Friday, February 22, 2008

Driving In LA

I used to take Highland to the Valley, but it's always crowded and slow. Then I found out how to slip in through Cahuenga. You spend a lot of time thinking about traffic in LA.

Last Friday, early in the evening, I took Cahuenga, from Melrose to Barham, on my way to Burbank. Here was my internal monologue--if I stopped to consciously think about what I now do automatically.

The light at Willoughby is always green [one reason I take Cahuenga] but I better bear left since there's that truck always parked about a block up making the right lane crowded. But once I pass the truck, I have to cut into the right lane since I don't want to be stuck in the left--the light at Santa Monica takes forever and with lots of opposite traffic, and you could have to wait several times through if anyone is turning left at the intersection. But once past Santa Monica, I should get into the left lane since the traffic always moves way too slow on the right. Still, if I see anyone ahead at all at the light on Fountain, I gotta cut back right before them. However, by De Longpre--not very far--I have to be back into the left lane since there's always a pileup trying to park underneath Amoeba records right before Sunset. It's that does open up a clear right lane, but it's probably best to be in the left lane at the light on Sunset since anyone in front of me might be turning right and will always have to wait for pedestrians. (And watch that intersection--there are cameras!). However, by the next block at Selma, I better be in the right lane since anyone turning left will screw me up. The section between Selma and Hollywood is tricky. Some cars stop for valet parking on the right, and at the light they often have to turn, but have to wait for foot traffic first. On the other hand, if it's past 7, they can turn left, and they always do--just one or two cars will get through per green. Also, watch for pedestrians crossing in the middle of the street. Altogether, I guess the best strategy is to stay on the right, but maybe I should consider taking a side road to my side road--instead of staying on Cahuenga, cut right a few blocks back at Ivar and then rejoin Cahuenga via Yucca. Okay, I'm past the light--better switch from left to right lane since people also stop for valet north of Hollywood. Things are moving reasonably well now. Almost doesn't matter what lane I take, though under the bridge, it's best to be on the left. Now that they've put a new light where the 101 lets out, it's great for those people, but slows down this shortcut. I guess I'd better stay on the right--I'm not thrilled with the blind corner anyway. Okay, past the light at Vine--that never takes long. But we merge here. Good thing the traffic isn't too bad. All it would take is an accident to shut down this part of the pass. Now there's more merging from the 101--no problem really. I'm more worried about the jerks who sometimes treat this road as a walking path. Alright, coming down the hill--traffic can be bad at the light. And make sure not to get stuck in the far left lane--you can't turn right there. Once I get over the hill, I'll decide if the right or middle lane is best. I like the right better, but incoming traffic from the right and potholes are worse there.

Next I get onto Barham, and the process continues.


Blogger QueensGuy said...

You could substitute Northern Blvd in Queens for Cahuenga, Clearview for Willoughby, etc., and the internal monologue would be indistinguishable.

4:36 AM, February 22, 2008  
Blogger New England Guy said...

Thanks for the title of the post- now I can't get "Walking in L.A." out of my head now.

Here where I sit in Maine's L-A (the twin cities of Lewiston and Auburn), I could probably, traverse both cities twice in the time it takes to read that. (My interior monologue for that journey would be "God, its frickin cold." in continuous replay)

9:13 AM, February 22, 2008  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

I miss Los Angeles. And Seattle, too.

In L.A. and Orange Counties, drivers are aggressive, highly competent and fast. A great combination.

In Seattle, drivers are slow, methodical, and polite. If you signal on the freeway someone will immediately slow down to change lanes.

In Berkeley, drivers are slower than in Seattle but as rude as those in L.A. And bicycles think they are allowed to use the crosswalk. I just hate the Bay Area.

4:39 PM, February 22, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Direct quote from LA guy about his approach to dealing with traffic in LA "I'm like a cockroach, I've got to keep moving." Just after saying it, he realized it wasn't the most flattering comparison. But based on this post, I'd say there's still something to it.

9:46 AM, February 23, 2008  

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