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12 Driving Shortcuts in Los Angeles


No coverage of LA would be complete without some of the city's driving shortcuts. Director Robert Altman understood this key part of the culture when he titled his LA-based movie (starring Julianne Moore) Shortcuts. Finding a quicker or less trafficked way to your destination is a must in a driving town like ours.

Some prefer rustic back routes. For others it's all about streets with few traffic lights, or even alleyways. There are short cuts that become so popular they earn nicknames like Fountain Ave. in Hollywood, also known as "The Fountain Freeway." Here is a list of just a few of LA's many shortcuts.

1. Palms to Westwood and UCLA

Turn left on Pico Blvd. from Motor Ave. going north. Then turn left on Beverly Glen Blvd. Pass Wilshire Blvd. and turn left on Comstock St. until you get to Hilgard Ave., which is a back entrance to the east side of UCLA (near the sculpture garden).

2. West LA to The Valley

Drive down Sunset Blvd. to Bellagio Rd. and turn into it (north). Bear right on Roscomare Rd. which winds all the way up to Mulholland Dr. Make a right and then a left on Woodcliff Rd., which will take you down to Valley Vista Blvd. where you make a right. Make a left on Saugus Ave. which hits Ventura Blvd., one of the Valley's main east/west arteries.

3. West Side to the Beach

Brentwood's San Vicente can be a smooth cruise (with few stop lights to slow you down) especially after Bundy Dr. Watch your speed though, as police know that you know about this quick route.

4. West Hollywood at Rush Hour

If you're heading east on Sunset Blvd. from the West Side, through Hollywood you can turn right in the alleyway just before Doheny Dr., a popular bumper-to-bumper shortcut back to the Strip or down to Santa Monica Blvd. (for the Strip-frustrated).

5. Venice to Miracle Mile

If the 10 Freeway (the most obvious route) is jam-packed, take Palms Blvd.

6. Century City to Downtown

If you're freeway phobic, especially during rush hour, Olympic Blvd. is a great alternative. It's usually smooth sailing. When it's not, it's easy enough to make almost any right turn and head onto Venice Blvd. which eventually winds into the southern part of S. Figueroa St. jutting you out into Downtown.

7. Hollywood to Beverly Hills

Take Cahuenga Blvd. to Mulholland Dr. and make a sharp left. Take Mulholland Dr. all the way to Coldwater Canyon Dr. Hairpin it left and drive down Coldwater and you're in Beverly Hills. This may not be a shortcut (time saver) per se as it's windy but it's a beautiful drive, often with much fewer cars.

8. The Valley, West Hollywood to Downtown

Take Laurel Canyon Blvd. (the most trafficked portion of this shortcut) south. It turns into Crescent Heights. Blvd. Make a left on Melrose Ave. and a right on Vine St. That turns into Rossmore Ave., which is usually smooth sailing. Take Rossmore south and if you want to avoid the freeway, make a left on Beverly Blvd. to Downtown. This sure beats sitting in 24/7 bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 101.

9. Crenshaw to Miracle Mile and Hollywood

Hauser Blvd. will take you to Miracle Mile easily. It then turns into Martel Ave. at Third St. and goes all the way up to Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. Continue further, and at Willoughby Ave. or Waring Ave. you can drive west onto Gardner St. and take that to Hollywood Blvd. and its main crawl.

10. Mar Vista and Inglewood Using Inglewood Avenue

An alternative to the 405 freeway or Sepulveda Blvd., Inglewood Ave. starts in Mar Vista and continues through to Florence Ave. in Inglewood. Be warned that at Jefferson Blvd., Ingelwood Ave. changes names and becomes Centinela Ave.

11. Mt. Washington, Elysian Park, Echo Park, Culver City to LAX

Take surface streets to the 110 and go south. Take the 105 west towards LAX. Get off at Sepulveda Blvd., which connects to Century Blvd. and the airport.

12. Glendale, Eagle Rock, Hollywood to LAX

Drive west on Melrose Ave. or Hyperion Ave. The latter turns into Fountain Ave. Turn left on La Cienega Blvd. Bear right on La Tijera Blvd. Go left on Sepulveda Blvd., which leads into Sky Way and the airport.

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