Wilshire ramps by the numbers

June 6, 2012 

Thousands of accidents, millions of lost "person hours" sitting in traffic: that's life on the 405 and Wilshire.

It’s not just a local gripe magnet. The 405 Freeway has a national reputation—and it’s not a nice one. “Somewhere between notorious and terrible,” says Tim Lomax, a senior research engineer for the Texas Transportation Institute. When you throw in the upcoming closure of the 405 ramps at Wilshire Boulevard for a long-running construction initiative that starts June 22 as part of the 405 Project, you’ve got a long-simmering recipe for making motorists stew. Here are some of the ingredients that make this the intersection we love to hate:

  • Vehicles traveling on Wilshire: An average of 105,721 vehicles a day cross the intersection of Wilshire and Sepulveda Boulevard, right next to the freeway
  • UCLA-bound students and staff traveling through the area: 20,000 (summer), 25,000 (academic year)
  • Busiest ramp in the morning: exit ramp from the northbound 405 to eastbound Wilshire, with 1,494 vehicles an hour at peak of morning commute time
  • Busiest ramp in the afternoon: westbound Wilshire onramp to the southbound 405, with 1,301 vehicles an hour at peak of afternoon commute time
  • Number of “Top 40” appearances in the Texas Transportation Institute’s 2011 Congested Corridors Report: 6, out of 7 possible categories. The 13.1 mile corridor of the 405 that runs from the 105 Freeway to Getty Center Drive—and includes the Wilshire intersection—ranks among the worst in the country for heavy congestion, truck traffic and jammed conditions during the morning, midday, afternoon and weekend periods.
  • “Person hours” lost to traffic delays in the corridor: 12.6 million a year
  • Fuel wasted: 6.057 million gallons annually
  • Congestion cost in time and fuel:  $269.9 million a year
  • How bad travel times in the area will be after construction starts: Plan on everything taking twice as long, at least at first.
  • Likelihood the person in the car next to you during those traffic delays will be eating: 39.13% of motorists admit to eating or drinking behind the wheel,  a survey found.
  • Likelihood the person in the car next to you will be talking on the phone: 30.1% say they chat while driving.
  • Likelihood they’ll be texting or putting on makeup: Just 8.6% and 2.95%, respectively.
  • Best public transportation option: Metro’s 761 bus, which runs from the Valley to Westwood
  • Total number of ramps to be rebuilt: 8
  • First two ramps up for closure: westbound Wilshire onramp to the northbound 405 and northbound 405 off-ramp to westbound Wilshire
  • Cost of rebuilding those two ramps: $2.65 million
  • Overall cost of the entire 405 Project: $1.034 billion
  • How long it will take to finish the ramp work: approximately 1 year, including the time it will take to build new “flyover ramps” intended to make the intersection move better and more safely.
  • Number of project nicknames so far: 2, Ramp Jam and The Rampture.

Sources: Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Caltrans, Metro, Texas Transportation Institute’s 2011 Congested Corridors Report; insurance.com, UCLA

Posted 5/16/12

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