Ah, but there is a victim in all this. The people who live on that rinky-dink little side street, who now must live with a sudden influx of irate commuters tearing down their previously quiet street at inappropriately high speeds — or worse, filling it with just as much gridlock — as traffic-reporting map apps become widespread.
Now, imagine if instead of a rinky-dink little side street we're talking about a rinky-dink little side town. That's the very dilemma facing Leonia, N.J., which has had enough of New York City commuters laying siege to their community during rush hour. Sleepy, narrow suburban streets are being turned into what looks like highway on-ramps — one-way, single-file lines of cars inching forward. Attempts by residents of those streets to exit their driveways or inch away from the curb are met with the same angry contempt one might receive when butting onto the highway — except they're just trying to take their kids to the local school, not reach midtown Manhattan.
Well, Leonia has had enough and the city council has unanimously OK'd a measure that would ban non-resident cars during commuting hours (6-10 AM, 4-9 PM). Residents will be given yellow tags to hang from their mirror to avoid the $200 fine. The New York Times article that delves deeper into the traffic nightmares of Leonia and elsewhere, doesn't indicate how the town will deal with legitimate visitors during those hours. "Sorry Grandma, you can't come to dinner." Will there be town-wide guard gates to hand out visitor passes as in gated communities?
As expected, commuters aren't too pleased (snarky Internet commenters, yada, yada) and neighboring towns are worried that wiping Leonia off the digital map will put them in the crosshairs of similar town-wide gridlock. There's also the matter of a legal precedent set by a town restricting access to outsiders of any sort, regardless of the reason. Then there's the fact that the state has final authority on local roads.
We suggest reading the entire Times article. Might make you think a little before tearing down that rinky-dink little side street ... or town.