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keishashadow
04-26-2005, 06:22 PM
The main reason I'm hesitant to visit DL is the infamous freeways. We live near Pittsburgh and do rent a car in Orlando. My DH (who has a CDL) isn't too crazy about driving in the LA area either. The older I get, the more anxious I become when navigating strange, multi-lane roads (what a chicken!).

We have to fly into LAX. I'm aware that there are plenty of transportation options available to DL from the airport. But, we'd like to explore the general area beyond DL for a few days, either the beach area or Las Vegas. Would we realistically need to rent a car or are there additional transportation options available?

Mary Jo
04-26-2005, 06:27 PM
There are other transportation options, however, you really have to evaluate what is more important to you -- not driving and hiring a taxi or limo, or taking busses that will add to your travel time (if you miss a bus, you have to catch the next one, etc.), or the flexibility and freedom that renting a car will give you - put stuff in the trunk, won't have to lug it around, pick up and go when you want, etc.

Good luck in whichever decision you make.

only1mouse
04-26-2005, 08:14 PM
I can relate. Driving in LA does make me nervous (I always joke with my boss that flying used to make me nervous, now it's driving the LA freeways), but most of the time when I fly in I'm by myself. I've gotten used to it now and know the route I need to take as if I'd lived their all my life.

If I have a person helping me navigate it's much better and driving during the day helps as well.

It is a very tough decision, and Mary Jo has some great points. You will have more flexibility with your travel plans if you do rent a car.

you'll have a great time, I'm sure, with whatever decision you make.

dis-happy
04-26-2005, 11:26 PM
I'm from So. Calif., transplanted to the East coast. We go back to visit regularly, and one thing you should know: California freeways are the easiest, most navigable freeways ever designed, with plenty of lanes to move cars along, large and frequent signs telling you where you are and which lane to get into to change to a different route; the on-ramps and off-ramps are long-- giving you plenty of time to get up to speed and merge. Also, the lanes tend to be wide, with good sized shoulders on both side, and well lit at night. Yes, there is traffic and tie-ups, but considering the number of people getting from here to there, they are pretty efficient. If you are travelling with your family, there are a number of places that you can take car-pool lanes and by-pass the worst of the traffic.

After living in the DC suburbs, and having driven through Atlanta a few times, I MISS those So. Cal. freeways!

Don't be afraid--you'll do fine. If you get a chance, pick up a map at AAA before your trip and get a feel for which way the freeways run. Disneyland is easily accessed from I-5. LAX has it's own freeway that leads straight into it. You will enjoy you car--there is so much to see and experience there. HTH

got2gp
04-27-2005, 02:48 AM
I have to agree with everyone else. If you can handle east coast traffic, you can handle LA. Just be sure to bring your patience and a good map. The Thomas Guides are some of the best maps around, but a bit on the pricey side. You'll be just fine!

carinv
04-27-2005, 08:05 AM
We are coming from Australia in Nov. and I am already anxious about the driving, but not about the freeways, just about driving on the other side of the road!!!
Not that i will probably have to do it mind you, that is DH's job and he is not too worried.
I wish we could change our itinery, but we are stuck with LA first up. What a baptism of fire!!!
Woohooo..only 6 more months to go!!

spendleb
04-27-2005, 08:46 AM
We are the same coming from the UK (tomorrow!) but I am sure we will be fine, takes a couple of hours to get used to driving on the other side of the road but then it's OK, we are collecting the car and going straight to Palm Springs for the day!

keishashadow
04-27-2005, 09:46 AM
Thanks for your input.

familyoffive
04-27-2005, 10:47 AM
No doubt about it, you will experience traffic. Plan plenty of time to get to places. We have some of the world's slowest moving freeways. One driver hitting brakes at 5:00am will create every driver following to brake as late as 10:00am. Unlike the east coast where the roads have names, most of the routes here have numbers. We were at DL last week and our house is supposed to be a 1hour 20 minute drive, ours was 4 hours! No wrecks, no roadwork, just Los Angeles area traffic. In our own experiences since moving from the Cincy area, try and use the 5 as opposed to the 101. We live NW of Anaheim and find that the 5 has more congestion than the 101. As long as you plan for extra driving time, avoid rush hour and realize that you cannot cut across 6 highway lanes to get to an exit in the last 1/4 mile, you should be fine. Remember to get several routes to places you intend to visit, as our traffic can be an attraction all by itself. :moped: :moped:

quiltymom
04-27-2005, 03:46 PM
Honestly, believe what everyone else has said! I have lived in the DC area for 15 years after growing up in CA, and I long for the California freeway system. The drivers there are more courteous (they actually let you MERGE when you signal!) and the roads are well marked. Here are my tips.

1. Don't drive in the far left lane of traffic, unless you need it for an exit. The traffic speed moves faster, so keeping in the other lanes will be less stressful if you don't know where you are going. The left lanes also may turn into carpool lanes which are wonderful when you need them. You can only enter and exit them at designated points, or receive a $271 fine (however they came up with that strange amount, I don't know!). If you're not sure about them, don't use them.

2. Since the far right lanes usually have the cars merging on and off the freeway, there's a more uneven flow of traffic there. Traffic is more steady in the 2nd lane.

3. Get a map beforehand, study it and mark out your route. Have the person in the passenger seat be the navigator. While on the freeways, you will get at least a 3 mile warning for each exit, and from which lane, so as long as you're paying attention, you'll be fine. Also, the car rental agencies (at least the major ones!) have maps and will give you directions to where you need to go.

4. Enjoy the experience! Just think of the stories you can tell everyone when you get back home! :smooth:

babysharknc
04-27-2005, 04:11 PM
It is not the freeways it is the pace, slow, slow, slow that is so frustrating. Just don't be in a rush, schedule enough time and you should be fine.
We were there during Easter and the Traffic was terrible only due to the fact that it seemed everyone in LA was on the freeway.

Have a great time.
:goodvibes

keishashadow
04-27-2005, 05:17 PM
My personal nightmare is the Washington, DC beltway, where everyone seems to be going 80 mph, all the time, while changing lanes repeatedly? Is it correct to infer that the LA freeways are basically just crowded and slow moving?

HaleyB
04-28-2005, 12:10 AM
Yes crowded and slow much of the time (but you don't have to drive in rush hour). And really if you have ever tried to get into New York City by car, you have seen much worse traffic. The freeways are numbered and they often give a city name instead of a direction (so Pamona is North if you are on the 57). However, the exits are well marked so if you have a good map you can figure it out. Ask locals how to go because there are often multi-lane surface streets that can save you some time. They can also help you work out the whole city name instead of direction thing.

roscodog
04-28-2005, 12:39 AM
This post takes me back to my younger days when I went to Disneyland. Right now, getting off the freeways and into the parking structure is a breeze with it's own dedicated on and off ramps into the freeway. Before , you had to navigate surface streets before getting onto the freeway. There was always a traffice jam getting out of the parking lot and then a traffic jam getting onto the freeway.

msteddom
04-28-2005, 12:51 AM
If you're really nervous about finding your way around rent a car with a navigation system. They are a godsend in unfamiliar cities!


Melissa

dis-happy
04-28-2005, 09:08 AM
If you're really nervous about finding your way around rent a car with a navigation system. They are a godsend in unfamiliar cities!


Melissa


I was just thinking the same thing!! It would be worth a few extra dollars per day to have a voice telling you where to exit, etc.

Mary Jo
04-28-2005, 12:01 PM
If you're really nervous about finding your way around rent a car with a navigation system. They are a godsend in unfamiliar cities!


Melissa


What a great tip! My cousin got one of these when she came out from Phoenix, and it really was a help to her & her husband.

Pir8girl
04-30-2005, 12:08 PM
I too was raised in So. Cal. and when I come back for a visit I always try and use the car pool lane if possible. I took me 12 minutes to get from Newport Beach to Disneyland using the lane! Of course I couldn't figure out how to get to the DLH once I got off the freeway since I hadn't been to DL since DCA!

MrsMork
04-30-2005, 12:21 PM
I agree that the So Cal freeways are very well marked and easy to navigate. We love the carpool lanes, especially in Orange County. :moped:

carinv
04-30-2005, 06:57 PM
They sound like a good idea.
Could someone please explain the rules of the car pool lanes for a foreigner please??? :confused3
Ta muchly

got2gp
04-30-2005, 07:44 PM
These lanes are designated for vehicles with a minimun number of people. In California, it usually requires only 2 people, though I have seen some that require 3. There will be signs telling you if that is the case. They are on the far left, the inside lane next to the divider. You can only enter and exit the carpool lanes where there is a break in the double lines that normally seperate it from the rest of the traffic lanes. Don'e worry they are well marked so you won't miss your exit. These breaks come up every 1 to 3 exits on average. There are some freeway exits just for the carpool lane. There is one on the southbound I5 for Disneyland Drive. It takes you directly to the parking structure for Disneyland

familyoffive
05-01-2005, 03:25 AM
While the carpool lanes are very convienient, they are not common throughout our highways here. They are also not restrictive to only non-truck vehicles. Motorcycles, commercial trucks are allowed to use them, so you might see delivery vehicles in those lanes. It is also very inconsistent whether or not there is an exit ramp from the carpool lanes. Sometimes you are re-entering the other lanes and moving to your right to get to the exit.

RESEARCH
05-03-2005, 08:53 PM
Just finished 7 days ( LAX, HOLLYWOOD, ANAHEIM,LONG BEACH, PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY, SAN DIEGO FREEWAY, 710 FREEWAY, ETC, ETC).
Conjestion was abundent ( during weekend & rush hour) but with a good TRIPLE AAA foldout map we had no trouble. Well marked signs and the willingness to travel the traffic flow speed ( 70 - 80 MPH) helps.
Rent a car and with 2 people use the HOV lanes.

HaleyB
05-04-2005, 12:23 AM
I too was raised in So. Cal. and when I come back for a visit I always try and use the car pool lane if possible. I took me 12 minutes to get from Newport Beach to Disneyland using the lane! Of course I couldn't figure out how to get to the DLH once I got off the freeway since I hadn't been to DL since DCA!

Yeah, the first time we went after all that I was totally turned around. And Disneyland avenue, what the heck was that? I almost missed the exit because I was looking for Harbor Ln! My free parking trick will not work anymore now that they changed everything... darn them.

Talking about parking DO NOT try to park for 'free' in the Downtown Disney lot unless you really are going to eat dinner in Downtown Disney or be there less than 2 hours. Just buying stuff will not extend the free parking and they will charge you an arm and a leg if you go over the two hours.... trust me... $72 lesson learned.

Redcon1
05-04-2005, 10:50 AM
There are some freeway exits just for the carpool lane. There is one on the southbound I5 for Disneyland Drive. It takes you directly to the parking structure for Disneyland

Does this exit only go to the parking structure or can you take it to Harbor Blvd? Is there a seperate one for Harbor? Since we're coming from LAX, we'll be heading southbound and need to know. Thanks.

spendleb
05-16-2005, 10:40 AM
Just got back and found the freeways were fine, easy to drive on, well sign posted, had no problems at all, there was some congestion but it keeps moving and we didn't even have to use the car pool lanes even in 'rush hour' :-)