LA Traffic Times to Avoid & Other Sanity-Saving Tips
by Erica Garza
Traffic is as synonymous with Los Angeles as the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Venice Beach, but whether you’re a transplant or a long-time resident, no one likes to spend the better part of the day stuck behind the wheel. To keep you mobile (and sane), so you get to that audition/Rams game/yoga class on time, try these tips on LA traffic times to avoid, how to make the most of other forms of transportation, and ways to make your trip smoother when your ride suddenly come to a halt somewhere along the 101.
Avoid Rush Hour
Seems like a no-brainer, but according to the most recent Urban Mobility Scorecard provided by Inrix, Angelenos spend 102 hours each year stuck in traffic, mostly during rush hour. In LA, morning rush hour is between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., while afternoon rush hour occurs between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. While roadwork and unexpected accidents can create traffic at any time of day, you can almost always count on being gridlocked during these windows, so you’re better off avoiding the road altogether.
Take the Metro
Some Angelenos forget that there’s a subway right beneath their feet, and while light rail service can be slower than you find in a city like New York, it’s still an affordable and convenient option. Best of all, it’s immune to traffic. Most lines run from before 5 a.m. to midnight or later on weekdays, with service until 2 a.m. on weekends. Trains operate as often as every five minutes during peak times, although you may be stuck waiting around 20 minutes during late-night service.
Rent a Scooter
If you loved riding a scooter as a kid, you’re in luck. It may just be your way out of traffic. This new form of transportation in LA is called “micro-mobility,” and all you need to participate is a helmet and an app. The most popular brands for rentable scooters are Lime and Bird, and rules include having a valid driver’s license or instructional permit, limiting to one person per scooter, and never parking your scooter on the sidewalk. Instead of wondering why LA traffic is so bad, be a kid again.
(Mentally) Avoid Traffic
So, you tried to physically avoid traffic, but you wound up getting stuck anyway. It happens to the best of us. Instead of trying to decipher the personalized license plate of the person you’ll be crawling behind for the next hour and change, make the most of your time. You’re living in the age of the podcast, so tune in. Music more your thing? Try something relaxing if you feel road rage coming on or join Audible and finally read, er, listen, to that book you’ve been meaning to read. The truth is nobody likes to be stuck in traffic, but when it happens, don’t sweat it. In a fashionable city like LA, it’s no big deal to be fashionably late.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. She holds a master’s degree in writing from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, The Telegraph, and VICE.