Where Cesar Chavez (aka Sunset) meets Figueroa downtown is a massive bottleneck in the evenings. Here’s the set up. TONS of traffic is headed north on Figueroa coming out of downtown. People headed home from work and what not. Headed south there’s next to no traffic because the street only goes south for a blog block or two there before it becomes one way, and just north of Cesar Chavez is a freeway entrance and a side street, so there’s no where for traffic to come from. Ideally this should mean that the traffic headed north on Fig that is trying to turn left on Cesar Chavez should have it made, but there’s a twist. The north west corner is an evening adult school, the parking for which is in a building across the street. And there’s no turn light. This means that for almost the entire north-south green light, when tons of cars should be turning left, they can’t because there’s an endless flow of people headed back and forth across the street. 2, maybe 3 cars get through during one light. This wouldn’t be a problem if half of downtown wasn’t trying to turn left. The result is the turning lane is backed up in to the standard lane which in turn is backed up for a mile or two every night. I know that’s the problem because occationally there’s no classes, and in turn, no traffic. It’s the difference between a 15 minute commute and a 25 minute commute.

The solution? There needs to be either a turn light when people can’t walk but cars can turn, or better yet (but more expensive I’m sure) a raised pedestrian walkway so people could walk whenever they wanted and never get in the way of traffic. Anyway, it’s 1:30 am and that’s my rant for the evening.

UPDATE: Success!

15 thoughts on “Bottleneck”

  1. A good compromise might be for them to have a traffic cop, or whatever they are called help broker the people traffic and car traffic when classes and traffic are busy. I know that they do this at the Los Feliz and Vermont intersection (though I am still puzzled as to why) on Friday nights, and other nights of the week.

  2. I vote the they temporarily suspend the first law of physics. That way, everybody could pass through the intersection at the same time.

  3. LA needs green arrows! There’s something wrong with a city when visitors/tourists/relocations have to re-learn how to drive. I’ve personally witnessed at least a half dozen accidents in which oncoming traffic tries to make a stale yellow light only to cram into a left-turning automobile who HAS to go on yellow if they want to go at all! I am convinced the lack of green arrows is the single most obvious and easily corrected detriment to quality of life in Los Angeles (except of course air quality) so why isn’t anybody doing anything about it?

  4. I completely agree with MHALS about the need for protected left turns. What’s the rationale behind the missing turn signals in Los Angeles? I’ve wondered this since relocating here from a flyover state where traffic engineering seems to be positively futuristic compared to LA.

  5. I am also baffled by the lack of left turn signals in this city; it’s one of the first things I noticed after moving here. It’s such an obvious solution to alleviate some of the traffic congestion.

  6. Speaking of questionable traffic engineering, has anyone been to the intersection of Beverly Glen and Santa Monica Blvd in the last couple weeks?

  7. I’ll throw in another vote the ridiculous lack of turn arrows. I’ve been telling people the same thing for the seven plus years that I’ve lived here. Although it’s not a cure all. Santa Monica/La Brea has turn arrows and it’s still crazily dangerous, especially if you’re a pedestrian.

  8. Unfortunately, sometimes the shortest distance is not the fastest. How about going past ceasar chavez/sunset and than making a right and a right to get back onto said street and drive west past that intersection?

    Or if not, while you’re waiting, you can wonder if the popular bbq king across from the adult school actually uses bbq sauce from smart and final – my uncle saw the owner with a 10 gallon drum of “sauce” from there.

  9. Bill – if only the left turners were effected that would be great, but because it backes up so far, even if you are going straight on turning right you are caught up in the mess.

  10. A belated note that even with the installation of left turn green arrows, there are a lot of ass-clowns out there who don’t realize that just because said light goes out (usually followed by a regular green light), that doesn’t mean that you can still move into that intersection and make a left turn when you can do it. But it still sounds like a green arrow would certainly alleviate that traffic problem!

  11. Here’s an alternative I’ve found to be quicker whether you’re south of Second Street heading north on Fig to Cesar Chavez or coming west toward Fig through the Second Street Tunnel. Either make a left on Second from Fig or stay on Second across Fig. Go under the freeway, make a right onto Beaudry, and take that up to Sunset.

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