Navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze have made rerouted traffic unbearable to residential neighborhoods, as thousands of city-bound motorists are now being rerouted each day through side streets as a turnpike shortcut for commuters into New York City from New Jersey.
“We've have had days when people can’t get out of their driveways,” Leonia’s police chief told The New York Times.
Just days after, Leonia police began issuing $200 fines to non-local drivers. The nearby town of Weehawken followed that enforcement tact, enacting rush-hour restrictions on a specific right turn in an effort to ease traffic to and from the Lincoln Tunnel.
Other small towns across the country have floated similar complaints about diverted drivers taking over local streets—a growing backlash against the so-called ‘Waze Craze.’
But the Leonia ordinance might be the most dramatic example of a town taking drastic measures to combat the effects of a disruptive mobility technology. It raises a host of thorny questions about the responsibilities of private companies when they impact public space, and how government can, and should, respond.
The ban’s effect on local small businesses? Revenue drops as high as 40 percent. In February, several shop owners marched on the mayor’s office to protest the road laws.