One of my favorite things to do in life is to drive. Well, except in LA.
Today we’re going to step away from history and food and talk about something real: Traffic.
Let’s be honest, LA is a big city and every region in it has horrible traffic. And each region of this city has some pretty bad intersections, but some in South LA are just plain disrespectful.
That’s why I ranked this list of some of the worst intersections you can drive across in South LA. This isn’t a conclusive list, but it’s an honest one.
San Pedro / Avalon @ Jefferson
Most people know about San Pedro Street, but hardly anyone takes it. If you’re going North and South on the east side of South LA, you’re probably on Central Avenue, Broadway, or even Avalon Boulevard.
But Northbound San Pedro Street is terrible when it ends in Historic South Central.
Heading north, around 41st Street, San Pedro goes from a straight, north-south thoroughfare to a northeast angle. The remainder of the street cuts through South LA at this angle until it almost hits East Jefferson Boulevard, but stops a few feet short, merging into Avalon Boulevard. The only thing keeping any car from ramming into Avalon Traffic is a meager stop sign.
At this junction, you’ll fight with oncoming traffic to turn left onto Avalon before you can turn left or right on Jefferson. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen either too bold to get hit or too scared to move at this intersection.
This one gets 5th place.
Slauson @ Vermont
Here’s a tip for you if you’re not from South Central: Any intersection that has Slauson Avenue in it will have bad traffic and bad drivers. You won’t escape it.
But one of my pet peeve intersections along South LA is probably one of the busiest in South LA: Slauson Avenue at Vermont Avenue.
I get shivers down my back every time I come down this intersection. You’ve got the mega-sized Vermont-Slauson Shopping Center that has a Superior Grocers, CVS, WSS, McDonald’s, Ross, along with strings of other shops. Nearby are two banks, and El Super, and a Taco Bell. Not to mention, there are tons of local vendors on the sidewalk, which is even more of a reason for people to shop here.
Likely, you’ll run across someone willing to to risk their life turning left to get into the shopping center. Take your time. No one is going anywhere fast here.
This gets 4th place.
Slauson @ Western
Remember how I said Slauson was bad? It gets worse.
This intersection wraps around a shopping center that rivals the popularity of Vermont and Slauson center. The Chesterfield Square Shopping Center has a Food 4 Less, Walgreens, McDonald’s, and a Home Depot along with a selection of fast food joints. And, across from the shopping center is a parking outlet for the Slauson Super Mall (Swap Meet).
In short, this place turns into a mess really quickly. Most people are making some kind of left at this intersection, with the most trying to get to Slauson, likely to slide over to the Westfield Pavilion (Fox Hills) Mall or to run errands at the shopping center on Crenshaw and Slauson avenues.
Though Western Avenue is the worst thoroughfare in this intersection. Cars heading South can be backed up several blocks, waiting to get across
This gets 3rd place.
Central Avenue / 105 Freeway @ Imperial
If the 105 Freeway and Central Avenue had an anthem, it’d probably be Back That Thang Up by Juvenile. Any intersection the 105 touches is pretty bad, but the one on Central Avenue is by far the worse.
A terrible thing to do is to take the 105 East and exit on Central and turn left. For starters, when you turn, you probably don’t know which lane to turn into. And if you’re going West of Imperial, you’ll need to scurry your way over to the left in this poorly drawn intersection. But don’t think you’re out of the clear here. Someone is going to cut over. Someone is turning an illegal left in that Shell Gas Station. And someone will be playing old rap music from 2006.
If you’re coming from the West Exit, you’ll be met with inconsiderate cars that block the intersection that will probably make you miss your light.
Avoid this at all costs. This gets 3rd place.
Gage @ Figueroa
If you’re looking to make yourself mad, visit the intersection at Gage Avenue and Figuerora Street during rush hour, Saturday Afternoon, or even a Sunday.
I’ve got quite a few qualms with this intersection. First, City Council, LA DOT, are wrong for not putting a left turn signal at this intersection. Second, people who want to eat at The Family Soul Food Restaurant: Stop holding up traffic turning left over the double lines, because I might not have another opportunity to turn left at this light.
Now, if you’re heading East on Gage Avenue, you’ll see an incredible level of disrespect on this house-lined street. The traffic to get to Figueroa and the 110 Freeway is nearly backed up from Figuerora Street to Hoover Street.
I want to give my sincerest apologies to anyone that lives on this stretch of Gage Avenue. It’s really a shame that we normalized traffic like this on a street that doesn’t deserve it. If you live here, I don’t know how you leave your driveway during the day, but I’ll continue to keep you in my prayers.
And that is first place for the worst intersection in South LA.
Do you have an intersection you don’t like in South LA? Leave it down in the comments below. And share your South LA driving stories too.