Environment

Google’s Waze App Blocks Wildfire Escape Route for Residents Living in the Los Gatos Hills and Historic Neighborhoods

LOS GATOS, Calif., Sept. 6, 2019 /Los Gatos Historical Society/ — The Los Gatos Historical Society, which is an advocate for quality of life in Los Gatos historical neighborhoods, today announced a campaign to assist the town’s staff in raising visibility with the federal and state government, with Google investors, and with Google executives to bring an end to the life-threatening situation caused by Waze algorithms.

In the aftermath of the Paradise fire, which killed 85 people in the worst wildfire disaster in the state’s history, towns across California are re-evaluating their wildfire risk factor and their wildfire escape routes.

The town of Los Gatos, according to a recent wildfire assessment report published by USA Today, scores a higher wildfire hazard risk than that of Paradise. Contributing to this higher risk factor is the single escape route for Los Gatos residents living in the urban-wildlife zone and in the Glenridge and Almond Grove historic neighborhoods.

The Google Waze app has choked off this single escape route by sending thousands of weekend beach-going drivers through these historic neighborhoods. In the event of a medical emergency or wildfire, these residents are literally trapped. With their single escape route blocked by Waze-routed traffic, these residents are living a death sentence imposed by Google.

In the event of a wildfire, which is a common occurrence in the Santa Cruz mountains each summer, the death toll could be far higher than what recently happened in Paradise.

Google has been notified multiple times of this life-threatening risk but has chosen to ignore the red flags with little regard for human lives at risk from wildfires.

Congress has set up a special committee to investigate wildfire risk. That committee has been alerted to this public safety hazard knowingly caused by Google and will be factoring this into their investigation.

Wildfires are a serious threat to the residents of Los Gatos, said Jeff Siegel, President of the Los Gatos Historical Society. “Google’s Waze algorithms have created a life-threatening situation for our many residents who live in the urban wildlife urban zone of historic Los Gatos by blocking fire evacuation routes created by the regional Fire agency. Google’s indifference to the outcome of their algorithms reveals a corporate arrogance and disregard for human life not unlike what we saw from PG&E leading up to the Paradise inferno.”

About Los Gatos Historical Society:

The Los Gatos Historical Society is driven by a single goal; to preserve and improve the quality of life for the residents of our historic neighborhoods. We celebrate and support the preservation of the historic architecture and character of historic Los Gatos neighborhoods through informed citizen involvement and education. We are an advocacy organization that gives voice to the residents of our historical neighborhoods by working to preserve a quality of life that has endured for well over a century, and by cultivating the vital link between historic preservation and economic vitality.

SOURCE Los Gatos Historical Society


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