Canyon Country Store, ca. 1970. The Laurel Canyon Lizard King, Jim Morrison himself, lived right near the store with his girlfriend Pamela Courson in a cozy 3 bedroom bungalow built in 1922 on Rothdell Trail. Morrison referenced their pad in “Love Street” and the Canyon Country Store as, “the place where the creatures meet.”
Leon Sturman lives in Sherman Oaks, near the top of a hill that separates the San Fernando Valley from West Los Angeles. His is a narrow, winding street typical of the canyon neighborhoods that usually provide a haven from the buzz of urban life. It runs parallel to one of the most congested corridors in the country: the 405 freeway.
By 7 a.m., though, Sturman’s street begins to resemble that freeway.
“Take a look down the block,” he says one weekday morning. “How many cars are there? Thirty cars already just waiting as far as the eye can see.”
The gridlock is a recent phenomenon, says Preet Dhillon, who grew up on this street and lives next to Sturman. She attributes the backup to one factor in particular: Waze.
The GPS-enabled navigation app uses crowd-sourced traffic data from some 50 million users to find drivers the quickest possible route. It’s no surprise the idea has been embraced in traffic-choked cities like Los Angeles, which boasts almost 2 million users — the app’s biggest market in the U.S.