Category Archives: Driving

Won’t somebody think of the children?

Though I am a Manhattanite through and through, I did spend a good half of my tender years in a small town in upstate New York, where I learned to drive.

One of the things that everyone who has ever ridden a schoolbus or driven a car knows is that you STOP if the bus’s red lights are flashing. Yellow lights, you slow down. Either, you remain alert because children may be exiting the bus. It’s fairly intuitive. It’s also the law.

Today was the first time since moving to Los Angeles (four years and counting) that I have seen a schoolbus use its red lights. I almost invariably see yellow flashers on the rare occasion that I see a bus letting students off. The bus was on Western Avenue near Melrose, and it had its red flashers on with stop sign extended from the side.

Do you suppose anyone stopped?

Well, let me put it this way – when’s the last time you saw traffic pull to the side of the road for a fire truck?

Every single car flew past the bus. (Not me. I was on the other side of the intersection and just an observer, albeit an observer without her camera handy.)

So I’m wondering – were they all complete and utter fucktards, or is stopping for a schoolbus optional in Los Angeles?

May Day March

I think there’s a lot more awareness of this upcoming march on Monday than there was for the last one. Which is a good, since this one is set for Monday … you know, a workday. As many as a half a million are expected at BOTH demonstrations.

So, even if you’re not going to go participate or document it, you should probably at least be aware of what’s going to happen on Monday.

Start here at the LA Times.

There are two demonstrations planned:
11:00 AM – Downtown Los Angeles – Starting at Olympic/Browday and ending at City Hall
3:00 PM – Mid Wilshire – Starting at MacArthur Park down Wilshire Boulevard to La Brea Avenue. More info here


Some downtown and Mid-Wilshire businesses are urging their workers to use public transportation or carpool to get to work on Monday to reduce traffic congestion. Signs are already posted in the Mid-Wilshire area letting people know as well.

UPDATE: More info after the jump.
Continue reading May Day March

The Hang Up on the 5

Is there some sort of law or ordinance that prohibits freakishly bright or distracting signs next to freeways? Cuz there should be.

I drive down to Orange County a couple of times a month on weekends. And every time we return on the 5 north through City of Commerce there is a slowdown at the Citadel. This only started recently. It started when they installed those sun-bright animated signs. The thing is, it’s not just how bright they are (and we’re often returning at dusk), it’s that they’re animated and they have no fade or transition between the advertisements.

That’s right, they blink around mentioning Starbucks, the current Lottery, shoe sales then they go black and then they come on again, full bright. It’s distracting. I’m distracted. I’m annoyed.

People driving on the freeway are not a captive audience. We have a job to do, we have to drive. Stop trying to get us to make decisions about shoes or sticky buns while we’re navigating traffic!
Continue reading The Hang Up on the 5

Pull to the Right! This means you, @sshat!

pullrightlogo.jpgThe most frustrating part about writing for blogs is that often the people you’d wish would read informative posts aren’t the kind of people who even read blogs. That said, sometimes its imperative that you, dear readers, do a community service and print out important blog entries and tape them up for the offline world to see. Maybe your work breakroom or near the copy machine, possibly inside the stall of a public restroom beside the poetic graffitti. Anywhere the class of citizens we often refer to (lovingly) as “asshats” mingle or frequent.

Such is this case with this recent entry by Brian Humphrey at the LAFD News & Information blog:

Nationwide, nearly 16,000 collisions occur each year because a growing number of drivers fail to Pull To The Right when emergency vehicles approach using their lights and sirens.

Continue reading Pull to the Right! This means you, @sshat!

960.4 miles later…

960.4 miles later…

Originally uploaded by dieselboii.

We’re here….

LA is beautiful! The I5 corridor is lush and green and so warm – 79deg. Coming from the land where it seems to have rained since october, this is heaven. We did the grapevine with no issues or traffic and came into town via I5 and 101 to where we are staying. We’re up here in West Hollywood or as i understand it is called – WeHo. Hopefully we’re not in a sketch part of town.

We’re gonna venture out for food and drink and then to the show. You coming? We came all the way down here to see the Brian Jonestown Massacre at Little Radio Warehouse tonight and tomorrow night. You should join us. I’ll be the one with nice chops!

Valets and the City

There have been quite a few posts about valet services on here over the last few years and most of them have been of the complaining sort. Cars getting messed up, things stolen, etc. One major issue is that these folks aren’t responsible for anything at all really, even if they park your car somewhere unsafe and it gets stolen – it’s not their problem. LA City Nerd brings up the discussion again and wants to know about what can be done on a city level:

This may be an issue frequent valet users may want to push before their elected officials. How difficult would it be to require each valet operator to register (no fee, so still fostering a business friendly City) and then also provide a parking plan for cars dropped off at each location they operate? Then, if they are using city streets as their main or overflow parking, they would (maybe) be assessed a fee per space used. They are making money off a public street and preventing regular citizens the option of parking two blocks away and walking. Additionally, collected monies for street-park valet cars could be used to enhance the impacted neighborhood, which often times adjacent to frustrated residential areas. This could be a win for the consumer, for the community, and for the business people of Los Angeles.

Okay, I’ll bite – what is this?

Seen a few of these billboards around town. This one is on Brand in Glendale.


Anyone taking responsibility?

Hard to see in the phonecam shot but the billboard is all black with white writing. Between the numerals is an upside down cross (just the shape, not elaborate), and under it is the text, “THE SIGNS ARE ALL AROUND YOU.”


Downtown response time

Eric Richardson just made a post called
No Tow Trucks Downtown? where he’s documenting an accident that happened on 7th street and how long it’s taking various city services to show up and clear the thing out:

Accident on 7th…You’ve got a disabled vehicle blocking a full direction on 7th Street, and it’s been there for over a half hour at this point. Still there’s no tow-truck, and 7th Street looks good and backed up.

After three or four minutes an ambulance stopped. He checked to make sure everyone was ok, and seems to have listened to the stories about what happened. After maybe 25 minutes the BID’s purple people showed up and set up the fun bike traffic block. And only now, a good half hour after the thing occured (and after I took the picture), did LAPD arrive.

Fireman by day, Rock ‘n Roll Superstar by night?

Driving into Studio City on Cahuenga/Ventura, I spotted a gentleman driving a beige-ish Villager, playing the drums at a red light. Well, no – he was playing the steering wheel with drumsticks. His license plate cover and a sticker on the rear window indicated some affiliation with (or support of) the LAFD.

I found this terribly entertaining (and am happy to report that he did free up at least one hand to steer when the light turned green).

Red Light Cameras Back, Not Yet in Full Effect

red_light.jpgMaybe you’re one of the bastards that’s been blowing through reds at Santa Monica and La Brea, smug in the knowledge they’ve been out of order since last June. Allow me to be the one to tell you that the party’s over. According to a police news conference on Tuesday, the City Council has approved a multi-million dollar contract with a new company to install camera systems at up to 32 intersections. They’re also planning on using the cameras for remote imaging:

The cameras from Nestor Traffic Systems Inc. will enable police operators to monitor and adjust the equipment remotely via satellite and, in case of an emergency, the cameras could provide live images, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

To be honest, La Brea and Santa Monica’s not among the first set of intersections that have been announced—there are only 10. But, if the program goes well, I’m sure it’s on the do do list. I wonder how long until people are blowing them up with pipe bombs?

Because parking is funny.

If there are two things you should’ve learned about by now it’s that we’re always going to post about biking and when people park like idiots we’re going to take their picture and put it on the internet. This parking warcrime is brought to you by the awesome folks in my building. A lovely building that not only includes my place of work, but at least two calling centers for at least two different phone companies, also a weird men’s clothing store that I’ve never seen anyone inside of, a yoga center, an urgent care clinic of some sort (I think?) and a place that’ll tattoo makeup on your face! Seriously, you think you have weirdos around where you work. . .you haven’t seen squat. Anyway, they are so awesome that this is how they park. I have to admit it was pretty funny to watch them all trying to undo the puzzle they’d created when they all wanted to go get lunch. (click on the image for a the biggie-size as well as a bit wider view)

Street Closures Tomorrow for Deputy Sheriff Maria Rosa Fuernal Service

DepMariaRosaFuneral_thumb.jpgThe city has posted the street closure plans for tomorrows funeral service for Deputy Sheriff Maria Rosa. Looks like Hill and Temple will be the main closures with traffic diverted around them. If you need to be in that area tomorrow for reasons other than the service, be sure to check this map and plan an alternate route.

[Thanks to Brian Humphrey for the tip]

UPDATE Please not that this was posted on Monday, April 3rd, and is in reference to Tuesday, April 4th. If you saw this post this morning (Tuesday) and thought I was tomorrow and are now stuck in traffic, I’m sorry about that. I’ll try and be more clear about what day I’m referencing in the future.

Resources for road closures

Once again Brian Humphrey and the folks at the Los Angeles Fire Department put their blog to wonderful use. In a post this morning called Storm Activity and Road Closures in Los Angeles they address how the weather effects traffic in the city and the best places to check to make sure your planned route isn’t underwater (it’s not the LAFD):

We encourage motorists to listen to local radio stations – especially AM news stations with frequent traffic updates. Public Safety and municipal agencies strive to keep these broadcasters informed with the most current information.

For those who happen to be near a computer, Los Angeles regional traffic resources are almost too numerous to mention. Here are some links you may wish to e-mail to a friend or bookmark:

Los Angeles Real-Time Street Traffic Map

Los Angeles Known Street Closures

Los Angeles Special Event Street Closures

Los Angeles County Road Closures

State Highway Road Closures – or call 1-800-427-ROAD

Los Angeles Freeway Incident Information

Los Angeles Real-Time Freeway Traffic Map

Los Angeles Planned Freeway Lane Closures

Caroline loves Trader Joes

When I first moved to LA I heard nothing but amazing things about Trader Joes. First time I went I was blown away. And the next and the next. Caroline (who may or may not be on crack) was throwing a last-minute dinner party and TJ’s saved her:

“I’m going to tell you something that as Angelenos you probably already know: Trader Joe’s is a great place to go if you’re throwing a last-minute dinner party, either for a date you want to impress or just some friends you want over to keep you company on a rainy night. They’ve got everything from the cheese plate to oven-baked entrees to ready-to-serve desserts to flowers and candles to a great wine selection.”

So yeah, anyway I was all impressed and shit and then I moved to Silverlake. I was psyched about the fact that there was a TJ’s a few blocks from my house. That was until I tried to go there and noticed there’s about 4 parking spots for the entire place. OK, maybe there’s more than 4, but no many. I’ve spent hours trying to park there -I’ve probably 3 times as much time trying to park as I have actually in the store. It’s a complete nightmare to the point that I won’t even try to go there anymore. If I’m out around town and have time when I’m near one of the other locations then I’m psyched to stop in and get 6 or 7 bags of amazing food for under $20 but the hassle at the lot in Silverlake just isn’t worth it. I don’t really have a point to this post, just wanted to rant for a moment. You can go back to whatever it was you were doing now.