Traffic avoidence tips: Venice to Glendale
November 13, 2005 12:00 AM   Subscribe

LA Residents: Looking for tips on avoiding traffic on a morning commute between Venice and Glendale.

My Girlfriend is starting a job in Glendale soon and we live in Venice (Rose and Lincoln-ish). Anyone got any good routes or hints on how to get around traffic going to Glendale in the morning and coming back to Venice in the evening?
posted by KenFox to Work & Money (11 answers total)
Wow. That's one nasty commute. And by nasty, I mean god-awful. My first suggestion is to try every possible route a couple of times. Experimentation will eventually result in the best outcome. My second suggestion is the 10 to the 5 -- don't bother with the 10 to the 110, that's just courting trouble. From the 5, you should be OK. But the 10 will be murder, especially at nights.

Hmmmm... I wonder how the 405 north is? What if you slipped north, around through the valley? The 405/101 transition is like crapping a watermelon in whichever direction at whatever time of day, but that's an option, at least maybe in the mornings.

It really depends on how creative you want to get, and what time she's traveling. When does she go to work? Thinking surface streets... going east in the AM, Beverly Hills to Glendale is 35 minutes. I'd take Beverly all the way, cut north vermont-ish, and then Los Feliz Bvd. to the promise land. From Venice... How bad is Pico east? That's a possibility. How about Pico to Beverwill to Santa Monica Bvd. to Beverly, then straight on to morning? Those are some first thoughts. I'll try to come up with some others. Nothing too exciting.
posted by incessant at 3:09 AM on November 13, 2005

Try this: Go east on Olympic to Beverly Glen. Take Beverly Glen, going north, over the hill to the SF Valley. When you get to Sunset, turn right but get immediately over to the left. Beverly Glen jogs at that point and you want to turn left from Sunset at the first light. You're going the opposite way of traffic as you go over the hill.

There is a split once you get down the hill, veer left (can't remember the name of the streets). This will take you past Ventura Blvd to the 101. Head east (you will encounter some traffic on this stretch until the 134 split). Keep to the left and take the 134 to Glendale.

There is no totally traffic-free way to go from Venice to Glendale but this may be one with a lot less traffic going into the Valley.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 3:57 AM on November 13, 2005

My friend, you have arguably one of the worst commutes in town (probably second only to the reverse commute) . Forget the 10 or anything in the direction of downtown. The 405 north is actually reasonable and going against traffic, so I'd take that, but skip the 101/134 interchange. As someone else noted, that's a bloody mess. You might consider the 405 into the valley and taking the surface streets (like Riverside or Magnolia to San Fernando) all the way over.

As someone mentioned, you could also always try to substitute the canyons (Beverly Glen, Laurel, Coldwater) or Sepulveda for the 405, but there are lots of people doing that now, and if you're headed north in the morning and south in the afternoon the 405 isn't quite as bad.

A second idea to toy with depending on how early you get out is surface streets through the city: try Venice Blvd East to La Cienega. Left on La Brea, switching over to Highland heading north. Take Highland all the way up to where it connects to Cahuenga near the 101. Make a right on Barham and take it to Olive or Forrest Lawn. By that point there are a couple of surface options depending on which part of Glendale you're headed to, or you could potentially hop onto the 134 as it is much better now that you're close to Glendale.

I know that sounds kind of insane, but your problem is that a) you really have crappy free way access, b) the route through the 10 is ruined by downtown traffic, the 134 is generally a mess of people getting in and out of the valley which also makes the 405 a mess for countless reasons.
posted by drpynchon at 8:33 AM on November 13, 2005

Yowch. That's terrible. Leave early. You may be able to do the 405 N to 5N to 210 E to the 2 S, but that's not by any means a direct route, but at least you the avoid the perpetual mess downtown.

Have you heard about the real-time portable, wireless traffic information solutions? There's a cheapish one that's a simple segmented LCD display that displays traffic conditions on segments of all the SoCal freeways. It's about 99 bucks with a 5-10 dollar per month subscription. The segments blink or change status in realtime depending on conditions.

Combine that with a decent GPS and you can choose better routes.

But there are now GPS units that integrate even more detailed real-time traffic data from a XM satellite radio feed with a fully featured GPS device, including point-of-view maps, alerts, directional callouts and the like.

Those things can turn even the average driver and car into a tiny mobile God of commuting, as you can adjust your route on the fly.

Even as a native SoCal resident I found myself using my oldschool Garmin eMap on a regular basis with great success, but generally as a navigator rather than a driver.

Many of these devices aren't really that optimized for complex interactions while driving. Though, I have no experience with voice-command enabled units or dashboard specific units.
posted by loquacious at 8:38 AM on November 13, 2005

I was for a minute going to suggest your GF trys carpooling, but then there isn't a carpool lane on the 10. Or the 101. Or the 405 north. And only as far as Wilshire on the 405 south.

I second investing in a GPS device - every time I see heavy traffic up ahead I just turn it on and dive off onto surface streets. Is doing so necessarily faster? I don't know, but at the very least it stops me pulling all my hair out.

Having said that, I commute Hollywood to Santa Monica, and taking surface streets on the way home (Sunset mostly) is much faster than the freeway.

I think the task ahead for your GF is every day finding the path of least resistance....
posted by forallmankind at 9:08 AM on November 13, 2005

I drove Venice (Westminster & Speedway) to Glendale for 5 years ('89-'94).

I never found a good way. That 10 drive simply is unavoidable.

The one trick I woudl use on occasion is to hop off the 10 before it got to the 110 and take surface streets to the 2. Taking the 2 over to Glendale does avoid the 110/downtown nastiness.

Good luck.
posted by Argyle at 9:33 AM on November 13, 2005

I'll also second using surface streets and discovering the path of least resistance. It doesn't make any sense, but really how much of LA makes sense anyway?

This is apocryphal but I have a friend who lives in Santa Monica who works in Chatsworth and has parents who live in Glendale, and he drives those routes on a near-daily basis.

I've seen him do impossible things on the streets of LA, taking routes that I had no idea even existed. And we're not talking about easy stuff like the 101 to Sunset combos, we're talking like I had no idea where the heck I was, as though he was just slipping through alternate dimensions of LA like some kind of mad crazy wizard. If he didn't already have a fine job, he could make a killing as a high speed specialty courier, as he is able to consistently halve the time driven for any route in that area by half or more.

There was one time we went from Glendale to Santa Monica during peak late afternoon commute hours where we somehow routed through the backside of Glendale and skipped the SF Valley entirely, ending up in North-East Hollywood Hills area to the west of Silverlake after passing through some totally unpopulated resevoir and park area and taking what amounted to a fairly brief dirt access road that lead into some twisty canyon residential area barely a car-width wide, skipping along the backside of northern Korea Town and slipping beneath Hollywood proper, bouncing off the edge of Beverly Heights and hills and the next thing I knew we were in Santa Monica.

It was like a completely different city. I was blown away. Barely any traffic. Roads I have never even heard of before. Light stop-sign and traffic lights the whole way.

Granted, he has an Audi and he drives like a well-trained European or German, always safe and focused but always at maximum allowed speeds. I generally hate cars, commuting and LA's car culture, but I always love going for rides with this guy because it's just a thing of beauty.


That's the sort of thing your GF needs to learn if she really wants to turn her commute into something more pleasant that doesn't resemble a never-ending battle. It's an innate knowledge of the area, the streets, what actually connects where and where everyone else is already going.

A good GPS, a current Thomas Guide and maybe a traffic monitor device can go a long ways towards learning this kind of stuff. I know it's possible because I've seen it, and it's a beautiful thing. Like watching world-class martial artists dancing in swordplay or something.
posted by loquacious at 9:35 AM on November 13, 2005 [1 favorite]

Argyle: What was your surface route from the 10 to the 2? I often went all the way through downtown to Glendale Blvd North until the onramps to the 2 freeway proper, or sometimes Washington or Wilshire to Alvarado to Glendale Blvd North.

But routing through downtown can be confusing as hell, what with all the one-ways and that whole snafu with the tunnel under 1st or 2nd or whatever that is. You basically have to do a big three point U-turn to get going the right way, and it's the *only* way to get to Glendale Blvd through that area.
posted by loquacious at 9:43 AM on November 13, 2005

Oh, and the 110 between the 101 and South Pasadena is just a wreck of a freeway.

Yeah, I realize it's ancient and like the first true freeway in the world or whatever, but people die there all the time 'cause it's all twisty and the entrance/exit ramps are all like 3 feet long and all that. Always scary around 2am, but lots of fun at 4am in a good car at high speeds. It's like playing Wipeout or something.
posted by loquacious at 9:47 AM on November 13, 2005

If you're new to LA, use Sigalert frequently until you get an intuition about traffic patterns on freeways.
posted by muddgirl at 10:48 AM on November 13, 2005

I commute from Rose and Pacific in Venice to Glendale every day, and have 2 friends who do the same.

10 to 405 to 101 to 134 is consistently the best route. In the morning the 101 will kill you, in the evening it's the 134 and then the 405 past Mulholland. Leave early in the morning and late at night - otherwise it's an hour in the morning and 90 minutes in the evening.

Best of luck.
posted by gregariousrecluse at 10:45 AM on November 14, 2005

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