All Paths Lead to Traffic

Sitting in traffic every day of the week can make any sane man crazy, especially if you are not used to doing such. Before my job was relocated to Irvine, I was based out of an office in Cerritos. Cerritos is in a near-perfect location if you live in Los Angeles, as I do. This is true because you are traveling against the traffic. During my morning commute, I would take the 110 South to the 105 or the 91 east, and it would only take me about 25 mins. However, if I had been going from Cerritos to L.A., the drive would have taken me well over an hour – There is always a pile of traffic headed toward the city center in the morning. Before I began driving to Irvine every day, I thought that traffic wouldn’t be as bad, because I was still driving from L.A., going against the traffic. I was correct to some extent – there was no traffic driving out of the city. However, there is traffic as you enter Orange County. Apparently I wasn’t the only person whose job was relocated to Irvine. I sat in traffic on the 405 every single day. The 15 mile stretch from Westminster to my exit at Von Karmen will took me about 50 minutes. Absolutely terrible! The drive back is not any better.

In attempts to bypass some of the bottleneck, I tried a myriad of alternate routes. I tried the routes which included the following: the 5 Freeway, the 55 Freeway, the 22 Freeway, Pacific Coast Highway, Warner Avenue, Edinger, Talbert to MacArthur, and Slater to Barranca, and I found that no matter how hard I try, all of the routes take about the same amount of time. There is no escaping this traffic as it is permanently installed on all the highways and major streets. And on the minor streets for that matter, because I’ve tried that, too! I tried cutting through residential areas of Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach and Westminster to no avail.

When I finally came to grips with the fact that there is no path of least resistance into or out of Irvine during rush hours, I still hadn’t learned my lesson. I was still determined to discover transportation secrets of Los Angeles that no one knew about, so that I could share them with my loved ones. My next task was finding a quick route from Irvine to Sunland, where my girlfriend was living at the time.

The first time I drove to Sunland, it took me about 2 hours. That could have been because I stopped on the way to get her flowers, or it could have been because the 405 to the 110 was packed with people trying desperately to get home after work. The freeway was so packed that I took the 101 to avoid some of the downtown traffic. I ended up hitting more traffic when I took the 101 and exited in Echo Park to take the 2. It took me almost a half an hour to get on the Glendale Freeway. After that however, I must admit it was a breeze to the 210 and the exit at Sunland Boulevard.

I was sure that there must be a faster way to Sunland. I tried taking the 710 Freeway to the streets of Pasadena to the 210. It didn’t work. Traffic abounded, and I still arrived at my destination about two hours later. So the next time, I thought I could avoid some of the Pasadena traffic by taking the 605 from Cerritos, but I had to illegally insert myself into the carpool lane just to keep my sanity. Apparently there is traffic at all ends of the
San Gabriel Valley, and at all ends of Southern California for that matter. And yes, you guessed correctly, I still arrived in Sunland in about two hours. None of my shortcuts ever worked, and that is when I truly understood the extent of the traffic problems in L.A. I thanked the Lord above when my future wife moved from Sunland to Baldwin Hills.