Irony Alert: Avoiding the Traffic to Get To and From the Car Show

MINI Coupe
MINI Coupe: all fun, no mess

Like many Los Angeles area folks, I’m crazy about cars. Fortunately, I’m able to incorporate my love into my work, and covered the L.A. Auto Show on Press Day 1 yesterday. Unfortunately, my day was ruled as much by the cars on the roads outside than by the shiny new models inside the Convention Center.

I left my house by the beach after rush hour to avoid traffic, hit the show very hard, then skedaddled out of there by about 4:15 p.m. to avoid the evening rush. As a result, the compressed time I spent at the show was somewhat manic. Stopping off at Langer’s on the way home? Forget it.

Inside the show, the car companies advertise their cars based on many attributes: quality, value, economy, luxury, technology, and driving fun. But I didn’t see or hear one mention of anything to do with traffic. Such a discussion would seem to be antithetical to the car companies’ mission, which is of course to sell more of those shiny sexy cars.

As a car lover, I’m guilty of moving out here and contributing to the problem. In my defense, however, I work mostly from home, and put on very little mileage. My car is over 8 years old, and I’m going to hang onto it as long as I can. My trips to L.A. city proper are rare.

I know it’s not a new subject area, but what is the toll — to our psyche, our finances, and our quality of life — that we in the Los Angeles areas pay each year for our traffic? Can anything be done about it, or is all hope lost? I’m no traffic expert, but I would think that living closer to where we work, having a shorter commute, is one way to make the problem better. Another is more and better mass transit, to the extent possible in sprawling, designed-for-cars L.A. Maybe the new Expo Line will help.

I hope something will help. The Auto Show demonstrates that we’re putting out amazing cars. The roads in and around L.A. show that there are fewer and fewer places to put them.

9 thoughts on “Irony Alert: Avoiding the Traffic to Get To and From the Car Show”

  1. I had a ball at the L.A Auto Show press days. Traffic sucked yesterday (day2) due to the Occupy stuff at 4th and Fig which made my trip take 2.5 hours and miss the morning premieres I had set myself up to attend. Grrr.

  2. While I of course would like to see an improvement to our mass transit, there are currently many options. Just waiting for more train lines isn’t going to accomplish anything…use what’s there already! Plenty already do and manage to lead normal lives.

    1. @Evan, I hope that the Expo line is going to accomplish something for the east to west commute of the type that I had from the beach to the Convention Center. Otherwise, why is the line being built?

      1. I think the Big Blue Bus #10 is one of the best things around, and not many people know about it. Check it out next time for a beach-to-downtown ride.

  3. I’ve found that minimizing commute time makes a HUGE difference in quality of life here in LA.

    You don’t really realize how much of your life commuting eats up until it doesn’t. (Unless you’re one of those maniac 30-to-50-miles-one-way commuters, in which case, yeah, you’ve probably noticed. :-))

    My partner and I have made decisions about where to buy a house and what jobs to accept or turn down based on the commute. She does 10 minutes on uncrowded surface streets to the studio; I commute from my bedroom to my living room.

    We could have gotten a much cheaper (or much nicer) house more distant from the studio. And both of us have had job offers that would have paid a lot more, but would have required awful commutes.

    But all the money in the world won’t give you back the hours you spend commuting. Life is too short.

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