I live in Atwater Village and work in Beverly Hills and the commute is awful and getting worse. More light rail, subways, busways, and transit-oriented growth will help in the long run, but for now, here are some simple steps that can help us all out immediately:
1. Walk more. Walk to lunch from your workplace. On the weekends, walk in your neighborhood to your local stores, banks, restaurants. It's good for you, good for your neighborhood and good for the city.
2. Prohibit trucks from driving on the roads/freeways during peak hours. This worked during the 84 Olympics and will work again.
3. Prohibit city street crews from working during peak hours. The Mayor was said to put this in place, but from what I can see, it's largely being ignored (anybody remember the leaf blower ban? yeah, that's what I thought.)
4. Pick one day a week to work from home or take public transit to work. Yeah, the public transit is not the best (despite the ludicrous award the Metro got), but it will get you there.
5. Synchronize lights on every major thoroughfare and keep adding those left turn lanes. Just hurry up and do it.
6. Make major east/west streets one way. Start with Olympic, Wilshire, Beverly and Third. It works downtown and it improved Manhattan.
7. The city/county should be spending money on four things: Safety, Education, Transportation and Healthcare. If resources are dithered away to less important things, it's time to hold them accountable.
8. Remember that this is a problem that politicians can't solve themselves. People have to be willing to make some sacrifices. The old cliche is truer now than ever, you're either part of the solution or part of the problem.
You can post your thoughts here or at the L.A. Times Bottleneck blog. Oh, and special note to The Times, this is exactly what you should be doing more of as the Paper of Record for L.A., California and really the entire country west of New York. Good job! More please.