Are you ready? The 405 Freeway will be closed the weekend of July 15th. The closure has unoffiically been dubbed "carmageddon." To help prepare you, we've put together this video and below information.
The closure of the 405 Freeway this weekend is not only affecting traffic, but some parking as well. Los Angeles officials have placed "Tow Away, No Stopping Anytime" signs on a handful of streets in Sherman Oaks, Encino and Bel Air:
Don't get me wrong. There will be traffic. This is Los Angeles after all. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and say "carmageddon" will not end in any major inconvenience to the city as a whole.
There are going to be headaches for some, visitors will likely be caught off guard, many businesses will unfortunately be set back and I do have major concerns for medical care institutions on the Westisde, but I have faith that most all Angelenos will heed officials' warnings to stay away.
Whether or not Carmageddon lives up to its apocalyptic height, Los Angeles residents are at the very least eager to embrace it with the enthusiasm of a pet rock. Case in point: the large number of commemorative 405 closure t-shirts that have popped up online.
At Zazzle and Cafe Press, two print on demand merchandise sites, Angelenos can choose from nearly a dozen different designs, most with the recurring (and presumptuous) line, "I Survived Carmageddon." Some are more optimistic, including one that Spicoli would agree with. It reads, "The 405 Its Closed. Let's Go To Surf!" (sic). Another tries to be helpful, offering a convoluted alternate route to avoid the 405 that includes taking the 10 to Jacksonville, FL, through Utah, and eventually back over to the 134. Some of these same logos are printed to bumper stickers, coffee mugs, and water bottles.
To sell the "I survived the Carmageddon" t-shirt he designed, Matthew Wilcox, a Los Angeles record company owner, nabbed the domain name carmageddontshirt.com, which redirects to his page on Spreadshirt, another print on demand site.
The question remains: on Monday, will all this stuff go on sale for 50%?
Will the so-called "carmageddon" really be that bad? If officials took the lessons from the 1984 traffic plan, then things might just be fine. That's because, as two of our commentators have already pointed out, that when the 1984 Olympics occurred here in Los Angeles the "Black Friday" of traffic never surfaced on the streets.
"We were made afraid that the entire freeway system would fail. It didn't," said D.J. Waldie.
Disabled travelers who rely on paratransit services in Los Angeles County are hearing the same message everyone is when it comes to this weekend's closure of the 405 Freeway: "plan ahead, avoid the area or stay home."
If you're really worried about that drive between Burbank and Long Beach in your car this "carmageddon" weekend, Jet Blue has a solution for you. For $4 each way--"Advertised fare includes all taxes and fees," says their website--you can take a 20-minute flight on Saturday.
Can we say marketing gimmick? Yes, but it's worth pointing out that the route is pretty much covered by public transit.
If there are two things we can all agree on about Angelenos, it's that no matter how much they're warned about traffic they'll always take a drive, and that they love playing on their phones while driving. Fortunately, just in time for this weekend's impending gridlock, there's Waze, a free smartphone application made for drivers like them.
"It provides the best alternative to staying at home or riding a bike," says Di-Ann Eisnor, VP Community and Product for the software, which hit the US in November, 2009.
Waze provides real time traffic info compiled largely from it's users' actual driving activities. In addition to tracking where they are and how fast they're moving, the app also accepts and reports on traffic jams, police stops, and road construction.
WHAT: A 10-mile stretch of the I-405 through the Sepulveda Pass will be completely closed for construction in mid-July. Officials expect extreme traffic congestion on surface streets and freeways within Los Angeles County. Commuters face multi-hour trip delays.
WHEN: For 53 hours over the weekend of July 16 and 17.
- Ramps as early as 7 p.m. day before.
- Lanes one at a time as early as 10 p.m.
- Full closure by midnight.
- Monday, July 18 at 5 a.m.
- Ramps and connectors by 6 a.m.
- North half of Mulholland Bridge, one lane each way, will remain open after the weekend.
If you're looking for something to do during the weekend of Carmageddon (July 15-17), here's a list of ideas that may be local to you.
Car-mageddon.com is a clearinghouse where you can find or post discounts on food and drinks, survival tips and events to help get you through the weekend.
Folks in Santa Monica will be able to go to their beloved Farmers' Market on Saturday, July 16, but the farmers will have to drive in a day early to avoid the 405 shutdown. Many of them will need a place to stay for the weekend. Check out Host a Farmer if you want to help.
The website of LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky offers 53 Ways to turn 53 hours of Carmageddon fever into good communal karma.
1984 was the year of catastrophic traffic that never was. The summer Olympics promised L.A. a permanent boost in its global status while incurring no debt, but it also promised the kind of hellish, round-the-clock traffic that would make a typical rush hour look like a walk--or a drive--in the park. For all of Tom Bradley's effusions about what hosting the Olympics would mean to us, it was clear that as the time approached, people were thinking less about the deeper meaning and more about the street-level consequences of staging high-profile events in many venues that generated traffic on normal days. The idea of some giant event landing on L.A. like an alien and disrupting its unique sense of highway entitlement for two weeks was for many people as scary as the Olympics themselves were exciting.