It’s been a while since I’ve vented about driving around LA. A few weeks ago on my way to work, I was beeping so much that my horn gave out, mid-beep. So, it seems like it’s time to exercise a different outlet for that frustration.
LA traffic sucks. I love when people from other cities are all like, “Traffic here is terrible, too!” No dice. I guarantee, we have you beat. It’s not just the gazillion 10-lane freeways that get grid-locked; inter-city driving is brutal too. Come 6 PM, when all the studios let their employees/slaves go home for the day, every major road in this city is jammed. If they’re not, then you’re probably driving head-first into the apocalypse.
The route I take to and from work is a popular route that most people who work at the Burbank/Glendale-based studios take to get to Hollywood and West Hollywood. As with many popular routes and heavily traveled roads, these get backed up such that when a light turns green, sometimes only a car or two can make it through before the light turns red again. If you are taking a left and at an intersection that does not have a left-turn arrow** (i.e., most of Los Angeles), you are even more screwed. At one particular intersection on my way to work, drivers taking Cahuenga West from Hollywood who are turning right onto Barham going into Burbank have an exceptionally long right arrow. Once the arrow goes away, they are still able to turn right on red.
Without fail, every morning, their light will turn red and some a-hole driver doesn’t even so much as pause before flying through the light to turn right. Since I am in the line of traffic that should get to go straight through the intersection when their light is red and mine is green, it pisses me off every single time. It’s monstrously unsafe to not even hesitate when you have a red light like that. Not to mention that traffic often gets backed up in that intersection and even if my light is green, I’m not able to move right away. I have to wait for traffic beyond the light to start moving. The people turning right take this as an invitation to sneak in. Turning right on red is a privilege, not a right. There is a time when you get to turn without question and have the right of way, and it’s when you have a green light. I am a few days away from making a sign to that extent and standing on the corner where they turn.
I would probably get egged. Or shot.
** I have another turning pet peeve, and this is related to the rare and elusive left-turn signal in Los Angeles. Almost every intersection needs one. Only about 5% have them. Opposing traffic never stops long enough for you to actually turn. So, there is an unspoken rule in all of LA, which is that, when the light turns yellow, hopefully opposing traffic isn’t being a bunch of d-bags and actually stops, and then 2-3 cars get to turn as the light transitions from yellow to red. It’s not ideal, but it’s the only way anyone will ever get anywhere. Because of this, when I am at an intersection that offers a left arrow, I am laser-focused on that light changing, and once it turns green, I hammer the gas to get through so that as many cars as possible behind me can turn left before the arrow goes away. I cannot stand when the person at the front is snoozing and lets precious seconds tick by without turning. Worse is when everyone takes the turn as slowly as possible and only a few cars can get through the light. This is LA! A left arrow is like a gift from God! When that light turns, you have a responsibility to yourself, the cars behind you, all of Los Angeles, and civilization at large to hustle through that light like your life depends on it. Do not squander the gift.