All the pain and suffering involved in the 405 widening project might have been worth it.
Yes, a couple Carmageddons, many lane closures, and a hot mess of detours have comprised some of the Westside's worst white people problems since the iPhone switched to a new power connector. But there might just be light at the end of that tunnel:
Traffic data company INRIX this week reports that the extra carpool lanes on the 405 between the 10 and Wilshire Boulevard have made a difference.
Measuring traffic from Imperial Highway to Getty Center Drive, the company found that drive times have been reduced by 20 minutes at 3 p.m., 9 minutes at 4 p.m. and 5 minutes at 5 p.m.
INRIX is comparing May, 2012 to May 2013 here. Not bad. The company says:
The CalTrans [actually it's Metro's] I-405 widening project has made a big difference. The new lanes between I-10 and Wilshire Blvd. open for just over a month shows the time savings benefits of the $1 billion project to get drivers along what INRIX ranked as the eighth worst traffic corridor in the country.
Jamie Holter, INRIX traffic analyst:
Drivers at 3 p.m. are getting more than an hour and a half of their life back each week.
Carpool lanes are being installed from the 10 to the 101. The project isn't expected to be wrapped until at least next summer.
And that's not the only bummer.
Congestion in L.A. as a whole rose 11.4 percent compared to the same time last year, a greater increase than the national average of a 9 percent traffic bump.
The reason seems to be the improving economy. As more Angelenos get back to work, more of us get back on the freeways. Traffic will continue to get worse as the economy improves, INRIX says.
And uh, that time you save on the 405 will be reinvested in the 10 if you take that route, INRIX says. Holter:
Eastbound I-10 from Santa Monica to downtown LA, drivers have added nearly 20 minutes to the afternoon commute.
At least with all that new job money you can buy a new car to park on the freeway.