Long Beach to Valencia, CA: which route will suck less?
October 3, 2012 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Ahoy, Los Angeles commuters! Out-of-town friends are heading from Long Beach to Valencia this Friday afternoon and have tasked me with recommending whether they should take the 405 vs. the 710 to the 5. (In terms of mileage, they're basically identical.) Help me steer them right.

They'll be leaving Long Beach around 3:00 or 3:30. I am a kneejerk anti-405'er, but I don't have actually much experience driving the 710, so I can't really say if it poses any advantages or not. I also don't know if the 405 has improved in any way in the immediate aftermath of Carmageddon II: Commuter Boogaloo. (Bonus points if you have info regarding the relative merits of carpool lanes for either route.)

Either way, I'll suggest that they check with sigalert.com before they leave, but I'd like to give them a reasonable idea ahead of time of what to expect. Thanks!
posted by scody to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total)
I would take the 405. It shouldn't be too bad with the carpool lanes (I think there's only one spot near LAX where the carpool lane goes away for a bit). I haven't driven much on the 710, but it seems to be full of trucks and rather nerve-wracking.

Can they leave any earlier? Even an hour or so will make a huge difference in terms of traffic.
posted by mogget at 12:15 PM on October 3, 2012

I find the 710 to be terrifyingly truck filled, and it does seem to routinely host some grim accidents, but I will never ever take the 405 if I have another option. Not irrational prejudice, I worked in both Westwood and Long
Beach while living in Los Feliz. The 5 can be surprisingly good on a weekday pm too, at least up to downtown. 710 to 5 all the way!
posted by crabintheocean at 12:17 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I used to live in Valencia. I relied mostly on the 405. Yes, it sucks. But the 5 is going to be horrific too by the time they get north of downtown LA, because that will be right in the midst of rush hour (which is already bad leaving downtown long before 5:00 p.m.).

Another option is to take the 710 to the 5, and then once they reach downtown LA get on the 110 through Pasadena to the 210. The 210 is not going to be nearly as bad going north as the 5.
posted by something something at 12:18 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Every time I take the 405 somewhere (including yesterday) I regret it.

Yesterday had a brush fire near LAX one way that slowed it all down. On the way back, an accident closed off 2 lanes near the Getty.

And I was in the carpool lane!!

I'm afraid of big trucks and manage OK on the 710. We go to Long Beach a lot, and I'm voting the 710.

We come home 710 to the 5 during rush hour sometimes, and it's not so bad!

Taking the 405 to the 110 will not work because the 110 CRAWLS once you reach downtown. *shudder*

Final answer?

710 to the 5, picking up the 110 above downtown, through to the 210. Upon preview what something something said!
posted by jbenben at 12:25 PM on October 3, 2012

The key to this entire endeavor is just to take a deep breath and expect it to take two hours, whichever route they choose. That way they might be pleasantly surprised if it takes less.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:25 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

If they want to go from 5 to 210, the way to do it is to go up the 2, not 110. 110 twists and turns and then dead ends in the middle of Pasadena where you have to then drive through traffic lights and whatnot. The 2 goes straight from the 5 to the 210 and it connects to the 5 just a mile or so from the 110.
posted by The World Famous at 12:30 PM on October 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

The 405 has more lanes and while that means there are more cars, it also means that they move faster, especially at freeway interchanges. I suggest the 405. Also, most of it is carpool lanes so that will be a big help.
posted by inviolable at 12:58 PM on October 3, 2012

Last time I tried to get from the South Bay to the north side of L.A. at that time of a weekday, I took the 405. It took more than two hours to get from El Segundo to Santa Monica Boulevard. In the HOV lane.

I hate the 710 because a) trucks, and b) it's not as straight in real life as it looks on a map. The 5 through downtown L.A. is always frustrating and a mess. But they both beat sitting in a parked car on the 405 waiting to get up that stupid hill.
posted by The World Famous at 1:09 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Long Beach resident here.

The key here is carpool lanes.

The 405 has them. The 710 does not.

If your visitors were not allowed to use the carpool lane, then it's 710 -->10-->5 or 710-->10-->5-->2-->210.

Don't recall if the 5 through LA, Burbank and the Valley has carpool lanes. The 5's an old freeway, so I'm thinking not. Looks like not [PDF].
posted by notyou at 1:12 PM on October 3, 2012

If they could leave at 2 pm instead of 3 pm, they'd have a much better trip.
posted by notyou at 1:16 PM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thanks, all! Rather than recommend one specific route, I'll let them know the particular pros and cons (they may not care about trucks on the 710, for example, but may consider the lack of carpool lanes a deal-killer). I'll also see if they can leave earlier.
posted by scody at 1:23 PM on October 3, 2012

The 5 does not have HOV lanes between the 170 and the LA/OC County Line. They are in the process of building them between the 134 and the 170, so there are a lot of construction zones through Burbank.

Are they adventerous, and handy with a map? Because my surface street alternative would be 710-405-110HOV to Adams St exit, then up Figueroa all the way until it dumps onto the 110 (except for the dead middle of downtown between 8th and 3rd, Fig moves very well at rush hour), then 5 to 2 to 210, and back to the 5.
posted by hwyengr at 1:31 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I live 2 miles from the 405.
I will drive 10 miles in the wrong direction to avoid it.
Personally, from Long Beach, I would use the truck filled and scary 710, or find my way over to the 110.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:52 PM on October 3, 2012

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