Residents demand changes to steep Echo Park street used in navigation apps

ECHO PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- One after another, drivers were sent over one of the steepest streets in the city.

"I was Googling and it gave me the option of a shortcut so it took me up this ramp and that's how I ended up here. I couldn't believe it was a road," Uber driver Juan Ramirez said.

Navigation apps such as Waze are turning the treacherous street into a traffic shortcut. Footage from the ABC7 drone captured the steepness of the road. It's a 25 percent grade on one side of Baxter Street in Echo Park and 35 percent on the other.

Residents said it's putting drivers and everyone living on the street at risk. Cars lose control or get stuck at the top.

"The danger of having drivers come up and decide, 'I didn't know what I was in for' and have no options - it truly is a blind hill," resident Amanda Carlin said.

Councilman Mitch O'Farrell held a community meeting Wednesday night, with L.A. DOT officials proposing several options, including turn restrictions or turning Baxter Street into a one-way road.

"I think there is hope for a solution. I think maybe the one-way might be the way to go. All the left turns and right turns is too many for the neighborhood. I don't think it's going to work," resident Robbie Adams said.

As the council considers a motion to work with app makers, others are calling on the city to take legal action against the companies.

"We have to hold these Silicon Valley guys accountable. They're creating this technology, but not taking responsibility for the effect it has on the community," Melissa Jaeger said.
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