A View From A Hotel Window, 4/7/16: Los Angeles
Posted on April 7, 2016 Posted by John Scalzi 26 Comments
There’s construction going on, the president arrived today, there was a car chase that locked up the freeways and it was raining. All of this explains why it took me a better par of an hour to travel fifteen miles from the airport to my hotel, and why it would have taken longer if I hadn’t taken surface streets. Los Angeles, I’m telling you.
Anyway: Hello, LA! I am here, for three days. My first order of business: A nap.
OMG! El Nino!
I drove through LA a month ago. That’s all the news people could talk about. That and OJ Simpson’s lost knife.
15 miles in an hour is a pretty respectable speed in LA.
Just the rain by itself.
I’m glad DH got into LA yesterday and not today! (Though he’s at a much less fun conference than you are. :/ )
It takes about an hour for me to commute the ~15 miles from work to home most evenings, and that’s without a presidential visit, a car chase, construction, or rain.
Aren’t all streets “surface” streets? Or have you acquired the proverbial, SFnal Flying car?
Don’t worry about it Hugh. I grew up on the L.A. area (not too far from where our esteemed host lived, if I recall correctly) and I am still somewhat bemused by LA. culture and terms. Yea, surface streets. The term implies you are descending from the heavens rather than what the freeways really are; creeping parking lots. Still love the place, not least for In-N-Out, though if you want a seriously good burger and are in the north of the city, try Frankie’s Hamburgers in Glendale. That’s some good eatin’.
Welcome to LA.
In case you didn’t know, download Waze, and follow it religiously. Except for its tendency to suggest the odd left turn into a solid wall of traffic (which is totally doable, but not for the faint of heart) it is the definitive way to move about the city. That’s if you’re stuck driving. For commutes take the metro.
Dat marine layer, though.
Sorry, sorry, just had my 9 year anniversary of leaving LA for Colorado (which I love) and the nostalgia is getting strong.
Surface streets is a Southern California regional term(possibly elsewhere too, but, I can’t speak for that)for the roads that are not freeways. Freeways are known by numbers(the five, the one oh one, the four oh five) and don’t have stoplights or stop signs, and no pedestrian or bicycle traffic.
Surface streets are all the roads, lanes, avenues, and highways that have stop signs or stoplights, and pedestrians and bicyclists.
Most of the toll roads out here are in Orange County and not in Los Angeles, but, they would not be surface streets, either.
Traffic in Los Angeles tends to clog everything up but sometimes either the surface streets or the freeways work slightly better to get where you are going.
15 miles in an hour is stellar. It routinely takes me twenty minutes to go the two miles from home to office. Welcome to L.A. :-)
I’m from LA and did not know that “surface street” was a regional term. You learn something new every day! (Reminds me of the time I confused someone by referring to the street we were on as “frontage road,” which is also apparently not universal.)
John, you couldn’t get snow in Ohio, but you get rain in LA. Proof that your life is truly balanced.
Welcome back to LA, sir! Hope your stay is wonderful. Looking forward to see you speak tomorrow.
I have a co-worker from back east who says that traffic in NY is worse than here. Made my day to know that LA isn’t the bottom of the traffic barrel. :)
“Surface street” is also a common term here in Portland.
Also, freeways are sometimes elevated, distinguishing them from groundhugging streetage — albeit a good stretch of the 10, if I’m remembering aright, is sunken below grade and might therefore qualify as subsurface street?
I don’t see the requisite parking lot in the picture. Given the discussion on the thread; are we meant to reach the conclusion that in LA the surface street qualifies as (or substitutes for) a parking lot?
And, yes, Denverites use the term too.
Sidebar to the sidebar: What’s your favorite demonym? “Buffalonian” always makes me laugh.
Any ‘Hollywood’ business on this trip?
Angeleno. Anyone who spells it with an I in place of the second e presumably says “Los Anguleez”
True Angelenos say Las An jell us.
shouldn’t the P in president be capitalized? a slap in the face !
As an adult, I have lived near Indianapolis, Dayton, Orlando, and now in Chesapeake. Surface streets was the term for local roads in all of thise locations.
Do you mind, well, probably not I’m thinking. I am going to study your writing. Y ou write,think like I have dreamed of in regards to myself,I mean your written voice is y alter ego. Thanks! Thanks
PIneapple says: Angeleno. Anyone who spells it with an I in place of the second e presumably says “Los Anguleez”
Everytime I hear that, it makes me think of Bugs Bunny’s pronunciation of Los Angeles :D
Check out Cafe Crepe in Santa Monica if you can! Hope the traffic clears up…
Sorry I could not make it to your or any panel at my son’s alma mater. Medical emergency for me, while my family mourns the lost of my 103-year-old cousin Ruth, a N.Y. Times published stone sculptor.
The thing is, there was a certain demographic of transplanted Midwesterners who really did pronounce it that way… Arlo Guthrie’s “Coming into Los Angeles Bringing in a couple of keys” can be found on Youtube, for example.
Sam Yorty was even worse: his version was something like Los Ang-gah-leez…
The City of Angels.
“Secret Service says LA traffic delays were due to John Scalzi being in town at same time as President”
” ‘We planned for normal traffic, but not all of Scalzi’s fans’, spokesman tells press”