Echo Park residents say navigation apps worsen Baxter Street problems

- There is traffic jammed in all four directions on Baxter Street and neighbors say it’s a hot mess when they drive up, then down an extremely steep hill.

“Baxter Street’s greatest hits. You know there’s like the semi that crashed into the street pole over over on that side,” resident Steve Taylor joked as he recalled different accidents on the steep hill. “There’s a Volkswagen that was flipped upside down.

Taylor said an oncoming car crashed into his car. Other incidents resulted in several of his neighbor’s properties being damaged.

“A couple of months ago, I had a car go right through my front yard. Take out this whole trail. Took out my fence. Took out a no parking sign,” said Mark Stuplin.

People said the issue wasn’t just annoying, it was dangerous.

“It’s like between 3:30 and 7 o’clock at night it’s like a mini 405,” said Daniel Ross whose yard had been hit by a car on two different occasions.

Residents blamed navigation apps that reroute drivers from busy streets in Echo Park during rush hours.

“It’s bumper to bumper,” Kathleen Whittaker tried to speak, but kept being interrupted by screeching tire sounds.

“And there’s an example of somebody trying to go around someone else. And this is just a failure of technology and the facts that waze is—“ horns honked.

The problem with traffic going through Baxter Street was that, on navigation apps, it does not state the steep hill. So drivers, many whom are unfamiliar with the neighborhood, speed through the route then are rattled by the steep hill and hilltop. When they arrive to the top, they come to complete stops hesitating going down.

“People don’t know what they’re in store for. The Waze app—It’s a straight line on the app but it doesn’t go straight up,” said Stuplin.

“Those apps—yes they’re great, but they don’t warm people about things like this,” Ross continued. “They worry about police are accidents are or a pothole.”

Drivers’ unpreparedness showed. Tired marks covered the concrete on the 35 percent grade hill.

The most reckless driving occurs at the top of the hill, according to Colleen Broomall who said she carries her dog down the hill so she doesn’t get hit.

“People will stop up there and start snap chatting or taking Instagram stories and pictures of how steep the hill is and the view.”

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell invited residents to his office to discuss the possibility of turning Baxter Street into a one-way or even a cul de sac.

But the flyer O’Farrell distributed didn’t mention neighbors had to RSVP, so many people who showed up to the meeting held at 5:30 p.m. were not able to attend.

 

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