But seriously, how bad can traffic really be?
May 16, 2011 8:45 PM   Subscribe

If you had to work a few days a weeks in San Fernando Valley (Sherman Oaks, specifically), where would you live?

Here's my situation in a nutshell: In a few months I'll be moving to LA. I don't know the city well. I'll be interning a few (three? two?) days a week in Sherman Oaks. On other days of the week I'll be working a job that I don't have as of yet--probably either waiting tables or doing something writing/editing/freelance related. I will look for that job to be located convenient to where I live. I know, from all I've read about LA, that where I live should be convenient to where I'll work, including the internship in the valley. Ideally, though, I'd like to live in the oh-so-hip Silverlake, Los Feliz, Eagle Rock area because it's seems cool, walkable, and I know some people there (unlike other parts of LA). Would that commute--Silverlake to Sherman Oaks--be treacherous to make a few days a week? My hours in Sherman Oaks will vary but I know that at least on Thursdays I'll have to be there at 9am.

LA Mefites, what's the word?
posted by tacoma1 to Travel & Transportation around San Fernando, Spain (17 answers total)
 
I don't commute in that area so my word shouldn't be taken as gospel, but I don't think that commute will be too bad. I mean, it's a commute in LA traffic, so it's not going to be easy-breezy every day, but in general most of the people with commutes that involve Sherman Oaks are commuting south from the Valley into LA proper or the westside, rather than the other way.
posted by troublesome at 8:53 PM on May 16, 2011


I used to live in Los Feliz and had that commute five days a week (actually a bit further out in the Valley, but I'd go past there on my way). On an average day, it'd only take 15-20 minutes to get from my apartment to the Sherman Oaks area. Every once in a while there'd be an accident and it'd take significantly longer, but most of the time it was no big deal. Just check the traffic report before you leave and maybe learn a couple alternate surface routes and you'll be fine.
posted by fishmasta at 9:04 PM on May 16, 2011


In all my years living in L.A. and working, my easiest commutes were those when I went opposite the main flow of traffic (West L.A. to South Bay, Valley to Pasadena, both over 20 miles but usually under a half-hour on the freaking freeways). Your route is similarly counter-flow, so I'd say you're in good shape.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:10 PM on May 16, 2011


I live in Studio City and take my kid to school in Glassell Park. And then I drive back. So my return is similar to what you'd experience coming to Sherman Oaks from Los Feliz for sure. And you can add on a few more minutes for Silver Lake.

Most of the time it takes me 20 minutes to get to the eastern edge of Studio City @ Universal City, but right there is where the 101 bunches up. You should add a minimum of 10 minutes more for Sherman Oaks.

From Eagle Rock -- I used to experiment with this route back home from my kid's school. From the 2/134 interchange (right where Eagle Rock is) the first few minutes on the 134 are a horrid misery, then it lightens up, then it gets heavy again as the 101 goes into Studio City.

And then every once in a while it takes an hour -- cause there's a bad accident. And on a more frequent basis it takes 45 minutes -- cause a bad accident hasn't quite cleared yet, or Jupiter is in Sagitarius, or there are sunspots. Sometimes these things are just mysterious. For instance, many times I leave my kid's school at 8:20 and can't make it in time, no matter how hard I push, to a 9am yoga class in Sherman Oaks.

This is all probably TMI, but the gist of L.A. traffic is that you always need to leave yourself plenty of time to get anywhere. Period. Unless you're going to live in Sherman Oaks and commute by bike. But even then you never know.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:14 PM on May 16, 2011


Chiming in with the rest; I live in Los Feliz, and drive to the valley just about every day. It's a pretty easy commute; hop on the 101 and, barring accidents, or houses abandoned on the freeway (I'm not kidding), it's usually about ten to fifteen minutes to Sherman Oaks/Studio City.
posted by OolooKitty at 9:44 PM on May 16, 2011


Each of the three neighborhoods you'd like to live in would be a different commute, and then even within some hods, depending on which part you'd live in. That whole region is really hilly and there's a bad lack of East/West routes through the area. Agreed with the above that you'd be going mostly against traffic, which is as close to ideal as you'll get in this city. (Silverlake isn't so walkable, IMO. Los Feliz is better, and I haven't the faintest about Eagle Rock. They're all super-trendy though, especially Eagle Rock right now. You just watch though, Westlake/McArthur Park's gonna blow up! Langer's represent! ;)

If you're near Sunset in Silverlake, you'll probably get on the 101 from Alvarado, Glendale, or Silverlake Blvd and ride it all the way to Sherman Oaks. This is a relatively painless drive, against the rush. 15-20 minutes, 30-45 should something tragic occur. Further north/east in the neighborhood, towards the reservoir, you'll want to go north towards the 5, and take it to the 134W, which merges into the 101N towards Sherman Oaks.

Los Feliz (That's Los FEEL-ez, oddly) is a toss-up. There's no good way to get on the 101, cept to take Los Feliz Blvd to Franklin all the way to around Vine. That's a lot of surface driving, and the backup around the 101 entrance can be infuriating. The 5 is more accessible, but even 'against flow' around the 134 interchange (which you'll be taking) it can get hoary. And the 134 around there is anybody's guess. About the same times as the last commute, 15-20min/30-45min.

Those two neighborhoods are adjacent, but Eagle Rock is several miles northeast of that area, across the Elysian Valley, past Glendale, and nearly to Pasadena. You'll probably be on the 134 the whole way, which shouldn't be too bad. It does narrow to two lanes at one point near the 5, not sure how that shapes up in the morning. But that'll probably be your easiest commute, 10-15min/25 in traffic.

To answer your main question, given the three choices I'd say Eagle Rock. It'll probably be the cheapest of the three rent-wise. Lots of good food and good people and interesting culture happening. (Silverlake and Los Feliz have gotten old and had kids by now—stroller city, ech.) But really if I were you I'd look to moving somewhere in the Valley, closer to Sherman Oaks, and I'd recommend staying off the freeways altogether. Get a job on restaurant row on Ventura, live close to your internship, and visit the hipster enclaves on the weekends. Ha!
posted by carsonb at 10:17 PM on May 16, 2011


'hoods. with some 'hoods.
posted by carsonb at 10:17 PM on May 16, 2011


Oh, oh, also? No guarantees going the other direction on the 101S. That stretch of freeway, between the Hollywood Hills and Downtown LA, has year and again been deemed to have the absolute worst traffic in America. It is totally unpredictable as to when you'll have smooth driving and when it'll be your worst parking lot.

I'll tell you now—driving that merge with the 110S is a thrill!
posted by carsonb at 10:22 PM on May 16, 2011


To answer your main question, given the three choices I'd say Eagle Rock. It'll probably be the cheapest of the three rent-wise. Lots of good food and good people and interesting culture happening. (Silverlake and Los Feliz have gotten old and had kids by now—stroller city, ech.) But really if I were you I'd look to moving somewhere in the Valley, closer to Sherman Oaks, and I'd recommend staying off the freeways altogether. Get a job on restaurant row on Ventura, live close to your internship, and visit the hipster enclaves on the weekends. Ha!

Yeah, I agree with this -- Eagle Rock gives you the quickest highway access (and it's the 134, which is way easier and more predictable than the 101, which is more likely what you'd be taking from Silver Lake or Los Feliz) and the best rents of the three. But living in the Valley gets a bad rap, especially where the East Valley is concerned; Studio City/Toluca Lake (where I live)/Sherman Oaks are all pretty liveable and neighborhood-y, have lower rents, and still have quick access (either via the 101 or Laurel Canyon) into Hollywood/Los Feliz/Silver Lake or West Hollywood/Fairfax/etc. for evening or weekend hipster activities. Studio City actually feels like it's even getting some hipster spillover these days, especially along Ventura Blvd.
posted by scody at 10:48 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and on further reflection, the western side of Los Feliz (i.e., closer to Hollywood rather than Silverlake) wouldn't be a bad commute either as long as you're also close to Franklin Ave., because then you can get on the 101 north relatively quickly either via Vine (which, as carson says, can actually be a little aggravating because of the weirdness of the entrance ramp) or via Cahuenga as it winds around by the Hollywood Bowl and the Ford Amphitheater.
posted by scody at 11:16 PM on May 16, 2011


No good way to get on the 101? Vine or Cahuenga? That's crazy, I live on the Thai Town side of Los Feliz just south of Franklin, and I get on the 101 in five minutes at the Hollywood Blvd on-ramp. Normandie, Western, or Vermont on-ramps are less convinient alternatives for those days a crappy band decides to block traffic and play on the freeway.

Anyway, n'thing that you'll be in a great position driving from Los Feliz, ok driving from Silver Lake, and have more trouble coming from Highland Park (although I guess something involving the 134 could be ok) I chose my neighborhood for its combination of walkability and great freeway access (5 or 101) and most days the valley is an easy 20 mins or so.
posted by crabintheocean at 1:54 AM on May 17, 2011


Silver Lake to Sherman Oaks is super super easy- used to do it every day. Totally going the opposite way from traffic. I got on the 101 at Silver Lake Blvd. and would be at work in like 20 minutes.

The only minor inconvenience was running into Hollywood Bowl traffic on the way home in the summer.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:42 AM on May 17, 2011


Totally agree with everyone re: traffic situation. You just never know. I'm born and raised in L.A. and I take surface streets for my commute, though your commute doesn't really lend itself.


Also, Los Feliz is pronounced Los "FEE-Liz", not "FEEL-ez" as the above poster suggested.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:56 AM on May 17, 2011


Oh, oh, also? No guarantees going the other direction on the 101S. That stretch of freeway, between the Hollywood Hills and Downtown LA, has year and again been deemed to have the absolute worst traffic in America. It is totally unpredictable as to when you'll have smooth driving and when it'll be your worst parking lot.

I'll tell you now—driving that merge with the 110S is a thrill!


When I interviewed at Sherman Oaks (interview ended around 3 or so) and drove back to Eagle Rock, the traffic was bad and it took me like an hour. Granted, I was following GPS directions and am not even sure which route I took. But...would the commute home be bad?

I appreciate all the good input. As far as living in the Valley, it just doesn't appeal to me, mostly because of the friend factor. (I don't have any friends there yet; I do in Eagle Rock, Silver Lake, etc.) Maybe I'll look into Studio City just to see...
posted by tacoma1 at 9:36 AM on May 17, 2011


Give Studio City a shot. Some areas of North Hollywood are nice... so's Toluca Lake, where I lived for most of my 20's. There are some nice places in The SFV, fer sure. ;)
posted by luckynerd at 11:22 AM on May 17, 2011


As far as living in the Valley, it just doesn't appeal to me, mostly because of the friend factor. (I don't have any friends there yet; I do in Eagle Rock, Silver Lake, etc.) Maybe I'll look into Studio City just to see...

Yeah, take a look at Studio City. Otherwise Los Feliz might be the best split-the-difference location between where your friends live and where you know you'll be working. As far as L.A commutes/distances go, needing to triangulate between the spaces you're talking about here isn't really all that problematic or nightmarish. (It would be a lot different if you were working in, say, Pasadena and all your friends were in Santa Monica and Venice.)
posted by scody at 2:07 PM on May 17, 2011


check out sigalert.com if you want to sample traffic at various times. or google maps with the traffic predictor turned on. google maps will show patterns for various days/times, although it only takes one accident to mess up your commute...
posted by calgirl at 6:26 PM on May 18, 2011


« Older Best method for posting my downloadable PDF   |   How often will I have the chance to stare at my... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.