SF to SD, no LA please
I've driven down to San Diego many times, but always going through Los Angeles.
I hear that there is a shortcut east of the mountains that is actually faster.
Hwy 14 - Hwy 138 - Hwy 15
I have never tried this before. Any clues? Thanks!
It All Depends
The difference between the two routes is going to largely be a function of Los Angeles traffic. The route you describe, through Bakersfield, Lancaster and even the eastern fringes of the Los Angeles metro area is about 50 miles (10%) longer and should take nominally about an hour and a half longer. But that is on the presumption that traffic is moving at the speed limit through Los Angeles. If I had to bet, I wouldn't bet on that. On the other hand, the eastern route involves surface streets through the cities I've listed and one or two others. If I had to make this choice, I would certainly give the alternate, eastern route a try on one of your many drives, particularly one which would otherwise take you through the heart of L.A. at or near rush hour and see what you thought of it. In a case like that you wouldn't have much to lose, and perhaps a whole lot to gain.
unlikely to save time
I've taken CA-58 to CA-14 to CA-138 to I-15 as you've listed, although I guess I've never gone all the way to San Diego - I've only used it to connect with I-10.
CA-138 is a fairly slow route. It spends a fair amount of time going through town in the Palmdale area. On the eastern end, it is curvy and fairly mountainous, so that will slow you down. And in the middle, I saw a show that once declared it to be one of the most dangerous highways in America because its two lanes, with straight but fairly hilly stretches that can throw off your depth perception, leading to some nasty head-on collisions while people are attempting passing manuvers. And on top of all that I-15 can see its share of congestion too.
But now that I've scared you off, I will come back and say, it doesn't hurt to give it a shot. You should avoid the cluster that is navigating through LA, especially during rush hour. I wouldn't expect it to save you any time, but at least you'll see some different scenery along the way. Perhaps you will find that it actually saves you some time, or maybe you'll find that avoiding LA is simply worth the extra minutes and miles that the longer route may take.
I would do the LA Freeway option
I really doubt anyone could do it faster -- maybe at midnight. Like AZBuck says, it is actually much longer and the speed limits are lower on that bypass route. If it were me, and my criteria was speed of travel -I would use the direct (through LA) routes.
Originally Posted by itazura
My guess is the 58-14-138-15 route seems to be specifically set up to avoid LA at rush hour. Taking I-5 through LA is taking one of the older freeways through the core of LA with possible rush hour congestion... But the route as outlined, isn't necessarily the fastest route by any stretch of the imagination, since its on secondary roads and even at the best of times, can be a slower route.
There are other routes through the LA area, which are more direct and avoid most of the rush hour mess. You do this by avoiding the worst of the congested areas, which are pretty predictable, and by taking advantage of the "diamond" or carpool lanes through the city.
For an alternative route, you might consider I-5 to the 210, east to the 15, and then south. That would skirt the vast majority of the congestion in LA, be a shorter route, and on better roads. The 210 has diamond lanes pretty much the entire path from Pasadena to the 15, so even if you run into traffic through Pasadena you shouldn't slow down much, if any. For a traffic risk, on that route, I'd say the risk would on the I-5 through the Santa Clarita area, particularly on a weekend evening (people coming home from the weekend). The other place I would be concerned would be the I-15 through Corona, but you'd have that on the other route as well.
And... you can get messy traffic on *any* route at any time, dependent upon weather and accidents. Those are random events, and there is no way to predict wheh they'll occur. I've been stuck at a dead stop in the middle of nowhere, because of an accident somewhere up ahead -- and I've been stuck in rush hour traffic for the same thing.
One Trip Wonder
Looking for a shortcut/congestion avoider between Barstow and Oxnard, CA, I declined Larrison's advice and took CA 18 to 138 from Victorville to Palmdale, thence down CA 14 to Santa Clarita, on a midafternoon Wednesday in late October 2007.
CA 18 and 138 were, at best, lousy roads. Short distance blind spots due to hills, no passing zones to speak of, tight curves, and very heavy traffic in both directions. At worst, it was the scariest part of a 2,800 mile drive from NC to CA.
I never did transit I-210 (being a native North Carolinian, I cannot get my hands to type "the 210"--sorry about that) but I did travel along US 101 into the LA Basin, thence south on I-405. That was on a Sunday, for Heaven's sake, and it was bumper to bumper, wall to wall.
It seems to me one chooses one's scary or convenient out there. I'm not man enough to deal with that every day! I just wanted to confirm the prior comment about CA 138 being a less than great highway.
Thanks, interesting ideas. Don't know when I will check it out.
BTW I think the "the 210" habit is mostly an LA thing. In the SF bay area, we don't talk like that. :)
Just as a note, I hesitate to say "I-210" since that implies its an "interstate".
I'm doing this from memory, and can't find a quick reference, so bear with me if its not exactly right...
1 and 2 digit numbered Federal highways typically are Interstate, traveling long distances between major metropolitan areas . Even numbers are East-West routes, Odd numbers are north-south.
3 digit Federal highways are inter-urban areas, typically used within single metropolitan areas. You can have multiple freeways with the same number, but in different metropolitan areas. Odd numbers for North South, Even for East-West.
So I-210 isn't right.. it ought to be something like "US-210".
And heck.. most of the time people call the "210" the "Foothill Freeway". But then only a local knows the local names... "Golden State" "Orange Crush" "El Toro Y" "South Bay Curve" "Century Freeway" "Harbor Freeway" "the Grapevine", :"The Four Level" "San Diego Freeway" (which one???) "Pasadena Freeway" "The Big Slab" etc etc....
210 works just fine... *Grins*
I believe it is I-210
"I" as in Interstate has certain limited access and highway standards and I-210 was built and renamed I-210 about ten years ago. The section that of "I-210" that is still substandard for a full interstate (east of the I-15) is known as "CA-210" And three digit Federal highways using the Interstate standards are known as bypass routes (sometimes they are actual "ring roads") and it is true that the same name can be applied to different areas -- In Las Vegas there is a I-215 (which technically runs more-or-less east and west) and an I-215 in Salt Lake which certainly runs north and south around I-15.
Originally Posted by Larrison
Anyone confused yet?
Nope, not at all.
Originally Posted by Editor
My understanding of the vagaries of highway numbering is as your's, Mark. One will see plenty of single, double, and triple digit routes within the Interstate, US, and state highway systems. The "I" specifically means Interstate, while US highways are designated exactly as such (followed by the number), and most states use the two letter US Postal Service designation followed by the number. The single and two-digit Interstates are the trunk routes with 3 digit Interstates forming beltways, spurs, or bypasses, normally in large urban areas.
Perhaps we shouldn't even delve into the "green sign" so-called "Business Interstate" system, eh?
My old-style map-navigated trip to CA in Oct/Nov brought out the nomenclature applications along the Foothills Freeway. Towards the east end, it's CA 210. It becomes I-210 at some point. I imagine local usage is Foothills Freeway for both the Interstate and CA highway segments, certainly a convenience when describing routing--much easier than saying CA 210 to I-210 when one hasn't really changed roadways.
The original mention of "the 210" was just funnin' the West Coasters, of course. I do find that close adherence to the actual naming nomenclature to be of greater utility when consulting maps and navigation systems, as each tends to display the precise terms therein. As noted above, however, there's some local usefulness to simplified terms.
Up the 210 we go, mateys.