Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


LA Wins 4 of 12 Worst Bottlenecks in the US

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.


With one-third of the worst freeway junctions in this land o' freedom according to Forbes Magazine, somehow, this city still runs. It must be due to the fact that Los Angeles is economically successful: that is, if we go by the theory of economist Anthony Downs who said in the Washington Post that more economic activity equals more cars and more driving. He continues to say that "congestion will remain a fact of life for most Americans."

Unfortunately, Forbes does not mention a lick about public transportation or even question it. Questions we would like to know answers to are what kind of effects will the completion of the Expo and Purple lines have on congestion (if that happens)? Why is there about zero talk of any public transportation over the Sepulveda Pass along the 405? And is congestion pricing the answer?

Perhaps the most poignant question raised in the article was by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters: "[The National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America's Transportation Network] supports leaders with the wisdom and courage to develop plans that will cut traffic now, not years from now." Has Los Angeles' representatives done anything significant to help it right now? And we're talking about action said today, done tomorrow (not the 3 years of construction brand of "now").

Support for LAist comes from

Little things have been done seemingly quite fast: like Wendy Greuel's ban on street construction during rush hour or the Mayor's Tiger Gridlock Team. But those solutions are small-scale. We're looking for someone with big cajones. Someone who is going to be bold enough to have a crazy and great idea that will be controversial, yet bring a working solution to the table (Zev's Pico/Olympic plan perhaps? At least it got people talking). And maybe that person is not a politician, and someone like Eli Broad who should donate his money to traffic problems instead of the arts -- after all, traffic is one of the many reasons many people do not engage in arts patronage.

Whatever the outcome of our standstill will be, with comments like "expect things to get worse before they get better" and "America's heart of traffic pain" in regards to LA, Forbes seems to think our town is hell.

Find LA's 4 bottlenecks, including the complete list after the jump...

The 12 Worst Bottlenecks (link to Forbes photo essay):
1. US-101 and I-405 Interchange

The king of traffic traps costs 27 million plus hours of delay each year. The interchange finished worst in a 2004 study, as well as in 1999 and 2002. The good news: major construction work being done to help, with a hopeful completion date in 2008. The bad news: The work will improve matters, not fix them, and will compound the problem in the meantime.

2. Houston I-610 and I-10 Interchange
3. Chicago I-90/94 and I-290 Interchange
4. Phoenix I-10 and SR-51 Interchange

5. Los Angeles I-405 and I-10 Interchange

This San Diego Freeway exchange causes 22 million hours of delay annually. Now undergoing car pool lane construction, expect things to get worse before they get better.

6. Atlanta I-75 and I-85 Interchange
7. Washington, D.C. I-495 and I-270 Interchange

8. Los Angeles I-10 and I-5 Interchange

Support for LAist comes from
This Santa Monica Freeway interchange causes 18 million hours of delay in a year, adding to the hands-down win by Los Angeles as America's heart of traffic pain.

9. Los Angeles I-405 and I-605 Interchange

This intersection on the San Diego Freeway cost 18 million hours of delay. A conjunction of roads that includes I-710 is overtaxed by trucks serving the nation's busiest ports.

10. Atlanta I-285 and I-85 Interchange
11. Chicago I-94 and I-90 Interchange
12. Phoenix I-17 and I-10 Interchange

Photo by VirtualEm via Flickr