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The smartphone app called Waze has been helping more and more Los Angeles commuters find alternatives to grinding along at a snail's pace on busy freeways. That sounds great unless you live in a formerly quiet neighborhood of narrow streets now crowded with passing cars. Is it a real answer to heavy traffic or just making it worse in more places?

Also, why shutting down freeways may be the appropriate way to protest racist police and the balkanization of LA and other American cities.

Photo: Steve Bott

Producers:
Evan George
Benjamin Gottlieb

Is an App to Blame for Neighborhood Traffic Jams? 19 MIN, 28 SEC

There's a new voice in town, that of the smartphone app called Waze, which crowd-sources GPS signals from moving cars to guide drivers away from heavy traffic.  More and more LA commuters are devoted to Waze to find alternatives to busy freeways.  The downside is that narrow streets in some residential neighborhoods are now being turned into highways. That's according to Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association. His neighborhood abuts the 405 Freeway in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Guests:
Richard Close, Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association
Lesley Bargar Suter, Los Angeles magazine (@LesleyBS)
Julie Mossler, Waze (@waze)
Kajon Cermak, Board Operator & Traffic Queen, All Things Considered (@KajonKCRW)

More:
LA magazine on fed-up Westsiders, Valley-ites trying to bring down Waze

Why Are Freeways the Site of Protests? 7 MIN, 29 SEC

The non-indictments of white policemen who killed unarmed black men and boys have led to continuing protests across the country.  In California, that's taken the form of shutting down freeways. In LA and the Bay Area, Keith James and others have been bringing freeway traffic to a halt…long enough to create havoc for lots of commuters.  That sounds like insanity, but maybe there's a rationale for such madness.  That's according to Eric Avila, a professor of history, Chicano studies and urban planning at UCLA.  His latest book is The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist.

Guests:
Eric Avila, UCLA (@uclaurbnplnning)

More:
Avila on why shutting down the freeway was the perfect way to protest Ferguson

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