Waze app may be source of traffic woes

Waze app may be source of traffic woes

The navigation app Waze might be contributing to the flow of rush hour drivers cutting through Roslyn Estates, trustees said.

Waze is a turn-by-turn navigator that relies on user-submitted route details, often suggesting drivers go off major roadways to save time. 

For years, commuters have turned into the village to bypass traffic on major roads like Searingtown Road and Northern Boulevard, Mayor Jeffrey Schwartzberg said.

The trustees recently had signs installed near entrances to the village, prohibiting turns during rush hour. But still there have been drivers using the village as a shortcut, trustees said.

“We’ve actually had one case in particular where somebody  made the right turn in the morning when they weren’t supposed to,” Schwartzberg said at the Aug. 8 board meeting. “The cop stopped him, and their excuse was ‘Waze told me it was OK to do that.’”

Trustees said the app doesn’t acknowledge the new signs when creating routes for drivers, and they’re planning to contact the developers to have the village roads excluded during prohibited hours.

“It’s a quiet village, on a normal day you might see one car every 20 minutes,” Schwartzberg said. “All of a sudden you’re seeing 30 cars in a row. Something’s going on.”

Trustee Paul Peters said it’s not just Roslyn Estates, but a national problem residential communities are seeing due to a rise in the app’s popularity.

Trustee Rodney Khazzam said Waze isn’t the predominant reason for village traffic, but just rush hour driving habits.

“I think people are just cutting through the village. They’re following other people,” Khazzam said. “I see it. One person does it and goes their way, and other people are following them, like a trail of people.”

The village is installing two more signs to prevent outside traffic from coming into the village from Northern Boulevard during the evening rush hour.

“It doesn’t stop cars from coming into the village,” Schwartzberg said. “We’re just trying to make it a little more inconvenient, so that they say to their friends, don’t go in there or you’re going to get a ticket.”

Since the village had the signs placed, trustees asked police to monitor the turns for violations, and so far it has resulted in numerous rickets, Schwartzberg said.

The village also installed “no outlet’ signs to discourage drivers from using their roads as a cut-through. Schwartzberg said it may inconvenience residents of Roslyn Estates, but it’s a trade-off to solve the problem.

“It’s on a trial basis,” he said. “There’s no question in my mind that it’s helping. It’s not going to eliminate the problem, but it’s helping.”

by Chris Adams

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