I’m usually pretty good with driving. I rarely get lost, even on my own, even before I got the BlackBerry with Google Maps in it. I’m also quite good at navigating. But every time I try to go in & out of Union Station, I have the worst time finding my way home! Maybe it’s because the station is designed for mass transit to go in and out, and not small, personal vehicles. Or maybe it’s just because I haven’t figured out the secret exit which would allow me to go north and west, back to my SiFi apartment, quickly.
The worst case of this was when, still slightly asleep, I dropped off a friend at the Union Station Flyaway on Monday morning – at 6am. I took her right to the Patsouras transit plaza, to avoid any confusion on where the bus was leaving from. That’s why I got on the ramp labeled I-10 by mistake, before realizing it wasn’t Vignes St like I thought. However, NOWHERE did I see “get on this ramp and you are stuck going east for ten miles, in a lane you are PROBABLY not supposed to be in.”
Next thing I know, I’m trapped in a carpool/bus lane, praying I don’t get a ticket for being a solo driver, and wishing frantically for an exit. It’s like a nightmare, driving further and further in the wrong direction, and just hoping to find a way to go back west before the freeway stops for rush hour. I’m fairly certain carpools are allowed in that express bus lane(see map, above), and it seems like it would be very helpful next time we visit friends in the Inland Empire…but I had absolutely no idea that one wrong turn could keep me going east as far as the Alhambra city limits before I could get out of it.
The next time I went to Union Station, to drop off another friend that afternoon, I parked underground. Then I exited on Cesar Chavez St., thinking I would just go north on that to the 101 on-ramp by Chinatown. Except I could only turn east on it, not west…and I couldn’t get off the street until I found myself on the wrong side of the LA river. So I took Mission Road back up along the river, cut over to the downtown side by the Cornfield, and eventually got back onto the 101 to go home.
Seriously though, is it that I am retarded in escaping Union Station? Is it that I am the only non-employee who takes a car there? Is it that I just don’t know the roads well enough around the station (I know it well on foot, or bike, or bus, or train…just not in a car) How does one go to Union Station, take one’s friends directly to the transit plaza…and NOT GET LOST??