Favorite Traffic Shortcuts

Worst. Traffic. Ever. If Los Angeles had the Olympics again, navigating through the snarled roadways would be a premiere medal event. Everybody has their favorite little tricks and shortcuts. At the risk of ruining them, here are some of ours:

I have two. the first is a real shortcut, the second is just a reliable time saver:

1) When I need to get into Hollywood from Glendale or Pasadena, I take the 2 South and Exit Fletcher. I follow Fletcher down past Riverside to Glendale Blvd and turn left. The first light is Silver Lake Blvd, where I make a right. I follow Silver Lake all the way down to Beverly, which I follow all the way into Hollywood. I can make it from Pasadena to Arclight in 25 minutes this way, even during the worst of rush hour traffic. Map.

2) Whenever I have to come up the 110 to Pasadena, regardless of traffic, once I get North of the 10, I stay in the number 2 lane (second from the median) all the way up past Dodger Stadium. The “fast” lane will bog down with idiots waiting until the last 50 feet to merge onto the Northbound 5, and the slow lanes are just too congested with people getting on the freeway. Even when traffic is really bad, I usually make it from the 10 to the 5 in about 15 or 20 minutes by staying in that lane.

And we all know there’s something seriously wrong with Los Angeles when I’m excited about making it three miles in less than 30 minutes. Sigh.

When I drive from the westside on the 10 freeway and need to go to the eastside (and I mean beyond Silverlake – as in East L.A. or Monterey Park), instead of forking on the right, just before the convention center as instructed by the signs, I veer left to the 110 north, which takes you close to the downtown skyline. I stay on the inside exit lane and pick up the 10 again right after the 9th, 6th and 3rd street exits. This is the most direct route whereas if you followed the earlier signage, it detours you too far around. Of course this only works when there’s not a Dodger or Laker game going on.

I’m too far from the 110 to use the handy 110-105 connection so I almost never take freeways to the airport, opting for the much quicker (La Brea to) Stocker (to La Cienega to La Tijera) route. But my new-favorite N/S shortcut fillip (from K-town/Hancock Park, anyway) is to take Pico east to West Street, then cut south on West Street to Adams or Jefferson and take one of them east to La Brea. Not only do you miss the worst of the La Brea bottleneck that way (basically, Pico to the 10) but you get to sail OVER Venice on a bridge. Supercool! Map.

Cindy M.:
My five mile commute is relatively short. The best route I’ve found from Palms to Westwood is through Motor Ave and Beverly Glen Blvd. Lately, thanks to Cheviot Hills homeowners and construction on Santa Monica Blvd, the route isn’t too beneficial and most days will take me as long as the freeway. However, if you want to avoid the 405 and the western reaches of the 10 it’s still a good bet. I take Motor Ave north to Pico Blvd. From there I take Beverly Glen north past Wilshire and cut west through one the side streets (I prefer Comstock) until I find myself at Hilgard, the street that borders the eastern end of the UCLA campus. Sunset Blvd is easily accessible from Beverly Glen as well. Again, you won’t save much time in the mornings, but in the evenings it’s certainly better than the freeways. Map.

I couldn’t get through Hollywood on some days if I didn’t know about De Longpre. It runs east west, between Sunset and Fountain and when those two are jammed, it can be a godsend. Most days there’s no traffic on it! I also love Sepulveda when the 405 is jammed in the Sepulveda Pass. It can be your get out of jail free card on some afternoons. Map.

To get to the 101 from my house I need to take Sunset down to Silver Lake Blvd and then go east a few blocks to the freeway. Since Silver Lake goes under Sunset most people turn on Parkman for a block and then turn on Silver Lake. The problem is MOST people do this so Parkman is bumper to bumper for the entire block. The secret is to turn two blocks earlier on Vendome, it’s a more residential street but there’s no traffic and only 2 stop signs between you and Silver Lake Blvd. This sneak around shaves 5 minutes off my trip every time, and 10 if it’s during peak hours. Anyone who lives in the area and might consider using this route and messing up my secret please disregard it. Thanks. Map

Positively 6th Street. Everywhere I’ve lived in LA has either been a) nowhere near a freeway or b) right near a freeway that wasn’t going in the direction I was. For a while, my commute was Silverlake to Century City, which could take an up to an hour on rush hour surface street. Then I discovered 6th Street. Two lanes. Residential side streets that few folks turn onto. Left turn lanes. 6th Street just flies. And you get the extra Hancock Park action to speed you on your way, without the backups you get on Beverly or 3rd Street. Specifically, 6th Street from Western to La Brea, flies. When I started using that route, it cut my morning commute in half.

Now if only they’d build a freeway that went northeast-southwest. Map.

6 thoughts on “Favorite Traffic Shortcuts”

  1. I commute from Culver City to the Burbank area, and instead of risking traffic on the 10, my “secret street” is Adams. It flies like a dream, even during rush hour. When I want to get on the 110 N, instead of waiting in line to turn left onto Figueroa (as always, there’s no left-turn arrow), I take a left on Hoover — there’s never more than a few cars waiting to turn there and traffic is much less concentrated there. Then I go up a block to Washington, turn right, and turn left onto the freeway. It’s typically smooth sailing from there.

    There’s a shortcut from the 110 N to the 5 N that I’ve thought up but haven’t tried yet. When that left-hand lane to get onto the 5 is REALLY backed up, forget it, zoom on by and take the left-hand Figueroa exit that’s about a quarter-mile past that interchange. I don’t believe you can then turn left onto Figueroa, so you’d have to merge right onto it, hang a left at W. 26th Ave, a left on San Fern, right again onto Figueroa/Riverside (in the correct direction then), and then a few blocks to the 5 N ramp. I’m sure it’s probably quicker to just get in line on the 110 most of the time since this is a bit round-about, but it might be preferable when it’s really bad. And no, I don’t consider it “cutting in line” and creating more traffic — that lane backs up not from people getting on the 5 at Riverside/Figueroa, but from assholes squeezing in at the very last moment.

  2. If your downtown during rushhour and trying to get onto the 110 north, just forget getting on around 5th st, ect. Instead drive on Hill through Chinatown and take the 110 exit there. Be sure to avoid the left 2 lanes where the 5 exit gets backed up…

  3. I do the Fletcher too, but from 5.
    When using 2, I get off at Glendale Blvd. (exit at right) and go straight into Waterloo St. then right to Duane St., then I arrive on the stop light by that dog park.
    2 freeway is great.

  4. If I tell you guys my shortcuts, they won’t be anymore! (just kidding).

    I have a bunch… one of my favorites is: when transitioning from the 101 south to the 110 south, stay in the right lane and start moving over not to the 110, but take the 9th street/Wilshire Blvd exit. Get to the left lane while exiting, and you can get back onto the 110 south (watch for merging traffic), effectively getting around the bottleneck made by people frantically trying to merge left.

    Here’s a brief list of some others:
    Rimpau (north of Pico)
    Adam (Hancock Park)
    Gregory Way (stop signs, but sometimes faster than Olympic)
    Wallgrove (or Penmar)
    Veteran (not Westwood)
    Broadway/Ohio Ave. (westside)

    BTW, did you know that you can get from Malibu to Hollywood and only change lanes once (if you get in the left lane in Malibu)? Bonus points if you can figure out where the lane-change is needed :)

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