Traffic Report

A guide to driving in Los Angeles.
  1. The most famous joke about Los Angeles is Woody Allen’s retort in Annie Hall: “I don’t want to live in a city where the only cultural advantage is that you can make a right turn on a red light.” Of course, that’s not the only cultural advantage: What about validated parking? The clever drive-through system at In-and-Out Burger? Or L.A.’s “permissive” left turns; i.e., no waiting for the green arrow, a bonus considering the city’s 40,000-odd intersections? Los Angeles lives and (literally) breathes traffic. No U.S. city has as much congestion or as many traffic reporters. To drive there is to be immersed in a soundtrack of strange “SigAlerts” and “traffic breaks,” as everything from Porta Potties to avocados is dumped on the freeway (ladders are reputedly the most dropped item). One traffic reporter could tell the direction of the rain based on the traffic patterns on his computer screen. As you find yourself in L.A. during Book Expo, you can’t help thinking of traffic—as you go to the L.A. Convention Center, and once you’re there.

    Traffic in L.A. is hardly news. A short drive from the Center, you’ll find the intersection of Wilshire and Western, in the 1920s the world’s most crowded intersection. L.A. has always been at the forefront of fighting traffic, from automated traffic signals in 1922 to “reversible lanes,” which capitalize on the “directional peaks” of the morning and evening rush hours. Now, most roads are busy both ways during peaks, so reversible lanes are histor...

Great reading. Anywhere, any time

Subscribe to Byliner to finish this and thousands of other riveting stories for just $5.99 a month. Get started now with a 14 day FREE trial.

Join Today

Already a member? Sign in