Monday, October 11, 2010

The Miracle of Columbus Day: LA to OC in 65 Minutes During Rush Hour

I live in Orange County, which means driving up to LA is as pleasant has a root canal without Novocain. LA is a great city, but the traffic is a living nightmare.

Pick your poison for the 45 miles, the 5 to the 101, 10, or 134, the 5 to the 605 to the 91, 60, 10, or 210, the 57 to the 91, 60, 10 or 210, the 405 to the 110 to the 10 or 101, the 5 or 405 to the 710 to the 60 or 10, but not the 210 since the 710 dies in South Pasadena. While names might appear on some of these freeways, such as the Santa Ana or the Arroyo Seco, they’re known just by numbers, and the traffic jams distributed equally. The basic rule is to memorize your Thomas Guide.

Driving twice the distance to San Diego is a joy in comparison.

Today I left class at 1:00am for a 2:30 doctor’s appointment at Kaiser’s Sunset and Vermont facilities, a roughly 40 mile drive, which took 90 minutes a couple of weeks ago. I anticipated a 2 hour drive, regardless of the route taken with the assistance of Google Map on the IPhone. The shortest route is often not the quickest.

I was hoping to leave Kaiser about 4:00pm, which would necessitate a visit to one of LA’s great museums until 7:00pm, when rush hour traffic would lighten up. Even then the drive could take 90 minutes.

However the medical visit lasted until 5:00pm. Google Map showed the freeways clear to the OC with barely a trace of red during rush hour. That couldn’t be right, but Google is never wrong. We must trust any company that routinely beats Microsoft.

So I relied on blind faith in Google Map. The drive home, a straight shot on the 101 to the 5 took 65 minutes with no accidents on the road only 8 dead stops in traffic.

The East LA (Boyle) interchange was a piece of cake.

This drive was truly a miracle, as Angelinos and SoCal residents can attest. It could not be humanly possible.

Of course, it’s Columbus Day – not a miracle. It is a national holiday observed by government employees and banks. Most of us do not get Columbus Day off, but even more impressive than Charlton Heston parting the Red Sea on a parking lot at Paramount Studios, Columbus cleared a passage to LA. He never found the passage to India and the spice trade. He may or may not have discovered America – the Vikings clearly preceded him. His sailors may or may not have brought syphilis to the Old World from the New World, and he clearly did not discover the City of Angels, and his name is not on many public places in California, but his Holiday opened the freeways, and that is a miracle.

That and the 12.4% unemployment rate in California and 12.6% in Los Angeles Country.

My colleagues who commute from LA said the drive became much easier two years ago with the economic collapse.

Thank you Christopher, and thank you Barack.

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