I Need A Traffic Hack

The night I met my boyfriend, we exchanged phone numbers in the parking lot across the street from Bar Sinister. And when he gave me his, my reaction was, “626! Do you live in Pasadena or something?”

He laughed. I was serious. I’m a Westside girl. I only ever considered 310, 323 and 213 to be acceptable area codes (exceptions made for people who live in those areas, but have kept their out of town cell phones as a shout out to their hometowns). 818 was borderline, 909 is right out, and 626 was dubious, at best.

Fortunately for me, I got past my area code prejudice, because the relationship is worth driving to Pasadena for. And now the boyfriend and I take turns visiting each other’s part of town when we see each other. But that leads to a whole new creative problem, which is how to get from Pasadena to my office in Beverly Hills. Especially when I have to be at my desk by 8:15AM. I’ve tried a few routes: via downtown (110 to downtown to Olympic) and via the Valley (the 134 to the 101 to Coldwater Canyon, which I am never, ever doing again because it took almost two hours with the Coldwater clusterf&%k), but my standby now is to take the 134 to Forest Lawn, cut down around Griffith Park and the Burbank border into Hollywood, and continue down Highland to Olympic to my office. That’s the most scenic route, with the mountains along the 134 and the park along Forest Lawn, and it’s also, at exactly one hour, the fastest I’ve found.

So now, my question for you, dear Angelinos, is this: does anyone have a good traffic hack or creative route that would get me to Beverly Hills from Pasadena in less than twenty-five miles and sixty minutes? Or a workaround for going the opposite route at six in the evening? Or should I start biting it and getting up at 5am to take the 110 to the 10 before traffic clogs the former in Highland Park?

19 Replies to “I Need A Traffic Hack”

  1. The only problem with that would be the 110 slowdown around Highland Park, before I could even get to the 101. If there was a way to get off the 110 before 43rd Ave in Highland Park, and cut OVER to the 101, it would be a definite workaround.

  2. I live in Pasadena, so I’ve tried a million ways and all of them have problems. Some I usually default to are:

    Plan A: 134 West, then 2 South (Glendale Freeway), then west on either Sunset or Santa Monica or ??? … all depending on time of day and conditions. This plan is somewhat perilous because you’ve got like 10 miles of westbound traffic lights to work through. But sometimes it works very well.

    Plan B: West on the 134, exit at Alameda Ave. in Burbank, then cut across the hills past WB Studios on Barham Blvd, and come down into Hollywood via Cahuenga / Highland. I’ve sometimes found this to be marginally faster than going farther west, getting off at Vineland, then getting on to the 101 South. Then again, at other times Barham is a parking lot, particularly at the overpass across the 101. Of course, you also end up deposited at that glory of modern intersections, Highland and Franklin, so take this for what it’s worth.

    Generally, I try to loop north rather than south, avoiding downtown region freeways as much as possible (the 110 is often deceptively good until you slam up against the 5, for example).

    Believe it or not, I often end up just taking Colorado all the way into Glendale, and then skirt down to Los Feliz and then to Western and then turn west on Santa Monica, avoiding freeways altogether. Believe it or not, sometimes this is only marginally slower than freeway routes, and arguably more relaxing — and Los Feliz is definitely scenic.

    Shannon is right, though: the Glendale Freeway is your best bet for figuring out a trick through the Eastside. Getting across the Westside? I’ve never solved it, for one.

  3. Thanks so much, Raphael! Your plan B is very close to what I do now, actually. I used to drive out to Burbank to the Disney building on Buena Vista for meetings once a week, from the Beverly Hills office, so I knew that route pretty well. I think the Forest Lawn cutoff is actually a little shorter than going around by Alameda. And yeah, Hollywood/Franklin is always a quagmire.

    I’m going to have to try the Colorado route you suggested, too – and Will’s route, as well. Will – you totally rock with the gPed

    And J James – you have the quote of the day, which is what every guy in Pasadena should be able to recite when some Westside princess makes smartass remarks about the 626.

  4. unfortunately, i don’t have an alternate route suggestion for you…but i feel you on the 626/909 thing haha. i love the comment about “it’s just like 310.. but times 2.. plus 6”

  5. Laurel Canyon is usually a better route across the hollywood hills than Coldwater Canyon. Although I’ve never tried it in the morning.

  6. When I have to do a similar mind-numbing route (South Pasadena to mid-Wilshire), in the afternoon I usually take 6th St. to Wilton, Wilton to 3rd, 3rd to the 110, tough it out on the 110 until after the tunnel, then it’s smooth sailing the rest of the way to Pasadena. However, it might be too crowded on the 110 in the morning, so much like you do, I take the 110 to the 5 to Los Feliz, Los Feliz to Franklin to Vine, then Vine all the way to 3rd.

  7. I do the opposite commute – from K-Town to Old Town in the morning, and back in the evening. Wil turned me on to this route from Pasadena: 134 West to the 2 South to Fletcher. Left on Fletcher, left on Glendale, right on Silver Lake, then take that until it turns into Beverly, which will take you to the west side and freedom! I’ve never tried it the other way, but given that I can make it from Pasadena to my place at 6th/Western in 1/2 hour at 5pm on a Friday, I’d be willing to wager it isn’t too bad.

    And I’ve kept my 626 area code on my cell from when I used to live in Pasadena. Area codes can deceive.

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