A good friend of mine passed this advice along to me when I made the leap to funemployment: schedule all of your errands between 10AM and noon.
Although all of the hours in the day are theoretically free and clear, the only time to get anything done that requires a car are those two magic late morning hours. Beyond that: the day will fall victim to the traffic surrounding quick to-dos.
Every other usable hour in LA is part of a traffic situation, not including the post midnight ones when nothing constructive is open. 7-10 is morning rush hour. Then you have your magic hours: DVR SVU and use them wisely. After that, 12-2:30 is lunch traffic (specifically sushi traffic if you are venturing to Ventura Boulevard). 2:30 - 5 is “leave work early” traffic (which you would not think would be as heavy as normal rush hour, but you’d be dead wrong). 5-8 is evening rush hour. Overlapping that is the 7-9 dinner/gotta get to premiere seating traffic. Overlapping that is the 8-midnight movie/drinks/gotta get to the after party traffic. Then I guess you could drive around, but the dry cleaner and Bank of America closed 3 traffic cycles ago, so what’s the point?
Sure the morning and evening rushes are among the worst, but they’re all pretty bad. Forget trying to get to LAX in the morning, around 2:30PM (the last direct non-red eye flights to the east coast are at 4ish), or pre any of the 9pm - 1am red eyes. The traffic on all sides of the Grove at all hours (other than magic ones) is incomprehensible for a quasi-mall that doesn’t even have a shoe store. The left lane of Beverly Boulevard between the Beverly Center and the Beverly/Santa Monica intersection is generally backed up with all the cars taking a left into Cedars (how many emergencies are there, anyway)? The real reason people in Hollywood never see their friends in Brentwood has nothing to do with the fact that the Brentwood folks are considerably more successful: it’s the vortex of hate we call Westwood Center. And don’t even get me started on the section of the 101 that runs through Downtown. I don’t care what bar-I’ll-never-really-go-to-because-it’s-east-of-Western just opened; I am not braving the 101 for that nonsense.
It’s all a cluster. Except for magic hours. Then all of these red sig zones just clear up. Perhaps it’s because they are the only two hours where people with jobs consistently get work done; they were definitely my productivity times when I worked from an office. Had I known how quickly I could drive from Hollywood to Santa Monica at 11AM, I probably would have rescheduled my life long ago.
I might have even started a daytime drag racing club.
I might even have a friend in Brentwood.