An entirely new traffic problem

We live in a city that’s known for its traffic – bad traffic, especially. This here blog has an entire category just for posts about driving! But today I had an unexpected issue with traffic.

We’d been visiting with friends in Studio City and my son hadn’t taken his midday nap (too excited, I suppose, by my friend’s non-nap-aged kids). So when we left I took the long way home to Koreatown so Sammy could sleep in the car. I took Laurel Canyon to Magnolia and turned right, driving into Burbank. I turned down Catalina and drove through a beautiful residential neighborhood to Olive, where I turned right. Took Olive past the WB studio until it turned into Barham, then made a left at the end on the Cahuenga Pass. Then through Hollywood and left toward downtown for home. A nice roundabout way home.

Traffic was spectacular. It kept moving at the speed limit and I must have hit every green light. What I’d hoped would take at least an hour barely took 40 minutes, and that was driving like a little old lady (whenever it wouldn’t hold up traffic, of course).

Has this happened to anyone else?

12 thoughts on “An entirely new traffic problem”

  1. Yep. I’ve got a “smuggler’s route” to get from Los Feliz to Santa Monica that’s pretty much like that. The lights have to be with you to get the full effect.

    Traffic ’round these parts seem to have “clusters” — some areas have heavy traffic while not far away things are fine.

    Not so with the west side tho!

  2. Shush, girl – don’t go givin’ away the secrets! :-)

    Truth is, there are routes like this all over LA (except for the Westside, where the traffic suckage is the worst, precisely because there aren’t any good routes like this).

    Half the key to traffic sanity in LA is to remember that the freeways are dual-purpose roads: high-speed non-stop thoroughfares in the off hours, and giant parking lots where commuters can store their cars during rush-hour, so they don’t clog up the alterate routes on the city streets. Which are usually not the obvious routes.

    The alternates aren’t generally a whole lot faster than the cloggy freeways, but they’re seldom slower; and they’re a heckuva lot more relaxing than crawling along on an overcrowded freeway.

    But don’t tell everybody, or they’ll clog the alternates. :-)

    (And do respect the occasional residential cut-throughs! Remember, you don’t want the nicer connectors spoiled by speed bumps!)

    As for the Westside, all I can say is Go Around, Not Through. Flank to the south, crossing 405 & 10 on the secondary roads that don’t have freeway ramps.

    It ain’t fast, but it beats an hour and a half of crawling across Wilshire. With good route selection, I can do Santa Monica -> mid-Hollywood in about 45-50 minutes during evening rush, through mostly pleasant neighborhoods.

    Not that I’d want to do it every day, mind you.

    (The other half of traffic sanity in LA: If at all possible, sleep though rush hour. :-))

  3. Welcome to the East San Fernando Valley/Burbank area. I’ll let you in on a little secret – traffic always moves around here. Sure, it can be a little warm at certain times of the year, but if you are lucky enough to both live here and work here, your life can be traffic-free.

    I love it when people who haven’t lived in LA for more than a few years bash the Valley. It’s fine by me. Please, don’t move here.

    Sorry, gotta go, need to be at 3rd & Sweetzer by 7:30. It’s 7:10 now, I should be a couple minutes early.

  4. Oh goodness! I am definitely NOT suggesting my route as a good shortcut! I think it was a fluke, perhaps designed by the universe as a terrific joke so my son wouldn’t get a long enough nap. I do think traffic tends to be better in the valley (I love the valley for many reasons) but yesterday it was especially good. Too good.

  5. It always happens the week before Labor Day. And as soon as school starts, traffic’s gonna get crazy again. But I do love this week!

  6. You got lucky on the Barham->Cahuenga route. Occasionally there’s been construction on Barham that drops it down to one lane and backs things up to Forest Lawn.

    And forget this route if there is anything going on at the Hollywood Bowl

  7. I love driving thru Burbank at night on the weekends….especially Sunday night.

    The streets are so empty I feel like I’m in Mayberry.

  8. Oh goodness! I am definitely NOT suggesting my route as a good shortcut!

    Ah, okay, my bad!

    (And a bit of a relief, too, because… heh heh… there’s a better one than that…)

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