Am planning a trip to the coast of CA from Phoenix (I-10). What is the best, least congested, safest, route from I-10 to 101 in Ventura? Looking at the map, I-10 hits 101 and it looks like a straight shot but I dont know the local traffic conditions. I will be going through anytime between 3 and 7 pm on weekday. Thanks.
LA never sleeps
The I-10 corridor you are considering driving has maintained its crown title as the busiest stretch of highway in the nation since the early 70's. There is no time of day when it is not congested. The peak period would certainly be the window you have suggested for traveling. That said, it is no big deal to drive LA freeways. As a general rule, drivers in California are among the most courteous in the world. If you are a timid driver, however, LA is probably not the best place to try and develop your skills.
While the most direct (and fastest) route is I-10 to US-101 there is an alternative. It is scenic drive and takes you near some of the best wildflower areas of this area of the state. When you reach San Bernardino exit I-10 and proceed north on I-215, at Devore, you will join I-15 northbound (towards Las Vegas). Exit at CA-138 and head west. When you reach Palmdale, go south on CA-14. When you reach I-5 you have a couple of choices. The fastest is go south on I-5 until you intersect US-101 and turn west to Ventura. But the most scenic route is to turn north on I-5, go past the Six Flags Amusement Park (visible on your left) and exit on CA-126 and follow the canyon into Ventura.
But don't be intimidated -- it will be no problem to use I-10, be courteous to the other drivers, be sure and use your turn signals and enjoy the ride! Plus, after driving the roads surrounding Phoenix, I seriously doubt you will be bothered by ANYTHING you encounter in LA!
LA drivers? HA!!
I gotta disagree with mark about LA drivers being courteous. I'm not saying that they're all maniacs like those east coast drivers, but it's definitely not for a timid driver. If you're used to driving in urban envrionments, then you'll have no trouble.
As far as getting to ventura, you can take the route mark suggested, but it is a bit of a loop. I dunno if you're interested in going straight through or looking around, but some other alternatives are the 210 -> 134 -> 101 to ventura. It's a little closer to the mountains, and you'll avoid a lot of the downtown traffic. I wouldn't say it's big on scenery though. at that time, the traffic should be heading the other way anywya.
In my experience
I would agree that the level of irritated drivers has gone up noticeably in the last three years in LA. It is nothing like the agressive driving necessary in Montreal or Manhattan (my two most enjoyable cities for flat-out nutso driving), but there is an edge in LA, I don't remember from my formative driving years in the early-1970's.
But on the whole, I still find LA drivers, more courteous than other urban cities in America. After several years living and working on the road, and having driven in every city with a population in excess of 100,000 residents, I can state that, in my opinion, LA drivers are among the most skilled and courteous. For flat-out thrills -- I would always choose Manhattan or Montreal. The worst city to navigate (in a larger vehicle) would have to be Boston.
New Freeway Route
Unless you have a recent map, the best route and one that bypasses most of the LA traffic will not be evident to you. Take the 101 to Cal-134 (a direct extension of the 101) to I-210. That route has now been extended into the Ontario area and you can connect from it to I-10 on into Phoenix.
the New 210 is cool but not a time saver for this route
I have driven the new section of the I-210 from Ontario about 10 times since it opened. It is a nice route, and easily reduces travel time to Pasadena by at least 35 minutes (from Las Vegas) but I don't think that a traveler heading west from Phoenix will be served by diverting north from I-10 up to the I-210.
In my view, it is still fastest to stay the course on I-10 and take the US-101 cut-off downtown to reach Ventura.
I suspect which route would be quicker will be a function of traffic conditions on the day of travel. My suggestion for the I-210 bypass was based on the stated desire for the least congested, safest route. I think I-210 would qualify in that regard 95 out of 100 days. BTW, I apologize for misreading the directions. Mine were west to east when the original poster wanted east to west. By coincidence, if you read my suggestion in reverse, it should work.
One of the Worst sections of LA road-way
The 210 bypass is much less under-utilized at present, but the main problem with the 210 route is from the interchange of the 210 and the CA-134 before it joins with the US-101. That section of highway was never envisioned by the freeway designers to handle the traffic load it does now, whereas, refurbishment work on the 101 has been completed from the downtown interchange and is actually much faster over-all (maybe as much as 9 out of 10 times...)
Hmm...both good points, but if I personally had to choose a route from the 10 to Ventura, I'd go with the 210 east to 134 to 101 route. 10 west always seems to be backed up right around the Pomona area, no matter what time of day. But the 134/101 junction narrows down to 2 lanes, which could be really bad, depends on time of day and traffic conditions. But I would try and avoid downtown if you're anywhere close to rush hour. Best way would be to listen to the traffic reports 980 AM every 10 minutes, to get an idea. Either way, I don't think one route is going to get you there much much quicker than any other.
Yep, the other fun one is at I-5
Yep, the transition from CA-134 to US-101 is sufficient to raise blood pressure 20 points most times of the day. The other one is CA-134 with I-5.
Of course, everything is better than the average transition surrounding any roadway in Houston!