Opinion: Westside Traffic Pushing Residents to Brink

Gridlock traffic on the Westside has some residents ready to move.

This was written and submitted by Lisë Davis. Patch accepts opinion pieces on any relevant local topic. Your submission may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a piece to Patch, email it to the site editor.

My husband and I moved from two miles east of the 405 Freeway to two miles west of the 405 Freeway nearly four years ago. In the past three years, the traffic situation in our new neighborhood has only steadily gotten worse, and to the point where we are thinking of leaving Los Angeles. I was born here. My husband has lived here for over 40 years. I cannot imagine leaving, but I cannot imagine staying here if something does not change for the better.

To travel east from our home in Brentwood after 2:30 p.m. is beyond painful and nearly impossible. What would normally be a twenty minute commute turns into an hour. Last month, I left my home to travel east bound for dinner in West Los Angeles. I left my house at 5:00 p.m. and after sitting in basically gridlock traffic for over an hour, I turned around and headed home, having traveled less than one mile. It has gotten to the point where my husband and I feel trapped on an island without the ability to leave. As my husband has said, “We’re prisoners in our own home between 2:30-7:30 p.m. nearly every day.”

I find it ironic that there was a community meeting regarding the I-405 Project, scheduled by Metro, on Friday March 23 in Westwood from 6-8 p.m. My neighbors and I all laughed, though it was not in the least bit funny, that Metro actually thought any of us living west of the 405 would be able to attend at that hour. It could not have been more clear to us just how clueless our city planners are about what the reality of the traffic problem truly is for the communities living west of the 405 Freeway.

I am not renewing our season tickets for The Ahmanson or for The Mark Taper for the coming season. I am grateful that our children have chosen to attend universities outside of Los Angeles. I am grateful that I no longer have a job that requires me to commute eastbound. We no longer drive east unless we absolutely have to. Instead we head into Santa Monica. Los Angeles is losing out on much needed revenue from the communities west of the 405, and this is at a time when every dime could help our city. We are not alone in our choices here.  We have no choice. 

I have no idea how it has gotten so bad. I only know that for those of us who live west of the 405 Freeway, we are unable to live our lives the way we would like to. Perhaps it is time to leave. That is a choice we can make, but I really hope we don’t have to. 

Lisë Davis

graciela huth May 06, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I read all the comments and I only see complaints, no actual facts. We are the only culprits of the traffic mess - not the victims. Los Angeles and particularly the West side, had the most wonderful system of mass transportation. Then the automotive industry, mostly based in other States and the oil industry - with our blessing - completely destroyed it. Until recently, we could still see the rails in many of our main arteries. One of the underground terminals in downtown Los Angeles - a jewel with walls covered in tiles- is carefully hidden behind a locked door. We have a web of tunnels that were never affected by the earthquakes. Why instead of complaining we do not review all those blue prints and see what we can reopen and use to rebuild our public transportation system? Let's -for once- look at the errors of the past and use them to build the future. AND NEVER forget, we are as guilty as the ones who took advantage of us with our full consent.
Mark Elliot May 14, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Very frequently I bike from central Beverly Hills to downtown Santa Monica and it takes me only 30 minutes if I don't tarry. And on most return trips after 4 pm I just marvel at both avoiding the jam and enjoying my own movement, under my own power. Once our roads become more friendly to cyclists, we'll reach the tipping point quickly: the bike will not only be more convenient as a choice, but more enjoyable too. Give it a try today for your short trips and you'll find your legs, lungs and gumption accommodate to the challenge.
Robert H H May 28, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Exactly. There should be a few through surface streets reserved for drivers just trying to get to the neghborhood on the other side of the 405!
cs 5228 June 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM
i work for a lovely couple in the palisades and leave their home for mine in the valley at around 5pm. Im one of those 'valley' people clogging your roads apparently but what would you have me do? there is literally no alternate route to get to my job and no way i can afford living on the west side. i get as frustrated as you do, probably more, when i have to spend an hour and a half commuting from one of my two jobs. the other job which is high end catering brings me back to this area often as well. the residents in this area employ many people which is wonderful but you have to know that we can't possibly afford to live over here so as not to inconvenience your commute to the theater. i understand it absolutely stinks to sit on sunset and literally go .4 miles in 45 minutes but it is what it is. Might I suggest a good audiobook...
Kristin Eberhard August 08, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Amen to bus and bike only lanes! Biking in LA can be dangerous (not least because drivers are so enraged by traffic) and we really need more bike lanes Nonetheless, I, like Cathy am a female biker who follows the rules and rides in bike lanes and smaller streets whenever I can. I live in West LA and ride my bike for all trips less than 5 miles, and it is amazingly liberating! I go so much faster than the people stuck in traffic for hours (my commute to work is 4 miles and 20 minutes with parking right out front every day). For the various commentors sitting in the car for hours to go a few miles - maybe try, one day getting on a biike. Google maps can show you your local bike lanes. For those of you with great suggestions about bike lanes and high speed bus routes, the City of LA wants to hear from you! They are updating their mobility element right now and soliciting feedback from citizens. Go tell them what you want. http://la2b.org/participate/kit/


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