You go anywhere in the United States and you would be hard pressed to find a place as busy as Los Angeles when it comes to the traffic on freeways and downtown streets. While it is an exaggeration to say that freeways are always crowded, it isn’t entirely true.
When people mention to others they are from Los Angeles, one of the first things that people think of aside from the southern California weather and beautiful beaches is its overpopulated freeways and congested streets. As an LA native, living in the southern California and commuting to LA frequently has made me ‘comfortable’ to traffic. What I mean by ‘comfortable’ is that driving in and around the LA area, you come to expect the 10 minutes stuck in traffic to get to the 5 south interchange and spending 30 minutes in traffic to go just 3 miles in the morning. To those who haven’t driven in the LA area, 30 minutes may seem absurd but that is just how traffic is in Los Angeles.
By far, the worst time to commute is the early morning rush and the evening rush hour (3:30PM-6:30PM). If you do ever need to go into downtown LA during this time, be prepared for some quality time with your radio. Still, the morning and evening rush hour is something that all LA natives have come to accept and become ‘comfortable’ with.
The answer to why we as LA natives have come to be so ‘comfortable’ with the traffic in LA is like trying to explain how the earth was made. Their are multiple reasons, but one that I feel best explains it is because we feel that their is no way to solve it. What is meant by this is that Angelino’s have become so dependent on driving all over LA that they are willing to put up with the traffic because their is no real solution to it. The two options are to put up with it, or don’t drive. Sure, you can choose to drive at a different hour of the day when their are fewer cars, but this still doesn’t solve the problem of traffic itself. For the rest of us who have to commute into LA to get to work by 9AM, the morning rush hour is our only option.
LA has tried to alleviate the problem by increasing the efficiency of traffic lights and expanding freeways. Still, for every freeway that is expanded, it seems like another has construction on it. Like a disease that has no real cure, the LA traffic situation can be treated by attempting to ‘quarantine’ and ‘contain’ it so that it doesn’t get so out of control that not driving becomes a realistic option.