Los Angeles traffic may not be quite as dense as in more condensed cities like New York and San Francisco, but driving in traffic over the hundreds of square miles of Los Angeles can lead to long commutes, dented fenders and much hair pulling. Here’s some little-known routes and tips for staying out of traffic in Los Angeles, and spending more time with family and leisure rather than sitting stuck in your car on the 405 freeway.
Secret driving route through Los Angeles traffic #1 – The 210 and 118 Freeways
Traveling through the San Fernando Valley during traffic hours for many means getting stuck on the 101, 405 or 5 freeways. Depending on the time of day you are traveling, utilizing the hill between the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys can mean more miles travelled, but much less time in your car.
Driving from the West valley cities to Glendale during evening rush hour is usually accomplished by taking the 101 freeway through a traffic crossover nightmare onto the 134 freeway.
Try taking the 118 to the 210 over the hill toward Pasadena, then driving down the 2 freeway South toward your destination. Your mileage will be greater by about 10 miles, but your Glendale evening commute time will be cut in half, not to mention the lack of stress caused by Hollywood drivers who have no idea where they want to end up.
Secret driving route through Los Angeles traffic #2 – Drive Figueroa St. through Downtown to all South LA cities
Figueroa St. runs all the way from Northeast Los Angeles through Downtown, past all South Los Angeles cities and all the way down to San Pedro. Getting to South LA or the South beaches in traffic hours usually means sitting stuck in 110 freeway traffic, while cars on Figueroa enjoy much less congestion.
Granted, you’ll be driving directly through some pretty hardcore neighborhoods on your daily commute, so lock your doors and hold on for the ride.
*Los Angeles traffic-beating tip: check the schedules for the Lakers, Clippers and Kings during basketball and hockey seasons. Memorize those schedules for the week ahead! Nothing is worse than getting stuck driving through Staples Center traffic!
Secret driving route through Los Angeles traffic #3 – Avoid driving on all freeways during rush hour
This one may seem a bit obvious, but the congested freeway system in Los Angeles wouldn’t be that way if the vast majority of the city chose to utilize the surface streets for their evening commutes. Try setting Google Maps or your GPS system to “No highways” mode and put in your starting point and destination.
If you must drive through Los Angeles in rush hour, finding creative ways to weave through the surface streets can be infinitely more fun than sitting in stop-and-go. Avoid Wilshire Blvd. through West Los Angeles, Mid-Wilshire and Downtown at all costs, as this is just as bad as the freeway system, only with red lights.
And now, ladies and gentleman of the City of Angels, here is the absolute most important thing you can do to make your evening commute just that much easier:
Wait it out! If you finish up at work at 6, going to dinner or a cafe with your laptop for an hour will put you in your comfortable recliner at home in most cases at the exact same time as if you left work immediately.
Think of how much more fun you’ll have reading lolcats over WiFi than sitting in your car listening to Kat Corbett yell at someone else.