10 Great Ways to Beat DTLA Traffic in the Heart of the City

Downtown LA Traffic

For everything great about DTLA, the fair city has always had a traffic bane, ironically caused by it being so great. A lot of people want to come here, and do, in their droves.

It is a problem that dates back to before there were even cars in DTLA first incorporated in 1850, when horses and carts were all the rage.

While it seems no way to really change this, there are ways to reduce the risk of getting trapped in gridlock. Here are 10 Great Ways to Beat DTLA Traffic in the Heart of the City…

One. Stick to the Plan!

It is simply a fact of statistics that the less distance needed to travel the less chance there is for something to go wrong. Even if commuters are here for a visit, having a clear plan of where to go each day and sticking to that general area helps things go a lot smoother. 

Two. Pay Attention to the News

Another easy way to avoid the worst traffic while driving is to keep an ear out on the traffic report for any accidents on the intended route. The cleanup from even a one fender bender can take hours and usually slows things down to a crawl at best. If the reporter is good, they not only specify where the accident is, but also alternative routes to avoid it. 

Three. Avoid Construction Zones at All Cost

It is also a good idea to try and avoid construction if possible. With all the new development, these tricky buggers are popping up everywhere. Apps like Google Maps can be a useful tool, making it possible to map up the best route for a trip and if there is any planned construction on the way.  

Four. Packed Houses Equal Packed Roads

Before traveling, it is best to check online to see if there are any events nearby. Political motorcades, parades, protests, and sporting events are particularly bad in terms of packing up the roads. 

Five. Sunday Drivers Rejoice

As with most things, there are also better times to drive than others. In general, morning and evening rush hours are bad times to be driving in the heart of the city, as are lunchtimes, at least in terms of weekdays. Fridays and Saturdays are worse after 4pm but Sunday, on the other hand, is a particularly good day, hence the term “Sunday Drive”, which applies even in L.A. 

Six. Make a Parking Plan with Park Up

When commuters want to drive downtown but leave the vehicle while using alternatives to get around, set up parking for friends and family, or save time and gas when it comes to finding a safe parking space, there is the DTLA favorite parking app, ParkUp. The app, which has become increasingly popular in recent years, minimizes the amount of downtown driving that needs to be done and helps visitors find safe and secure parking.

Seven. Choose a Rideshare Companion

Another way to avoid heartache is to use rideshare services to get around town. Downtown has some state-of-the art options, including driverless cars from Waygo, and patient drivers help passengers ease the pain of having to maneuver around downtown LA alone.

Eight. Leave it to Metro

Buses can be a good option, especially once commuters are already downtown. Run by Metro (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority), bus stops are abundant, drivers stick to schedule, the fair is cheap, and Metro helps commuters get to their destinations on time, making public transportation still the best option for cost-effective travel in the Big City. 

Nine. Take the Subway

Utilizing the rapid transit subway system and light rails of the Metro Connector is still one of the best ways to avoid the clogged arteries of heavy traffic. Metro just opened three shiny new rail stations in downtown LA: Little Tokyo/Arts District, Historic Broadway, and Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill. From Bunker Hill to USC Metro’s Regional Connector to avoid traffic entirely with a smoother, faster, transfer-free pulse beating from between Azusa and Long Beach, and East LA and Santa Monica—all pumping a smoother pulse of traffic from the heart of downtown, Union Station.

10. Got Bike Lanes?

There’s been an ever-growing option of bike lanes that have enhanced the city for almost two decades. For locals and visitors, bikes and scooters have become a more welcome way of transportation and are faster than walking and lots of times faster than a traffic jam.

Author: Trevor McNeil

Growing up in the far north, Trevor James McNeil had little to do other than read when the temperature dipped below 40 Celsius, and he developed an affinity for stories of all sorts. Graduating from the University of Victoria in 2009, he has been reading and writing in a professional capacity since then. He lives in a cabin in the woods with his dog, and firmly believes The Smiths would have been better as a trio. tsmcneil1985@gmail.com