Like many Angelenos, I selfishly keep certain driving and parking secrets reserved for pillow talk. But in the case of the juggernaut at Franklin and Highland I think a little traffic karma might go a long way.
For those unfamilar with the area, the intersection is a strange one, as Franklin Blvd. runs east and west, but makes a proverbial jig at Highland, which runs north and south… drivers are thus forced to make a turn onto Highland and drive just under 100 yards before turning back onto Franklin Blvd.* Situated just short of the Hollywood Bowl and practically on top of Hollywood & Highland, the intersection is heavily trafficked, and in large part due to the awkward traffic flow, is prone to gridlock. However, this Drivehack!™ guide should help you manage it with ease (click image above or here for larger guide map).
If driving Eastbound on Franklin (away from the beach, toward Los Feliz, the Griffith Observatory, etc.), when you get near Highland always keep to the right lane – even if you plan on turning left to head north, as the left lane tend to get the most packed. This also allows for two Drivehacks!
Drivehack!™ #1. If you want to continue East on Franklin, avoid some traffic by driving STRAIGHT across the intersection instead of “making the jig”. This will put you on the block long Franklin Place before turning left onto Las Palmas and right back onto Franklin.
Drivehack!™ #2. Or if you’re planning to head North for the 101 entrance on Highland and traffic is severely backed up, you can instead make the right onto Franklin (or follow the route above) and hop onto the freeway at Vine.
Heading north on Highland, be aware left turns are prohibited onto Franklin – your last chance to turn left from Highland is at Hollywood Blvd. Beyond that tip just stick to the right lane and follow the Drivehacks!™ above.
Driving south on Highland, unless you need to turn right onto Franklin, stay in the center lane – when you pass the first Franklin light, feel free to get into the left lane, but no sooner. Be careful, as other drivers who do need to turn right onto Franklin will switch lanes without regard for other traffic in order to get into the right turn lane, and some will oftend wait until the last moment to do so. This is a roadrage hot spot that Drivehackers!™ like yourselves will learn to help alleviate by simply avoiding the action. However, if you happen to be one of those people who do need to get into that right hand lane get over there at least a block or two before you enter the intersection – aggressive drivers will be tempted to cut around to try and chop five or ten seconds off their travel time, but trust me, if you take that approach equally aggressive drivers will deliberately keep you from cutting back in, and you’ll actually lose time for your trouble. Besides, if traffic heading south is THAT bad, I’ve provided a bonus Drivehack! below.**
Cruising west on Franklin, when you approach Highland you have two choices – left lane or right lane. This should be simple, but you’d be surprised by the number of drivers heading this way who end up screwing up the traffic and causing traffic delays of their own device. If you’re need to turn right onto Highland, stay in the right lane (and then turn right at Highland). If you need to turn left and want to head south on Highland, use the left lane. However, if you want to continue on Franklin, you’ll need to make a left turn first BUT USE THE RIGHT LANE as after making a turn onto Highland you’ll make an immediate right turn back onto Franklin… if you use the left lane you’ll end up needing to change lanes and cut off traffic already in the right lane.
And finally, be aware of panhandlers throughout the intersection who’ll wade through traffic during red lights or other traffic holdups.
*I’m sure most of our readers can do better at describing this than my bastardized attempt, and I encourage them to do so in the comments.
**Bonus: Drivehack!™ #3: If you’re heading south on Highland (either coming off of Cahuenga or the 101) and traffic is painfully slow, turn right onto Camrose Dr. just a couple hundred feet after the Bowl entrance. Follow this windy sideroad to Hillcrest Rd., go left, and you’ll be brought down to an intersection on Franklin just west of Highland. Particularly effective If your destination is Hollywood & Highland or anything west of it.