Expect a slowdown when you arrive in downtown L.A. on the 101 Freeway!! Though the stretch of the 101 in downtown is just a few miles, it can take several minutes to pass through it, especially during the morning rush hours. Sometimes it takes over half an hour of traffic time!
There is talk of improving the 101 but talk is just not fast enough!! Ay, ay ay!! While dealing with the traffic jam, admire the murals like this one pictured along the downtown stretch.
(Now, traffic captured here isn't so bad in this case- this rare case!)
"Which Freeway is faster?" - that would be my first question if I were a tourist trying to get around L.A.. The answer is (and always will be) "No clue! Really can't tell!"
Traffic in L.A. totally depends on what is going on accident-wise. After living in LA for 20 years, to this day I am surprised about traffic movement on the Freeways. Sometimes I fly from West LA to Pasadena at 7:30 am, at other times I'm stuck at 11 pm on a Sunday night on the 5 Freeway in Anaheim. And WHY is the 110 North just after downtown always near standstill on Saturday afternoons? It doesn't make sense. None of the Freeways make sense in LA.
The best option is to go online and check sigalert.com before hopping on the Freeway.
Oh yeah - the 405 between the Valley and LAX is ALWAYS bad!!!
Los Angeles is a huge, spread out city, crisscrossed by numerous freeways and expressways, but limited mass transportation. Couple that with some 13 million people in the metropolitan area and you end up with the most polluted and congested region in America. Here you have daily traffic jams as people commute across town to and from work and play.
Some estimates show there is one cars for every 1.8 people in the city, making this one of the densest concentrations of automobiles in the world. These lucky drivers spent an average of 97 hours per year delayed on LA's 20-some freeways. Speaking of THE freeways, locals almost always refer to a high way or interstate as "THE 405" or "THE 110" rather then the more common "Interstate-405," "I-405," or just "405" that you hear in the rest of the country. This does get annoying, and one guy I met in Seattle griped for hours about how people in LA think theirs is the only 110 or 405 in the world. Indeed, there are three or four other I-110s in America, and Interstate 405s exist in both Oregon and Washington.
From around 9:00 in the morning to 9:00 at night, the Los Angeles california freeways are the best ways and the worst way to travel. Traffic is so backed up around these times that it makes your travels a nightmare. Stop and go, stop and go. You can pick up a "Thomas guide" for Los Angeles and Orange County for about $30.00. The Thomas guide is a street map of Los Angeles county, Orange and San Bernardino counties. You can pick an easy route to take (mainly for those who have been to LA in the past) You can purchased a Thomas guide "shortcuts" book for a few dollars more. But I don't recommend this to tourist. You may just get lost in this massive city. The freeway exits are now being marked from 1 on up so that tourists like you can easily find your way around, instead of trying to remember street names.
You can take the subway from downtown LA to Hollywood Blvd. to Universal Studios and beyond for a small fee.
try to travel after 9 am. the traffic settles a bit around then except on holidays. friday evenings are busey everybody is comming and going to and fron LA. listen for traffic reports on am 1070 and 980 traffic reports every ten or so minutes.
Traffic jams? Yes we all have heard about Los Angeles traffic jams, and also seen on films.... LOL
By sure while driving around you will enjoy one of them.
We arrived on a saturday so traffic to our hotel from airport was very fluid, the same on the following day to Long Beach .... but on week days we enjoyed some traffic jams, specially in areas where two freeways get toguether....(my favorite was the meeting between the 405 and the 10!)
You need to drive around here, very spread out. Try to avoid rush hours and the major highway intersections during this time. About 6:30AM to 9AM, and 3:30PM to 7PM can be bad, depending where you are and the day.
If you have two or more people in your car, the carpool lane is great during rush hours. You will save so much time, and you will get to your destination less stressed.
On weekends, if you will be leaving the city, the earlier the better. By about 11AM it gets congested on the highways, but normally not nearly as bad as during the week.
You are what you drive in LA. So, proffer your gold card and rent a Rolls Royce. Few driving experiences can equal cruising the LA freeways, listening to a classic rock station, in a cool Corniche. You don't even have to worry about finding your way, as your onboard navigation system guides you effortlessly to your destination. Unfortunately, the Roller was out the last time old Cliffie was in LA - and he had to settle for a humble Cadillac!
I live in Olrando, Fl and the traffic sucks here and its worse in L.A., those freeways are monsterous. So, may sure you are aware of where you are travelling too. Bring a map!!