5 Best Places to be Stuck in Traffic by Kajon Cermak

Kajon Cermak, KCRW Traffic.

With 10 million people in LA County, 789,000+ in Ventura County and over 3 million in Orange County, why is it that every single one of them is on my freeway at exactly the same time I am going exactly where I want to go? We’ve all experienced some of the same annoying, overly repeated traffic scenarios — driving into Hollywood, southbound on the 101 you can pretty much count on hitting a brick wall at Melrose; the 5 in Santa Fe Springs always seems to bottleneck at the 605; in Orange County the northbound 405 is a nightmare into the Westside and now, through the Valley to the 118; the southbound 405 from Hawthorne to Long Beach always crowded, and then from the 22 to the 73 just doesn’t make sense. And the eastbound 10 from the beach to downtown, don’t even get me started.

Driving on the freeways (or the surface streets for that matter) in Southern California is a boiling cauldron of anger, frustration, fear, exhilaration along with a dash of light comedy. But in that witches brew, in all that humanity, there is also something that we sometimes take for granted — we’re in SoCal! The vistas are a few more ingredients of awesome, beautiful and even breathtaking — and I don’t mean hyperventilating after that third near-miss, rear-ender this month.
Yes, we all agree that traffic bites. BUT, if you do have to languish behind a long line of cars or tired of pretending that the freeway or PCH is your private chicane, here are 5 locations that you probably wouldn’t mind being behind the wheel…

1. Pacific Coast Highway
Dolphins, crashing waves, roller skaters, seals, sunbathers. Put in any order you like.
Location/City: From Santa Barbara County through the OC

2. Disneyland Fireworks
If you’re driving north, you can tilt your head out the window and get a great view of these nightly fireworks.
Location/City: Northbound 5 just north of the 57 in Anaheim

3. The Goodyear Blimp
Children AND men gravitate to this site. Must be the lighter-than-air quality!
Location/City: 405 at the 110 in Carson

4. The Conejo Grade
As you pass the truck scales at the top of the grade heading north, going down the hill, there are gorgeous views of the Channel Islands and the Ventura coastline… and in the winter, there are those days where the snow-capped Los Padres mountains are close enough to make snowballs.
Location/City: Northbound 101 leaving the Conejo Valley into the Oxnard Plain

5. The best place to be stuck in traffic is
The lane that is moving!
Location/City: Anywhere

Next time you’re getting ready to leave, try to leave 15 minutes earlier or more, takes the pressure off, and then you can enjoy some of these great locations and find some of your own. When the going gets tough or if you have a rough row to hoe or if the traffic is still bummer-to-bummer, take 3 deep breaths to keep your blood pressure down and remember to pack a snack.
Let me hear from you. Let me know where those locations are that you wouldn’t mind being stuck in traffic. Even if it’s the drive-thru at In N’ Out, one of my personal favorites.

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