Car-free

The countdown is on to the shutting down of the 405 between the 101 and 10 this July 15th. If you haven't heard the phrase "Carmageddon" by now, then you probably live outside of California or have cut yourself off from every form of media.

The Great Divide

If I can help it I won't travel past La Brea Blvd. If I have a meeting on the westside, I plan way ahead for the ride because I know I will be in the car longer than the time I spend out of the car.

My anathema for the westside started in the mid-nineties; I had an office on 3rd and Broadway, right by the ocean. Working by the ocean was a bonus at the beginning, but it only took two weeks for me to hate the smell of fresh air and ocean breezes. The reason I hated the ocean was because from my house on the eastside to the westside, it would take an average drive time of 45 minutes or more each way.

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During one of those long rides, I sat in traffic staring at a dead dog next to my car and worked out the hours I had spent in the car.

My calculations for one week:
10 x 45 minutes = 450 minutes (minimum)
4 x 30 minutes = 120 minutes (weekends)
Total: 570 minutes

570 minutes x 4 = 38 hours per month

38 hours x 12 months = 456 hours ÷ 24 = 19 days per year in a car.

And then if you multiple that by the years I spent driving back and forth, it would be enough to travel around the world in 80 days.

The End of the World

I find it interesting that someone coined the shut down of the freeway "Carmageddon," because is not being able to freely travel on the freeways the end of the world? I understand that people have to go to work, emergency services will be hampered and the surrounding communities will have to deal with traffic, but is it really the end when we are made to stay home for a weekend? Is it so bad to not be in a car? Instead of fearing the worst, we should be celebrating the opportunity to explore our neighborhoods by foot and bike; to enjoy not contributing to greenhouse gases.

You now have the perfect excuse not get into a car; go outside and play, and enjoy the 53 hours of a car-free weekend. Be car-free.


Image: Rand McNally Map book 1945/ found at an estate sale and bought for 25¢

About the Author

A true multi-tasker: illustrator, designer, teacher, networker and writer of short blasts of pent up hot air.
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Villaraigosa said: "[Carmageddon] will be an absolute nightmare." Yet Villaraigosa just replaced Travelers Aid Society, with 61-years experience at LAX and a full-time social worker, with a rookie bare-bones start-up group (VIPers) on the eve of Carmageddon.

There are 60 million LAX passengers a year and starting now Villaraigosa cannot afford even one social worker to serve travelers with problems. Henceforth travelers best served by a social worker will become a problem for the airport police.