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Is the 101 the nation's worst freeway? Let the debate begin

101

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The notorious Hollywood Freeway is so congested that the Daily Beast recently ranked the 101, during rush hour, as the worst metropolitan-area freeway in the nation.

There are several Southern California freeways that commuters claim are the most congested – and experts say determining which is the worst depends a lot on how one asks the question.

The 405 through the Westside is a perennial champion, as is a section of 91 Freeway between Riverside and Orange counties.

Then there is the dreaded 10 each morning into the Westside. Transportation officials have discussed making major improvements to some of the Hollywood Freeway’s interchanges and bottlenecks – particularly around downtown L.A. at the 101-110 interchange – but those are years away.

Even the mayor’s deputy of transportation, Jaime de la Vega, talked about the ills of the 101 during a casual conversation last week – Vega said he carpooled with his wife to work on that freeway each day, but his commute was hampered because there were no carpool lanes.

Is the 101 really the worst? Or do you have a different candidate? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz

Photo: Rush hour traffic on the 101 in Encino. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (70)

405 right around the 10 intersection is worse, however, I will agree with other comments that the 5, especially 5 South heading out of LA during rush hour, is worse for a longer stretch of freeway than either the 405 or the 101.

IT IS FUNNY THAT YOU SHOULD ASK AT THIS TIME WHEN THE HIGHWAY SYSTEMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE REALIZING A SORT OF JUNCTURE OR CROSSROADS OF TIME. YOU MAKE IT SOUND LIKE A COLLEGE COURSE, FREEWAYS 101 ELECTIVE OR REQUIRED? FIFTY YEARS HAVE BROUGHT US HOW FAR IN THE FORMERLY CALLED ASPHALT JUNGLE? HANG ON TO YOUR HORSES IS ALL I CAN SAY, HORSEPOWER, THAT IS. WE ARE CAUGHT UP IN A THING OF CELEBRATION WITH THREE IMPORTANT AND VITAL REASONS FOR THE OCCASION AND THAT IS THE COMING OF TELEVISION TO AMERICAN LIVING ROOMS, THE COMING OF CANCER TO BOO THE LIVING LIFE AWAY FROM US AND THE NOW TOO CROWDED FREEWAY SYSTEMS. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE. THE PACIFIC IS APPARENTLY NOT AS PEACEFUL AS IT USED TO BE.

The 101 coming south from Thousand Oaks is like a vast river; mysterious and powerful. The cars flow like clusters of red and white blood cells; through an artery in society's colossal body.

"Man I'd like to get my hands on the guys that killed the Red Cars."

Posted by: Alan | January 26, 2010 at 03:05 PM

Actually, you do have your hands on them. You and every other taxpaying American own over 60% of one of the ringleaders:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Electric_Railway#The_.22General_Motors_conspiracy.22

I agree, I travel the 5, 405...but 101 is seriously the worst. Theres never a break in traffic there...at least on other freeways there is a such thing.

Agreed! Totally embarrassing to be such a large city with such a limited metro system. If California really wants to be the cutting edge in going green...they need to work out the transportation issues in LA!

The 101 the worst freeway? No way! Every time I use its beautiful four lanes through redwood groves i think there is no finer freeway anywhere. Usually I have it almost to myself.

Bud up in Humboldt County

The 5 between the OC line and the 605. Kennedy Expressway in Chicago.

Not only is the 101 the "worst metropolitan-area freeway in the nation" it is the worst freeway ever, anywhere. Try driving it between Ventura and Santa Barbara at 70 mph. T-e-r-r-i-b-l-e-!!!! ...or at 12 mph.

It's just so happened that 101 is one of the freeways I can't possibly omit regardless of where I am going. If everyone else feels the same, that sure explains it!

It beats walking.

I've taken a road trip from LA to the North Coast and back via 101, that's at least 600 miles there. And all the encounters along the way have make me conclude that, yes, 101 is (so far and by far) the worst traffic-wise (esp in LA, SF, and some small towns where the freeway turns highway.) But I have to say, the sceneries are definitely beautiful and worthwhile. If we forget about LA and move up to the 101 in the North Coast, it is one of the best freeway in CA! Especially that they've just finished repairing and repaving most of the sections from Sonoma to Humboldt counties. If 101 has to be the worst freeway in the nation, I would say the reason varies depending on where and when you are on the 101.

Route 76A leads north from Kabul and may have improvised explosive devices planted alongside the highway where drivers can be blown to bits.

It's not crowded but it's a pretty tense commute.
A few IED's planted along the 101 would go a long way to clear up traffic jams.

Facetious?
A spate of freeway shootings a couple of decades ago resulted in a net reduction of fatalities -- drivers were much more polite and very careful.

Whatever the disincentive, whenever L.A. finds a way to make it a lot more expensive to drive the 101 will be the day the 101 is a fast, smooth ride.

Don't forget about the horrible traffic jam when the 405N and 5N connect....

Ever driven in Cairo lately? It's a suicide mission and the pedestrians cross streets at a full gallop to save their lives!

Hwy 17 from Scotts Valley to San Jose is a death trap! The banking at turns were improperly calculated and are very dangerous to navigate.

If you leave early enough in the morning, the 101 South is not too bad. The 110 from the 101 to the 10 is always busy. It's unusable for most of the day in both directions. The problem with the Metro and bus lines is that most people have to transfer to get anywhere you might actually want to go. I'd like to see more raised HOV lanes like the 110 has south of the 10. With fewer on/off ramps and two lanes in each direction they could serve as express lanes for people with longer commutes.

For all of you who commented about the I-405/CA-134 interchange, IT DOES NOT EXIST!!

I-405 never comes within 5 miles of CA-134!

Please check a map and make comments about places that DO Exist.

Some posters have mentioned the capitol beltway in parts. I found DC traffic (beltway bridges, Shirlington interchange, route 66 into the city & @ Tysons Corner) moves much slower than the 405 through the westside, which I am on nearly every morning. The horse-oriented wagonwheel road design combined with rivers means no parallel "surface streets" and there are no freeway style hiways in the city.
At least there are boulevards here in LA when the freeway clots off completely. On the other hand, I took fast clean and safe Metro most days, and I wish I had the option here.

I check Google maps everyday before leaving work, I also check it often on my iphone. It amazes me how much traffic exists on a daily basis in the LA area.

While you will encounter traffic with most commutes in LA, I have noticed the 101 is especially congested, with red lines that seem to be as long as the Nile herself. Just looking at Google maps this minute makes me want to cringe.

The 5 between the 91 and the city is also constantly congested (3 LANES ??? WTF) but doesn't seem as long and intense as the 101.

 
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