February 21, 2007


I have this theory. Actually, I have this solution.
Traffic in LA is very slow. People break the ice at
parties discussing short cuts and giving each other
secret routes. Even Tallulah Bankhead allegedly
remarked, when asked what advice she would give young
actors in Hollywood, "Take Fountain!" I can confirm
that there's usually less traffic on Fountain Ave. Not
sure it has made me a better actress though?

Having spent months driving and dodging traffic as
best I can in the city, I noticed the following.
People do not pull away from traffic lights when they
turn green. I don't know if it's because they are too
busy on cell phones, playing with the cold coffee in
their super-cool drinks holders ( see:The Hollywood Reporter: take-out? take about!) or checking
out their whiter-than-white smiles in the rear-view
mirror, but it takes roughly 5 seconds for the first
cars to budge. Then there's a painfully slow rolling
across the intersection and not nearly enough cars get
through the light.

I have never seen anything like it. In Europe, the
light usually goes green-orange-red and back to orange
before green, so people start revving up at the orange
signal and fly off at green. In SA, well, people
hardly stop at red lights in the first place, so they
need NO invitation to pull off again.

Now, count from 1001 - 1005 and work out how traffic
jams are caused in LA. Those 5 seconds per light add
up and amount to an extra half hour every time you get
in the car! Interestingly, when people in other places
talk about distance, they talk in kilometres or miles.
In LA, if you ask someone how far a place is, they
say, " It's about 20 minutes." 20 minutes being 2 - 3
miles in distance, but, see, with all the waiting at
green lights it takes you that long on a good day!

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