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  1. #1

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    SoCal rush hour question

    This question is more specific to "Southern California Travel Plans" but that forum looks pretty dead so forgive me for posting this in a higher traffic place (pun intended!)

    ...it's still DLR related


    Okay so I'm driving down from Monterey next Monday and I'm trying to decide if it's better to leave super early in the morning (6-7am) or do the night drive (6pm-midnight).

    If I leave super early I could get an extra half-day at the parks! But if it becomes a horrendous day of crawling the last 100 miles of the 5 than it's probably not worth it.

    I understand the SoCal freeways during the day always have a lot of cars and random accidents happen, but is there a window between 10am-1pm where it theoretically lightens up?

    Knowing more about SoCal traffic patterns, which departure time would you pick?

  2. #2

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    Re: SoCal rush hour question

    We live not too far from you and we always go down the night before and get a fresh start in the morning. We use priceline and have never paid over $50 for a hotel (Hilton, Hyatt, Red Lion). We usually leave around 5-ish and get to the hotel just after 10:00 pm.
    Adults are only kids grown up, anyway - Walt Disney

  3. #3

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    Re: SoCal rush hour question

    Quote Originally Posted by Usul831 View Post
    This question is more specific to "Southern California Travel Plans" but that forum looks pretty dead so forgive me for posting this in a higher traffic place (pun intended!)

    ...it's still DLR related


    Okay so I'm driving down from Monterey next Monday and I'm trying to decide if it's better to leave super early in the morning (6-7am) or do the night drive (6pm-midnight).

    If I leave super early I could get an extra half-day at the parks! But if it becomes a horrendous day of crawling the last 100 miles of the 5 than it's probably not worth it.

    I understand the SoCal freeways during the day always have a lot of cars and random accidents happen, but is there a window between 10am-1pm where it theoretically lightens up?

    Knowing more about SoCal traffic patterns, which departure time would you pick?
    You'll want to get past Downtown by 7AM. You get a whole day at the park in that way.
    7AM departure gets you in about noon. Noon is not so bad, but anything can happen during the day. Lots of trucks, lots of deliveries, lots of traveling salesmen and consultants, etc.

    As I might have discussed in the Mass Transit thread (about the third post), rush hour is from 7:30AM - 10:30AM and from 2PM - 8PM. Plan away from these times if you don't like traffic. Also, listen to 980- or 1070 for traffic reports. These reports generally consist ONLY of accidents and unusual slowing. Usual slowing is not discussed, and as an outsider, you won't know what usual. For example, The 101 from Topanga Canyon in the West The Valley to downtown is usually slow, all the time (well, 7AM - 9PM), both ways!
    If you have a GPS linked with Sigalert (website showing a map of freeways and speeds), that would be optimal. If you have a friend who can be near an internet-hooked PC when you call to ask how sigalert looks at that very moment, that is secondly optimal.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  4. #4

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    Re: SoCal rush hour question

    My experience is I leave the night before and get there by 10pm or 11pm. No traffic in L.A. going thru. Or leave at 4am or 5am get to L.A. around 10am or so and the commute traffic is usually gone by then.

    Granted I live up in the Bay Area and 1.5 to 2 hours north of you. So plan it for arriving when your hitting downtown L.A. just after commute hour has passed and I'm sure you won't have any problems. Or drive down the night before and that way you get a night's sleep before going to the park.

    And I also use Priceline all the time and pay for 3.5 star hotel in Anaheim-Garden Grove area for low to mid 40's a night.

  5. #5

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    Re: SoCal rush hour question

    I live in the city of LA. Even during rush hour, I'm able to avoid traffic by taking a slightly out of the way routing that has carpool lanes the entire way through. Even uring rush hour, this routing rarely takes more than 45 minutes in carpool lanes.

    I-5 --> Downtown Interchange --> Harbor Freeway --> 91 --> I-5.

    You'll reach congestion in the downtown interchange, but that's about it.

  6. #6

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    Re: SoCal rush hour question

    Quote Originally Posted by MAH4546 View Post
    I live in the city of LA. Even during rush hour, I'm able to avoid traffic by taking a slightly out of the way routing that has carpool lanes the entire way through. Even uring rush hour, this routing rarely takes more than 45 minutes in carpool lanes.

    I-5 --> Downtown Interchange --> Harbor Freeway --> 91 --> I-5.

    You'll reach congestion in the downtown interchange, but that's about it.
    I second MAH4546's recommendation, the I-5 out of downtown to the orange county line is TERRIBLE most if not all hours of the day. The 1950's era, three lanes in each direction in some stretches does not cut it!

  7. #7

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    Re: SoCal rush hour question

    LA Traffic is hit and miss, plan on an extra hour to get through the city. If you try to travel through the city late at night, then you might hit road construction and they shut down 3 lanes so you think you'll have no traffic and Cal Trans Strikes anyway....It is what it is.

  8. #8

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    Re: SoCal rush hour question

    Thanks for all the advice!

  9. #9

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    Re: SoCal rush hour question

    First, I'd come down the afternoon before and spend the night - you can get rooms dirt cheap on the web, and you'll be fresh and raring to go. (Who cares if the Candy Cane looks a bit dumpy? Your eyes will be closed most of the time.)

    Do what the smart people do - Avoid I-5 through downtown LA like the plague, even in the mid-day "off hours" it can be bad. And pay attention to the traffic reports to see what other mayhem and destruction is lurking to slow you down.

    Even evenings and weekends are not immune, but the patterns are far less predictable. You never know which stadiums and arenas and beaches and concert halls and racetracks and... are going to be the big draw today, and exactly when it will start or ends. It would be a full time job trying to track it all and predict traffic effects ahead of time.

    Chaos Theory - If you hear there's a game at Dodger Stadium or the L.A. Colliseum, you know it's going to be bad around there and can plan accordingly.

    If you hit at a busy time the best thing is to go WAY around, like cut onto US-134 East to the I-210 East, or even catch I-210 East in Sylmar and take it all the way around if it's really bad), South on I-605, and then east on SR-91.

    If it's bad on the I-210, go even further east and drop down SR-57, but then you have to go West on SR-91 to get back to I-5.

    Either way, you catch I-5 again for the last few miles on the south side of the Orange County line, where it expands out from six lanes to 12 (carpool lanes included).

    The gas you use going the long way around at 65+ MPH (with a carpool lane available most of the way) is far better than crawling down I-5 at 15 MPH.

    They are starting to rebuild and widen I-5 north from the L.A./Orange County line, but if they don't get a huge monetary investment it's going to take them several decades for the project to reach the East LA Interchange and make an appreciable difference. Till then, there's going to be a huge choke point somewhere on the route.

    The Garmin Nuvi GPS units get the local traffic data on sub-carrier through local FM Radio stations, and update automagically. (Haven't got one yet, but they are on my Short List when money becomes available for new toys.) Or there are several sites like Sigalert.com that you can view from a cellphone with internet access, but you need good eyes.

    --<< Bruce >>--
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  10. #10

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    Re: SoCal rush hour question

    Sneaky third option from The 210:
    1. Go straight to last exit (California Blvd.) of the southbound spur.
    2. This also puts at South St John's Avenue.
    3. Traveling south -- do not turn on CA Blvd -- until St John's merges with Pasadena Avenue. You might not even ntice this, as St John and Pasadena are sister streets with traffic in opposite directions.
    4. South on Pasadena Ave to Columbia Street.
    5. Left on Columbia Street, and an immediate right on Fremont Ave.
    6. South on Fremont a few miles to Valley (just after Mission).
    7. East on Valley, for about 1/2 a mile.
    8. South on The 710.
    9. Stay in left-hand lane.
    10. Take either:
    a) South The 5;
    b) East The 105 to South The 605 to East The 91 to South The 5.
    c) East The 91 to South The 5.
    d) South The 405 to East The 22 to North The 5.
    Depending on traffic at the time.

    To any Pasadena, South Pas., or Alhambra residents objecting to this route suggestion through your beloved communities: Advocate the Tunnel!
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  11. #11

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    Re: SoCal rush hour question

    Advocate the tunnel? Surely you jest!

    You might get that advocacy from outside people like me, who have to drive into and through the area on a fairly regular basis. And actively avoid doing it for that exact reason, it takes forever to get anywhere and too easy to get lost.

    The people who live in there want to rip out the freeways that stop there now, let alone put in any more. Heck, they want to put up iron gates and guard shacks and check your ID...

    Caltrans already owns the land, they could bulldoze the vacant houses and finish the 710 through to the 210 'California St. extension' as a tunnel, and the same with the 110 Pasadena Freeway (Arroyo Seco Parkway) - but even a cut-and-cover tunnel would be massively expensive.

    If Pasadena and South Pasadena don't want the freeway on the surface to "cut their communities in half" they can compromise - they can come up with the extra funds to make it into a tunnel. Caltrans only pays to cut a deep trench and build the freeway, the cities can pay for the tunnel roof and to put the dirt back. Then they don't see it along their main thoroughfares.

    You build park land and recreation areas directly over the freeway tunnel proper, for safety reasons. And the 710/110 interchange would have to be left exposed, even if it's all below grade.

    --<< Bruce >>--
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  12. #12

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    Re: SoCal rush hour question

    I don't think The 110 and The 710 have to interchange, so there's one problem solved. The 710 would simply go under. Heck, I wouldn't even have any exits. Just straight through. Maybe with an EZPass toll mechanism to help defray costs.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

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