017, and it comes from Andy Rubin, the co-creator of Android itself. It has a striking design with a bezel-less display and the price is now down to $500.