"Best $2k I Ever Spent!" The REAL Ugliest Intersections Of West LA

by Alex Gilman · March 8, 2011

Yesterday, we quoted a tweet from former New York editor Kurt Anderson, whose questionable qualifications regarding LA and our roads doesn't, I suppose, change the fact that the Olympic/Sepulveda intersection is really ugly. But here's the problem, Kurt. I know exactly why you were sitting there. You got off the 10 an exit too early and are making your way to Century City or Beverly Hills, never to see another square inch of unincorporated West LA sprawl until your driver takes you back to the airport. Us? We live this. So with all due respect, let me tell you about the real ugliest intersections in my neck of the woods.

Note: In the interest of sticking to my area of expertise, the following intersections are on the Westside only. While I can personally vouch for the horrors of Lankershim & Vineland, or the clusterfuck that is La Cienega, La Tijera and Centinela in Inglewood, I'll stick to what I know well and let others weigh in on their own neighborhoods.

Venice & Sepulveda

Come for the gas station, stay for the other gas station!

In all honesty, my biggest problem with Kurt Anderson choosing Olympic & Sepulveda is the near-certain likelihood that he was driving down Olympic and not Sepulveda. I say this because had he been cruising towards Culver, it wouldn't have taken him any time at all to get to an intersection far worse, a little slice of heaven I call Venice & Sepulveda. Offering unparalleled views of the scenic 405 Freeway, several fuel options, historically preserved billboards for movies that came out two years ago, and even three (!!) dingy chop shops, it's no wonder that Venice & Sepulveda draws tourists from around the world, who joyfully proclaim, "Lock the doors, kids! The light must be changing soon."

Overland & National

More than just an on-ramp*!

*The above statement may not be entirely true. Because Overland and National, in reality, is nothing more than a way to get on and off of the 10. You know how in the movies, when the last survivor of Jason or Leatherface escapes, but they're in such shock that they just stumble down the middle of a busy street that nobody would ever normally walk down? That's here. It's the kind of intersection so removed from any sign of foot traffic or civilization that if you happen to actually see someone on foot nearby, you assume that they've just escaped a torture dungeon.

Melrose & La Cienega

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice

Calling Melrose & La Cienega a quiet intersection with the exception of 8500 Melrose is a lot like calling 1939 Germany a great place with the exception of the ruling party. Described by the LA Times as possibly the ugliest building in Los Angeles, 8500 Melrose looks like the kind of structure that your kid might build out of Lego blocks right before you decide your kid probably doesn't have a future in architecture. Seriously, it's a pretty heavy challenge that any store based in this building has to convince you that they sell items of good taste despite being based in this building, but what if you're an interior designer, a dentist, (god forbid) a plastic surgeon?? Who could possibly trust your professional opinion on anything when you put your office in Dr. Seuss' mausoleum? The only joy that this building could possibly bring me is the thought that it's visible from the Urth Caffe, thus possibly ruining some Yoga teacher's $9 soynut latte. Call me old fashioned.