People worry Waymo cars are parked in unsafe places in Scottsdale neighborhood

A Scottsdale man says Waymos are parking in the middle of the street or blocking trash cans and mailboxes.
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 9:00 PM MST
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Neighbors in one North Scottsdale neighborhood said they keep finding Waymo self-driving cars parked in places they feel are unsafe. The autonomous ride-share company started in Metro Phoenix a few years ago and has expanded to other cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Terry Pickering said Waymo cars have recently been parked throughout his Indian Bend Ranchos neighborhood. Sometimes, they’re blocking mailboxes or trash cans. But to him, the most alarming thing is that they’re parking in the middle of the street while they wait for someone to order the service. Pickering calls this situation an accident waiting to happen. “Why is your car parked on the center line of the street for hours if you are in so much control of your car?” he said.

He said he has called Waymo’s emergency line five times in the last month for five separate cars that were left in the center of the road. “They’re dismissive of it and not addressing it,” he said. “They move it out of the way, but only after I call them. They don’t know it’s there until I give them the license plate.”

He’s been told to stop calling and that he has to file a complaint online, which he has, but he says no one has gotten back to him. “This isn’t a complaint,” Pickering said. “This is a safety issue.”

Pickering doesn’t think the company should be using neighborhoods as parking lots. The autonomous ride-share cars first started to be tested in the Phoenix area in 2017 and expanded to Scottsdale in May. Waymo said it has a few hundred cars in the Valley across its 225 square mile service area. “I grew up in technology. I worked in technology. I have nothing against technology. I just feel like their process for addressing immediate issues with their cars is not refined and it’s problematic,” said Pickering.

He’s left wanting way more from Waymo. “I get their rules, but I don’t play by the rules and I’ll be calling them every time a car is in the way and I’ll use that number because they don’t have a better way,” he said.

Waymo told Arizona’s Family it will look into Pickering’s specific concerns further and released this statement:

Waymo said they use public parking spaces between trips instead of a Waymo facility to increase efficiency and decrease congestion. They say parking locally helps them better match supply and demand. The company identifies parking spaces by using publicly available information and following city curb restrictions.

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