Join 3,428 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


EXPECT BIG DELAYS
July 15, 2011 12:19 PM   Subscribe

This weekend, the busiest freeway in the United States, Interstate 405 in Los Angeles, will close for bridge demolition to allow for a northbound carpool lane. The stretch handles 375,000 cars on a typical day and up to 500,000 on the weekends. This event has been dubbed "Carmageddon."

The 405 Freeway over Sepulveda Pass will be closed for 10 miles between I-10 to US 101 northbound and 4 miles southbound to demolish the Mulholland Drive bridge. This pass is one of the main links between Los Angeles and the Valley, especially to and from Los Angeles International Airport. Just how bad the traffic will get is up for speculation. Some estimates are up to 70 miles of backups. 200 extra firefighters are being brought on in the area, and four hospitals are putting up doctors and nurses in nearby hotels due to the traffic chaos that is expected.

Authorities are begging for residents and tourists alike to avoid the area entirely. Travel in the area via public transportation has reduced or free fares on several train and bus lines.

JetBlue offered $4 flights from Long Beach to Burbank, which sold out in two hours. Some bicycle groups are making a challenge with the airline to see who can make the trip more quickly.

Sites have cropped up on what to do for the weekend. The visitors and convention bureau is tweeting 405 things to do. Maybe you should just play Carmageddon. Ex-governor Arnold “Arnie” Schwarzenegger is going to be out on the streets attempting to swat Auto Scum racers off the road using his bare hands.

The other question is whether more lanes is even worth the hassle? Could this all ultimately be linked to the removal of the streetcars, ushering in the era of the car in LA?

Most Angelinos are hoping for the best. And if they don't get it exactly right this year they have a year to plan for when "the road will be closed again on a weekend next year for the demolition of the bridge’s other span."
posted by Mister Fabulous (211 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm actually sort of looking forward to it, the way some people get excited for tornado season. Of course, I don't live on the West Side.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:22 PM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I saw Nathan Fillion tweet something about Carmageddon and I was super confused because there's (supposedly) a new Carmageddon game coming out sometime in the near future. And I was like, "is he doing a voice for that or something? Haven't seen anything on Whedonesque about that!"
posted by kmz at 12:23 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Ha, just noticed Mister Fabulous posted the other Carmageddon thread too.)
posted by kmz at 12:25 PM on July 15, 2011


Love how this is national (international?) news. Oh no! Where will Angelinos drive this weekend???
posted by Big_B at 12:26 PM on July 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


I saw Nathan Fillion tweet something about Carmageddon

Road diet?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:26 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wolfpack Hustle is going to win the bike v. plane race. As they mention in the article, they already beat someone driving from Silverlake to Long Beach, and the person flying is going to be at the airport an hour before takeoff.
posted by mullingitover at 12:26 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's closed for ONE WEEKEND, and it's national headline news?

There's a road down the street from my house that's been narrowed down to one lane for THREE MONTHS now! Every time I go that way I have to make a big detour! Obviously we just don't have the right P.R. industry to properly take advantage of this situation!
posted by Curious Artificer at 12:26 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I lived nearby and drove that stretch many, many times. It's a nightmare during rush hour, I was literally parked there several times. On the freeway. Parked.

I don't know where all of those people are going to go. LAX will be mayhem for sure.
posted by empyrean at 12:27 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hitler finds out about demolition
posted by buzzman at 12:27 PM on July 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Note that the other roads will not handle the overflow capacity AT ALL.
posted by empyrean at 12:28 PM on July 15, 2011


You could make a fortune selling street food.
posted by goethean at 12:29 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Radical idea: stay home.
posted by tommasz at 12:30 PM on July 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


Can't they just catch the train instead?
posted by Jehan at 12:31 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I forgot to put in my favorite quote:

“I know every shortcut and not one of them is going to work,” said L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in an interview with ABC News.com. “Stay the hell away is the best advice we can give. Don’t go anywhere near the west side of L.A. … stay home, get Netflix … everybody has to suck it up. We’re doing our part to make sure every man, woman, and child knows about this.” (emphasis added)
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:32 PM on July 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


In August of 2007, I-5 in Seattle was closed for weeks while they replaced the decks.

Everyone just stayed home. Traffic was much lighter than usual. I wound up getting to/from work much faster in those few weeks.

Given that this is a weekend, I have no idea why the newspapers outside of Los Angeles would be talking about it.
posted by milkrate at 12:32 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here in the Boston area, they are replacing 14 bridges on I-93 over the course of the summer -- pretty much one every weekend -- and other than some minor griping the first weekend about the delays and detours, you don't hear us making a big deal of it all over the news.
posted by briank at 12:32 PM on July 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Whatever did Californians do before they built the highway?

I kid. I imagine if they closed 66, 395, or the Beltway here in my neck of the woods, people would go nuts, too.
posted by crunchland at 12:33 PM on July 15, 2011


Team Wolfpack!

Seeing as how I hate to drive anyway, this weekend will be the same as most of my weekends except I'll be riding the red line for free.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:33 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whatever did Californians do before they built the highway?

They spent most of their time getting slaughtered by Americans.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:34 PM on July 15, 2011 [58 favorites]


zehan: westsiders can't catch a train because they vehemently protest any and all attempts to put rail-based public transportation in their 'hood. Also the Expo line construction is, like, way behind schedule.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:35 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's okay, because city planners included an extensive network of bicycle lanes and an accessible, affordable public transportation system in their plans, so the highway closings will be a great excuse to get out and enjoy the clean summer air with a leisurely bike ride.
posted by swift at 12:35 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's Angelenos, not Angelinos, you pinche gringos.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:36 PM on July 15, 2011 [27 favorites]


Meh. When people are actually getting run down by Otis P. Jivefunk, THEN it's a Carmaggedon. This is just "weekend inconvenience 2011."
posted by Eideteker at 12:37 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's Angelenos, not Angelinos, you pinche gringos.

Mierda. My bad.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:38 PM on July 15, 2011


crunchland: "Whatever did Californians do before they built the highway?"

Got around in awesome streetcars, until General Motors et al went ahead and fucked everyone.
posted by mullingitover at 12:38 PM on July 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


I'm looking forward to it as well; of course, I live on the other side of the country.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:39 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's closed for ONE WEEKEND, and it's national headline news?

Seriously. Living in NorCal, I'm already heartily sick of it. Buy your groceries, get a books or some DVDs, stay home for the weekend or take a walk in the park or something. Get over yourselves already.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:43 PM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I kid. I imagine if they closed 66, 395, or the Beltway here in my neck of the woods, people would go nuts, too.

Stay away from the south end of the 495 loop - the metro construction can block off the entire beltway and stop traffic dead for hours, even on a Sunday night.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:43 PM on July 15, 2011


1) Engineer a city so pathologically dependent on the automobile that there are no other feasible ways to get from A to B

2) Close just a single major arterial road for a weekend

3) Predictions of doom make the national news for a month preceding the event

4) Weekend of doom comes and goes with some traffic jams, Angelenos survive against all odds

4) Teach monkeys to joust

5) Profit
posted by killdevil at 12:44 PM on July 15, 2011 [23 favorites]


I hereby promise to do my part by staying away from that area...like, 950+ miles away....
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:46 PM on July 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is there a name for the thing where something that would be local news in any other place on Earth magically becomes national news if it happens in LA or New York?
posted by theodolite at 12:47 PM on July 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


Buy your groceries, get a books or some DVDs, stay home for the weekend or take a walk in the park or something

Not everyone works M-F. I'm going to be doing exactly as you suggest, but some people I know have to work Sat/Sun and it's really going to suck for them.

Of course, I also agree this is pretty local news. And anyone actually in SoCal has been hearing about this forever (I almost forgot it was this weekend, admittedly, because I've been hearing about it for months now...)
posted by wildcrdj at 12:47 PM on July 15, 2011


Given that this is a weekend, I have no idea why the newspapers outside of Los Angeles would be talking about it.

For the same reason the media covers heat waves in New York. It is hot every summer, but they'll cover the NYC heatwave every summer nationally like it is of national significance.

Part of the reason that they're making a big deal of this is so more people will stay home. If Caltrans just publicized this like other projects most people that are used to being in the parking lot called the 405 wouldn't change their plans because the 405 always has traffic on it. By making even more of a big deal out of it, it keeps more people home.

Oh, and July is the biggest month for tourist to Los Angeles. People with nonrefundable vacation plans are boned. At least reading about it in the national media will let them know before they land and the Hertz NeverLost GPS in their rental points them to the 405.

Living in NorCal, I'm already heartily sick of it.

Now we're even for having to hear about the fucking Bay Bridge being closed in 2009.
posted by birdherder at 12:49 PM on July 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


I assume this was announced weeks and weeks ago. Anyone who NEEDS to drive this route had ample time to make alternative plans. Is this really newsworthy?
posted by davebush at 12:54 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there a name for the thing where something that would be local news in any other place on Earth magically becomes national news if it happens in LA or New York?

It's not just LA or New York, you just have to figure out how to squeeze -MAGEDDON!!! into the title.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:54 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Karma-geddon! It is richly deserved for the wrath of the Traffic Gods to fall so heavily, as just due for living without blizzards in the winter.
posted by XMLicious at 1:00 PM on July 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anyone who NEEDS to drive this route had ample time to make alternative plans. Is this really newsworthy?

I don't live in the area, but I wonder how many alternatives there are for someone whose boss says "You're going to be at work on Saturday or else."

It still doesn't seem particularly newsworthy to me, though -- except for how it illustrates how toxic the car culture around LA is.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:00 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's closed for ONE WEEKEND, and it's national headline news?

Perhaps you missed the part where it is THE BUSIEST FREEWAY IN THE UNITED STATES. YOU KNOW, THE NATION.

YOU MADE ME BUST OUT ITALICS AND BOLD

RARRRRRRRRRR

posted by solistrato at 1:00 PM on July 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


Canadian cities which experience only two seasons - winter and road construction - are remarkably unsympathetic.
posted by GuyZero at 1:02 PM on July 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


westsiders can't catch a train because they vehemently protest any and all attempts to put rail-based public transportation in their 'hood. Also the Expo line construction is, like, way behind schedule.

They've fought against the provision of public transport? Like somebody offered to build a train and they just said "no, we don't want that!" How odd.
posted by Jehan at 1:04 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I saw "Angelinos" and was wondering who you were referring to, thinking it was akin to Brangelina.
posted by Theta States at 1:05 PM on July 15, 2011


There was a lovely fpp on closing highways to improve traffic flow a year or two ago. Replace the car bridge with a train bridge.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:05 PM on July 15, 2011


"It's closed for ONE WEEKEND, and it's national headline news?"

It's two weekends, isn't it? This one and next?

Anyway, one of my friends has a party she's been planning for months going on this weekend, and I'm kind of wishy-washy about it. It seemed cool, going out to the shooting range near LAX, hanging out, but… Sheesh.

Sorry, Westsiders! I'm glad I live on the East Side now. I'll be taking the red line all over for no reason at all, probably high out of my gourd and just diggin' public transit in order to waste some taxpayer money. It'll be sweet.
posted by klangklangston at 1:06 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


For the same reason the media covers heat waves in New York. It is hot every summer, but they'll cover the NYC heatwave every summer nationally like it is of national significance.

Well, to be fair NYC heatwaves are really nasty....(Seriously, it feels like everyone in the country all came here and coughed.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:06 PM on July 15, 2011


They've fought against the provision of public transport?

Happens all the fucking time. Makes me sick. *sigh*
posted by kmz at 1:06 PM on July 15, 2011


I saw Nathan Fillion tweet something about Carmageddon and I was super confused because there's (supposedly) a new Carmageddon game coming out sometime in the near future. And I was like, "is he doing a voice for that or something?

[picture of Philip J. Fry]

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:06 PM on July 15, 2011


The people saying "What's the big deal?" have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. The road and freeway traffic in LA actually defies fiction it's so bad. Shutting down that segment of the 405 from Westside LA to the Valley is kind of like cutting Manhattan off from New Jersey - including the trains and subways.

That segment of the 405 is in a hilly mountain pass. There aren't many ways to detour around it. People already try to use the surface streets around the 405 as a detour, bypass or short cut when the freeway is open and crowded. Moving the bulk of the weekend 405 traffic to the twisty two-lane canyons and mountain roads is a recipe for disaster. Like Mulholland Drive to Beverly Glen - there's going to be an increase in cars plunging off of those 500-1000 foot tall canyon cliffs during the closure.

Sure, it's not end of the world stuff, but it's large enough of a public issue that it'll probably actually kill a few people through circumstances - through increased car accidents, through delayed ambulances, fire or other delayed first responders.
posted by loquacious at 1:07 PM on July 15, 2011 [31 favorites]


A highway will be closed for . . . one weekend? This seems a lot less bad than, say, construction anywhere else I've been.
posted by jeather at 1:07 PM on July 15, 2011


The stretch handles 375,000 cars on a typical day and up to 500,000 on the weekends.

They close highways for construction on weekends sometimes around here, but they do it on weekends because the traffic volumes are much lighter then. Why on earth would LA's planning geniuses be deliberately closing the roads at the busiest times?
posted by nickmark at 1:08 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem is not for locals, but for out-of-towners and tourists who just want to get from one side to the other of LA. If you're local, you've seen the road signs for months, you've read the papers, and you've planned alternative routes or other activities for the weekend. But for people traveling north or south of LA, the 405 is the primary way to get through LA and stay along the coast. Look at the 405 vs 101 and 5, there is no adjacent freeway.

Locals can survive, it's the 100,000 non-locals who travel through who will make a mess for everyone else.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:08 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


And as loquacious said.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:09 PM on July 15, 2011


Shutting down that segment of the 405 from Westside LA to the Valley is kind of like cutting Manhattan off from New Jersey - including the trains and subways.

I know several people in Manhattan who would applaud that happening.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:09 PM on July 15, 2011


Jesus Christ, every single highway in my city has been under construction every summer for decades. We bitch about it constantly but no one freaks out.
posted by octothorpe at 1:09 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Adding lanes is almost never a good idea.

Especially for LA, which should have really learned its lesson by now, especially in light of the fact that the temporary closure of a single road is poised to paralyze the region.

That's not just bad design for moving people and the environment. That's bad for safety and security.
posted by schmod at 1:10 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I know several people in Manhattan who would applaud that happening.

You took the bait, but I know a lot of people in LA that would support nuking the Valley just on principle.
posted by loquacious at 1:11 PM on July 15, 2011


I've been reading and can't see how this will be anything other than 48 hours of mild inconvenience for most people.

OMG! One of Four possible major routes is closed. On a weekend. When I was just going to stay home and play with the kids anyways. Jesus, what a city of drama queens.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:13 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


loquacious: "You took the bait, but I know a lot of people in LA that would support nuking the Valley just on principle."

I live in the Valley and even I can see the merits of this plan.
posted by mullingitover at 1:14 PM on July 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


What the hell happened? When I lived in Studio City and commuted to Santa Monica by the 101 to the 405, I used to sometimes hop off the 405 and take the surface road. There used to be a road there before they built the 405, it went all the way through the pass. But now I look at the Google Maps sat photos and it looks like there's a section where that's all torn out, you'd have to go up Mulholland to the middle of the mountains. I think I used to commute north on Skirball, but I don't see where that goes through the pass either. And N Sepulveda Blvd curves off west and goes way the hell out of the way before going over the pass, I don't recall that diversion. What the hell did they do to the surface roads in this area?
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:14 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not everyone works M-F. I'm going to be doing exactly as you suggest, but some people I know have to work Sat/Sun and it's really going to suck for them.

Yes, but given that the area supervisor is telling everyone to stay home, if you work in a customer-oriented business, you're not going to have the clientele to justify being open anyway. And if you don't work in a customer-oriented business, you could either non-essential personnel telecommute/stay home or just shut down for a weekend without too much batshitinsanity, seems liike.

I live in an area with NO trains, NO subways, NO streetcars or trolleys or monorails or jet packs or jetson cars--in other words, no reliable mass transit. In fact we have no mass transit at all unless you count the extremely limited bus system, and even then it's a stretch unless you want to go to a mall, the beach or the hospital during daylight hours. And we're as sprawling and poorly laid-out an infrastructure as you could ever hope to see, and even I could certainly manage to stay off the roads for a weekend, especially with a month's prior notice.

Sheesh, LA people, chill out.
posted by misha at 1:19 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ, every single highway in my city has been under construction every summer for decades. We bitch about it constantly but no one freaks out.

You probably don't have a freeway like this in your city. Remember, LA pretty much invented the freeway, and they have something like 50 of them now and many are longer than your average northeastern seaboard state is wide. This is literally the busiest segment of freeway in the country, and it doesn't have a good way to detour half a million cars around it.

LA also always has freeway construction going on. They've just finished like three new major freeway extensions and a couple of brand new freeways. Retrofitting and expansion of the entire length of the 5 has been going on for something like 20 years. It's rare that you can take any cross-county journey and not encounter constructions, closed lanes or some kind of detour somewhere as you traverse 100-200 miles of sprawling urban core involving a half a dozen interchanges and different freeway routes. You may notice that none of these are national news, nor do natives complain about them or freak out.

Closing that segment of the 405 is effectively going to cut LA in half for a few days because the clusterfuck of local and through traffic trying to route around it is going to be insane.

(And yeah, I can't argue with the assessment that this is more of an indication of how toxic the car culture is in LA. This is why I ride a bike and don't like living in LA.)
posted by loquacious at 1:20 PM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jesus Christ, every single highway in my city has been under construction every summer for decades. We bitch about it constantly but no one freaks out.

There's construction on the 405 every day. Lane closures at night are common. This is shutting the whole thing down in a section where there's not really alternate routes.

Sheesh, LA people, chill out.

Most people are chilled out. Except the ones that must figure out how to navigate the mess and the media that loves stories like this.
posted by birdherder at 1:23 PM on July 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


A Day Without the Valley. We should make this an annual thing.
posted by veritas que at 1:24 PM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


anyone think that I'll be able to make it from LAX to BUR (Burbank) in <5 hours? I *have* to. I'm only going to be in LA for 5 hours on my way somewhere else. Now my ride has decided not to help me. It feels like the Warriors.
posted by n9 at 1:25 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


It might end up like the huge clusterfuck that was predicted for the 1984 Olympics. Which ended up being not that big a deal because everyone was expecting carmageddon, and decided to do other things instead.

Not to say it won't suck for the millions who really do have to get around this weekend. There's no doubt it is a big deal locally. That the locals have had months to prepare is the good thing here. If for some reason the 405 closed for a weekend unexpectedly, you'd be sure to hear the news of the aftermath across the country. It really would be a disaster.

The crazy thing in the the big picture here will add a single lane, encouraging an already at capacity highway to be used even more. A billion dollar project. It's nice stimulus to the local economyh, but yet again, one wonders about the wisdom of spending money on anything that comes along.

This is why I ride a bike and don't like living in LA.

Funny, this one reason why I ride a bike and like living in L.A.
posted by 2N2222 at 1:25 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, but given that the area supervisor is telling everyone to stay home, if you work in a customer-oriented business, you're not going to have the clientele to justify being open anyway

I don't know any retail business that is shutting down for the weekend. Malls, restaurants, etc are still open, so retail workers are still working.

After all, it's not like people are evacuating. Westsiders will still be in the Westside, and in fact will be more "trapped" there than normal.

The problem is people who, say, live in the Valley but work in a store in Santa Monica or West LA. They're just screwed.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:25 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


A Sherman Oaks couple plan to make the best of "Carmageddon" weekend by lounging poolside at home and detoxing with a fruity homemade cleanse.

LA Times or The Onion?
posted by octothorpe at 1:26 PM on July 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


If I understand correctly, the best case scenario is : Some horrible disaster causes the whole bridge to collapse during the renovations and this expressways remains closed for the next year. Is that a fair assessment?

You know, London's congestion charge runs as high as $30 per day. Anyone think California could solve it's budget problems with a congestion charge for LA? lol
posted by jeffburdges at 1:27 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why on earth would LA's planning geniuses be deliberately closing the roads at the busiest times?

This is actually the least disruptive time to do it. The construction company basically requires 48 hours to make sure this bridge is half-torn-down (they're doing half now, then slowly building that bridge back up, then another half a year from now). Friday night to Sunday night.

The people saying "What's the big deal?" have absolutely no idea what they're talking about.

This is the absolute truth. All of the other freeways that run north-south -- the 5, the 101, the 2, are all stretched to their limits. Dumping the cars from the 405 onto one of those -- or worse, onto surface streets like Coldwater Canyon (a popular diversion when the 405 is absolutely jammed, like every Friday) -- is going to be an absolute nightmare. This isn't the press going crazy just to go crazy, we are likely to have multi-hour delays on Saturday and Sunday, and the potential for total gridlock is really, really high.
posted by mark242 at 1:29 PM on July 15, 2011


jeffburdges: "....You know, London's congestion charge runs as high as $30 per day. Anyone think California could solve it's budget problems with a congestion charge for LA? lol"

Not a bad idea... as soon as LA has a usable public transportation system to rival the tube. Simply put, the problem isn't really closing down the freeway. The problem is an utter lack of alternatives to getting around large portions of the greater LA area. (Or, to be honest, much of the US.)
posted by JMOZ at 1:31 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is, though, one of those times I'm particularly glad I can telecommute. And today I'm even being asked to by the LAPD!

Otherwise I would have had to cross the 405 (West->East) after the onramps close at 7... which would probably have taken forever.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:33 PM on July 15, 2011


Just fyi, Paris Beach closes one major highway for one or two months.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:34 PM on July 15, 2011


n9 -- It can be done in 5 hours easy (even on Carmageddon day). I've lived here all my life, and your best bet is to take a very wide circle.

Some might say take the 105E to 110N past downtown and up the 5 -- this is the most straightforward route and sometimes even faster than the 405 under normal circumstances. This is likely to have godawful traffic -- but check Google Maps bc the traffic might be light. If it is, you can make this trip in 30-45min.

If you have 5 full hours, try a bigger circle. Here are very roundabout (if google maps shows the simplest routes as horrible) options:

105E to 710N to 5N -- take 5N straight to burbank (this avoids downtown by going about several miles further east)
105E to 605N to 5N (even further out east)
405S to 91E to 605N to 10W to 5N.... (goes further south before moving east)

And then there are surface streets...

Suffice to say with 5 hours you have a LOT of ways to get around it (some of these routes could be up to 100 miles, really). The shortest route might not be the fastest.
posted by chimaera at 1:35 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


anyone think that I'll be able to make it from LAX to BUR (Burbank) in <5>

Do you have a car?

Take the 105 to the 110 to the 5 through downtown. You wouldn't need to take the 405 to go to BUR anyway. The question is whether the 105 and 5 will be truly awful, but I doubt people would detour that far.

If you can get to downtown there is a train to BUR also.

posted by rainydayfilms at 1:36 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry about the over use of italics. Chimaera has more detailed instruction.
posted by rainydayfilms at 1:37 PM on July 15, 2011


This was on the news last night in New York. Whyyy.
posted by sweetkid at 1:37 PM on July 15, 2011


If you want to take the route that is LEAST likely to have ridiculous traffic (though I'm sure you'll hit a fair bit) it's a very circuitous route but try:

405S to 91E to 605N to 210W (turns into 134W). EXIT 134W at San Fernando and take San Fernando to Hollywood way.

This is a very long route (the 605 swings way east) but in a worst-case scenario you're avoiding most of the "first alternate' routes.
posted by chimaera at 1:38 PM on July 15, 2011


Funny that Jet Blue is listing the block time on both flights from Long Beach to Burbank as 44 minutes. That works out to a speed of 39 mph.
posted by crapmatic at 1:40 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was on the news last night in New York. Whyyy.

Cry me a river. The rest of the country is tired of hearing about NYC every time they get some snow.
posted by sbutler at 1:43 PM on July 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Nut yeah, n9: If you have 5 hours I wouldn't be too worried, but I also wouldn't dawdle, because if everyone stays home you'll have a quick trip, but if everyone thinks everyone ELSE is gonna stay home, well, stranger things have happened in LA.
posted by chimaera at 1:43 PM on July 15, 2011


A nearby studio should film it and release a movie. Oh, wait...
posted by perhapses at 1:48 PM on July 15, 2011


To celebrate the start of Carmageddon tonight, I am going to the horsetrack to see the Prince tribute band "Purple Reign" play.

It will be worth it. So worth it.
posted by V4V at 1:49 PM on July 15, 2011


OMG! One of Four possible major routes is closed.

What are the other three possible routes?

This was on the news last night in New York. Whyyy.

So idiots in New York who were planning to come spend a nice weekend in LA will change their plans.
posted by The World Famous at 1:49 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


It might end up like the huge clusterfuck that was predicted for the 1984 Olympics.

LOL I remember that, I think I moved to LA in like '82. But back then, the freeways were totally different. You could get across town in 20 minutes, and there were rarely any traffic jams except at the peak of rush hour. Then there was a massive immigration to LA over the next decade, I think I recall seeing figures of 2 million population growth. You couldn't cover that same distance in 2 hours.

I remember taking Drivers Education in the mid 70s, we had driving simulators that showed 16mm films (non-interactive) that were taken on LA freeways during the late 60s. I can still remember the feeling of driving a Chrysler 300 convertible through LA. Oh man the freeways seemed totally empty compared to what they were in the 80s. If you live in LA, you should go find some reruns of the old 70s shows like Emergency or Adam-12. Watch their driving around scenes and you will just be astonished at what traffic was like.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:51 PM on July 15, 2011


It's Angelenos, not Angelinos, you pinche gringos.

Actually, it's Angeleños.

I don't expect most locals to be overly affected, it will be people who planned trips south of LA from north of LA who will have the most trouble navigating the overloaded surface streets trying to get back to the 405.
posted by chaz at 1:53 PM on July 15, 2011


A Sherman Oaks couple plan to make the best of "Carmageddon" weekend by lounging poolside at home and detoxing with a fruity homemade cleanse.

LA Times or The Onion?


This is one of those potential disasters where if everybody collectively freaks out enough and decides to change their normal behavior (whether that's catching up with your netflix queue or going with the fruity homemade cleanse instead of trekking down the hill to a west side spa), it probably won't be a disaster.

Then we can laugh about how unnecessarily freaked out we all were instead of having millions of people more or less stranded on the road for most of the weekend. Hopefully.
posted by weston at 1:54 PM on July 15, 2011


You're probably both listening to news that makes you stupid, sweetkid & sbutler.

I know about Carmageddon only thought mefi comments. Until this post, I'd imagined LA was shutting down freeway for a demolition derby. I fully support all sufficiently major car traffic disruptions, but the idea of a whimsical shutdown for a sporting even was way cooler.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:56 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Forgive the really horrible drawing, but here's an illustration of the various concentric circles you could take on the freeways from LAX to BUR:

Bad Sketch On Google Map.

Hope this helps!
posted by chimaera at 1:57 PM on July 15, 2011


Watch the slowdown in real time.
posted by mark242 at 2:01 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some folks may not realize that the Santa Monica Mountains basically divide LA in half along the east west axis. There are just no nearby feasible alternate north south routes that can handle the traffic. The nearest freeways over the mountains are eight to ten miles away as the crow flies, and those are already slowed to a crawl without adding the entire load of 405 to them.

I think the press coverage is a bit overblown, but... They want and need to get the word out to people driving through LA (more specifically...not driving through LA... har har har) so it's all over the news on the West Coast.

It's also the primary north south access to LAX. The other freeways might be nothing short of hellish, but then again, if enough people just stay the hell away, traffic might conceivably be lighter than usual.

I tend to avoid the 405 anyway unless I am going somewhere that can't be reached by alternate means. And if I am traversing LA, I'll drive the 20-30 miles out of my way to take 5 or 605 no matter what the traffic conditions are like. The 405 is just hell.
posted by Xoebe at 2:02 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


There should be a rail line that serves the south bay, from blueline/long beach to palos verdes, to green line/el segundo, to venice, santa monica, on up into the valley and meet up with the orange line.
posted by scelerat at 2:06 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


n9: if you're wondering about public transportation options, if traffic isn't a nightmare, take the flyaway bus to union station and then I think you'll need to take the red line to north hollywood and a shuttle to the airport from there. I think read somewhere that the metrolink train that would stop at the airport doesn't run on weekends. If traffic sucks, take green line to blue line to red line, etc. Check your route at the metro website.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:07 PM on July 15, 2011


"The people who shop Rodeo Drive now don't come in by transit bus, so I don't think someone who shops on Rodeo Drive is going to take the subway. The subway riders are not potential shoppers. They cannot afford the kind of products retailers in the Golden Triangle sell."
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:09 PM on July 15, 2011


I'm going to guess that if you don't understand the freakout, you've never been on the 405.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:10 PM on July 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


This was on the news last night in New York. Whyyy.

WHYY is in Philadelphia.
posted by Floydd at 2:11 PM on July 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


I live and work in Santa Monica, bike to work, and would have been perfectly happy to stay ensconced all weekend except... I agreed to bring a sound system to a downtown event tonight months ago, so I'm going to have to be on the 10, which is what connects the west side to the other N/S routes. I'm... somewhat apprehensive about being able to hit the start time on that event. And then some friends I rarely see convinced me to meet them in Cabo saturday afternoon.

We got a hotel AT the airport tonight to avoid a tomorrow morning anxiety nightmare.
posted by flaterik at 2:11 PM on July 15, 2011


zehan: westsiders can't catch a train because they vehemently protest any and all attempts to put rail-based public transportation in their 'hood. Also the Expo line construction is, like, way behind schedule.

My understand is that's mostly been Beverly Hills in the way of the train, and that's not the west side. That's the... I have nothing nice to say about Beverly Hills.
posted by flaterik at 2:12 PM on July 15, 2011


flaterik: rest assured cheviot hills is protesting the hell out of the expo line through there
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:15 PM on July 15, 2011


see also: the protests against the dedicated bus lane for wilshire through condo canyon to brentwood
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:16 PM on July 15, 2011


I have never even heard of cheviot hills before, and now I hate them. Brentwood is on my ugh list as well - they had a hand in making this construction worse as well, because they threatened lawsuits if DOT changed the plan to an alternate that could've accomplished this whole mess with only one closure.
posted by flaterik at 2:18 PM on July 15, 2011


the protests have come from both political sides -- when entitled rich folk AND the Bus Riders Union both doing everything they can to kill rail projects, you get Los Angeles 2011.
posted by chimaera at 2:19 PM on July 15, 2011


I'm totally going to start using -maggedon modifiers to describe it when the Docklands Light Railway by my house closes for weekend maintenance.

"Can't use Crossharbour station today due to DLRmageddon!"
posted by generichuman at 2:21 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


anigbrowl: Living in NorCal, I'm already heartily sick of it. Buy your groceries, get a books or some DVDs, stay home for the weekend or take a walk in the park or something. Get over yourselves already.

The traffic/freeway/population density problem isn't so much more evolved in the Bay Area, and it's probably less evolved if you compare public transit systems. If the Bay Bridge were shut down for two weekends in a row there'd be massive freakouts, BART notwithstanding.

It is kinda amusing, though, that LA's traffic freakouts make the network news and generate a whole new word for the OED. SF's, not so much.
posted by blucevalo at 2:22 PM on July 15, 2011


I need to be at the San Diego airport by Sunday at 8pm. I stay in Westchester, near LAX, south of where the freeway will be closed. I had signed up to volunteer at the Outfest Film Festival at the DGA in Hollywood on Sunday until 3:30 pm.

Is there any chance I would be able to reach San Diego by 8pm if I leave at 3:30 (presumably by taking the 101 to the 5)? What if I left at 2:30? 1:30?

Or should just forget about going to the DGA entirely and stay in Westchester during the day? (And if so, what time should I leave to arrive in San Diego by 8?)
posted by lewedswiver at 2:24 PM on July 15, 2011


There's a Bus Riders Union?
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:24 PM on July 15, 2011


shakespeherian: "I'm going to guess that if you don't understand the freakout, you've never been on the 405."

And probably never will be. Stories like this don't exactly make me ever want to visit. I can't deal with highways with more than three lanes in each direction.
posted by octothorpe at 2:26 PM on July 15, 2011


I got an extra floating holiday at work out of this, so I can't complain! I do plan to stay in my neighborhood all weekend long, though. Hopefully things won't be as awful as everyone is dreading, for people who DO have to move around this weekend.

Pretty amusing to find a post about this on the blue!
posted by estherbester at 2:26 PM on July 15, 2011


lewedswiver -- going south from Hollywood/Downtown LA shouldn't be too bad. You SHOULD be able to take 101S to 5S without any really abnormal levels of traffic.* Getting TO Hollywood is probably going to suck more though.

On a Sunday I'd give myself no less than 4 hours to get to San Diego.

*always consult the google maps traffic or traffic.tann.net
posted by chimaera at 2:28 PM on July 15, 2011


And in Calgary, they're resurfacing a bridge on our freeway (which in no way is as big as the I405 but is as important to our city) one lane at a time over the course of 6 months. Most Calgarians would rather see it entirely closed for a week than drawn out over this long.
posted by jeffmik at 2:31 PM on July 15, 2011


I remember as a kid, riding in my parents' chevy to the valley to see my grandparents. I remember that the road took a turn and you could see that bridge being put together, but up on top of a hill. Well the finished the bridge, took the hill out from underneath and many many cars have gone under it.
posted by Danf at 2:44 PM on July 15, 2011


When I saw Carmageddon I assumed that this would be the weekend when cars rise up against their human masters and destroy us all.
posted by Lokisbane at 2:46 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Everything I know about LA I learned from Pulp Fiction and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
posted by goethean at 2:50 PM on July 15, 2011


Make sure to bring your Japanese sword along.
posted by goethean at 2:51 PM on July 15, 2011


The main north-south arterial on the east side of Council Bluffs has been closed all summer. Sure does suck.
posted by Fezboy! at 2:51 PM on July 15, 2011


I can't deal with highways with more than three lanes in each direction.

Some of us don't have that luxury. People actually living here are mostly nonplussed; this is national news because this section of the 405 is the primary N-S artery west of downtown LA, routing more passengers than LAX does on a typical day, but there are others, and they'll handle the traffic.

One of the most interesting cultural effects of this was mentioned in the LA Times.
posted by ancillary at 2:53 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


crapmatic wrote: Funny that Jet Blue is listing the block time on both flights from Long Beach to Burbank as 44 minutes. That works out to a speed of 39 mph.

Taxiing is slow.

I'm still confused. Generally when they remove bridges around here, they use these things called cranes, and they close the highway for a few minutes at a time, or at most for a couple of hours overnight. Sometimes they close surface streets for bridge removal, but that's because it's cheaper and they can get away with closing it.

I would have thought they would know of ways of reconstructing bridges on the same alignment in California without disrupting the traffic flowing underneath. (I presume they're not ripping out a bridge the highway is carried on, as that would be a much longer disruption, what with half the highway closed until it was rebuilt)
posted by wierdo at 2:54 PM on July 15, 2011


Oh yeah! And Mulholland Drive!
posted by goethean at 2:54 PM on July 15, 2011


The main north-south arterial on the east side of Council Bluffs has been closed all summer. Sure does suck.

Living in Iowa, you mean?
posted by goethean at 2:58 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


To the people who are asking why this is national news (and yes, I am repeating what other LA locals have already said): it's to alert folks flying into LA that getting out of LAX to anywhere in particular is going to be difficult. I've already turned away two different visitors who were planning to come out this weekend and unable to fly into Ontario for pickup. I've been my own little news service informing out of town and out of state friends and family that they can do what they like with their vacation plans, I'm not leaving my house.

Fun fact! I have to make these announcements despite living 80 miles from the affected area! Still, I've spent most of my life in Southern California figuring out creative freeway routes that involve cutting out the 405 entirely. I've missed two major concerts due to being parked on the 405 and I hold a grudge.

When they finished the 210 last year it sort of made my decade. There is a whole new universe of routes to LA events that I can take advantage of now.
posted by annathea at 3:01 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm going to guess that if you don't understand the freakout, you've never been on the 405.

Oh, I don't know if just being on the 405 is sufficient. Depending on the 405, now that's another matter entirely. I'll tell you a 405 anecdote.

As I mentioned previously, I used to commute from Studio City to Santa Monica. I had a brand new Ford Taurus, the first year it was available, so this was like 1986. I totally burned out the brand new disc brakes in 3 months of stop and go traffic on the 101 and the 405. So I was always looking for a way out of the traffic. Of course there's no way from the Valley to Santa Monica except through the Sepulveda Pass.

So one day, I'm in an exceptionally bad traffic jam. I'm in the second lane from the right, going south on the 405. People are desperately merging into my lane from the right. Then the right lane is totally empty, and I see it: a column of black smoke, and a car in flames on the shoulder. The gasoline is burning furiously, flames are shooting out of the car into the right lane a bit, and there are no emergency vehicles around. Hmm.. An open lane, that never happens on the 405. I bet that if I took the open lane, I wouldn't be exposed to those flames for more than a quarter of a second. I'm going for it! I zoomed out of the stalled 2nd lane and into the right lane, accelerating hard. As I'm passing the car, the flames are so intense, I can feel the radiant heat burning my face, right through my closed windows and blasting air conditioning. That was a little more intense than I expected, but I get past almost instantly, and the lane is wide open for a while. I was past the bottleneck and the rest of the commute was fine. I got to my destination, inspected the right side of my car, no damage. I concluded that my decision was the right move, and I'd do it again in similar circumstances.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:05 PM on July 15, 2011 [19 favorites]


I can't deal with highways with more than three lanes in each direction.

Funny. I can't deal with freeways with less than three lanes in each direction.
posted by birdherder at 3:05 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was just wondering yesterday how much of this had made it into national news - we've had it in all forms of media starting at the end of last month. Why? Because the local govt. wanted EVERYONE to know about this in hopes that they could convince as many folk as possible to stay away and maybe make the traffic a tiny bit less than it's going to be. We're hearing a lot about this here in San Diego because there's a lot of back and forth traffic between here and LA. And if you've never been in LA traffic you won't know what a mess it is, especially this one highway. I've been in bad traffic in Houston, NYC, London, Paris - it's still not like LA - not that it's horrifically worse, it's just a new kind of messy.

Get ready for more because you'll see stories during those days because people will be stuck sitting in their cars in the traffic and that makes for easy cut away footage for the news. Also OOOOO, helicopter traffic shots.
posted by batgrlHG at 3:08 PM on July 15, 2011


I'm still confused. Generally when they remove bridges around here, they use these things called cranes, and they close the highway for a few minutes at a time, or at most for a couple of hours overnight. Sometimes they close surface streets for bridge removal, but that's because it's cheaper and they can get away with closing it.

If they could do it that way they would. The bridge in question is in a canyon. Crossing a 10-ish lane freeway. Even overnight, the 405 carries a lot of traffic and so closing many lanes would cause residual backups well into the next day. It isn't like the engineers are a bunch of country bumpkins not knowing what they're doing. They're looking for the least painful way to do this.

Well, second most painful. They'll need to close the 405 again next year to finish the overpass. Caltrans had a plan that would cost less but only require the freeway to be closed once. But people in the area didn't want the "historically significant" Mulholland Dr overpass to be changed. So they went with this.
posted by birdherder at 3:17 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Will they still have somewhere to land a DC-10 on a Grand Cherokee if they need to?
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:19 PM on July 15, 2011


I am looking around desperately for the rest of this short film which was filmed in LA, looks like the 1940s. It has extensive footage driving through the Sepulveda Pass, before the 405 existed. This film sometimes comes up as filler between programs on the TCM cable channel.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:41 PM on July 15, 2011


I can't wait to watch the inevitable National Geographic special featuring a host that manages to avoid inciting catastrophe by the skin of their teeth.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:56 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


My understand is that's mostly been Beverly Hills in the way of the train, and that's not the west side. That's the... I have nothing nice to say about Beverly Hills.

Because of Beverly Hills, there is also one fewer Carmageddon alternative route. The 2 was originally supposed to extend to Santa Monica through BH. But much like the subway, they said no. And is also why travelling east-west in this city sucks normally.

they use these things called cranes

Those magical "cranes" have been known to fail and accidentally drop multi-ton beams. You don't want to maintain traffic with that kind of risk. They could have shut down the freeway one side at a time, but that would have still destroyed the capacity of the highway, and it would have taken longer to do it. So, much like ripping off a Band-Aid, they're just gonna do it in one fell swoop.

Mark my words, the real Carmageddon is going to be for the other half of the bridge. They've done enough warning that people are going to stay away. The news will report that traffic wasn't so bad afterall, and everyone will ignore it when it rolls around again.
posted by hwyengr at 3:59 PM on July 15, 2011


Those magical "cranes" have been known to fail and accidentally drop multi-ton beams.

This actually happened a few years back. A crane fell on the 405/101 interchange, closing it. That was the day it took me an hour-plus to cover the mile or so from the 10 to my apartment. But then again that was on a workday.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:02 PM on July 15, 2011


The 2 was originally supposed to extend to Santa Monica through BH.

Well, technically you mean the Beverly Hills Freeway Route 2 does go through BH to Santa Monica, since Route 2 at that point is Santa Monica Blvd.

I don't know... the whole Hollywood/Melrose area would be a lot less cool with a freeway in the middle of it. Kind of like how part of SF is better without the Embarcadero freeway.

On the other hand, it does take a while to get from the WH/BH area to the nearest freeway (I live in the little triangle of Hollywood/WH/BH and there's no quick freeway access, most of my commute is slogging down to the 10).
posted by wildcrdj at 4:06 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's the actual thing about L.A. traffic:

it's not *that* bad. The distances are long, but spend some time on the D.C. beltway and you'll be praying for L.A. traffic. San Fransisco and Manhattan are also much worse overall, though these cities have many more public transport alternatives.

But because of the sheer volume of traffic in L.A., it's like a cup filled to the brim with liquid. When everything is normal, it's ok. Add one more drop and things start to go bad. Things as seemingly minor as the extra traffic from people going out to dinner on Valentine's day can cause major traffic problems. Which is why all the angst over this.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:07 PM on July 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Big Deal. There's freeway construction all over Southern California. Talk to the people who have to take the 215 in San Bernardino everyday about construction. That freeway "remodeling" project is going to be completed in late 2015! The 91 in Anaheim or in Corona...how bad that construction is or going to get, or the 60, the 5, the 15 or the 210. Just about every major freeway in Southern California has some sort of construction project going on. Just because it's in LA it gets this much press? Please, one weekend contruction of the 405 is nothing compared to all of the construction going on all over SoCal.
posted by Plug1 at 4:23 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please, one weekend contruction of the 405 is nothing compared to all of the construction going on all over SoCal.

What is your measuring stick?
posted by Bookhouse at 4:28 PM on July 15, 2011


Could this all ultimately be linked to the removal of the streetcars...

Here in Toronto, we kept our streetcars, built a highway that's even busier that I-405, and we're still totally gridlocked, with commute times that are greater than LA's.

So, no.
posted by bicyclefish at 4:28 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Here's the actual thing about L.A. traffic:
it's not *that* bad. "


That is so true - I have said much the same thing to people for years. It's not the quality of the traffic, it's the quantity, if that makes sense. There are just a lot of cars.

Los Angeles drivers are the most courteous, decent, abiding, patient bunch of anonymous folks you will ever meet. Stop and go traffic, 10 miles an hour, and you need to cross four lanes of traffic to get out of the HOV lane and make your exit? Not a problem. People are generally happy to make room for you. They've all been in the same situation.

Here's the deal, though. Look for a reasonable space, turn your blinker on, and make your move. Do it in about the time it takes to read that sentence. None of this drive three damn miles with the blinker on. People see the blinker go more than about six blinks and they figure you don't know it's on. Nobody has several minutes to let you in. I have seen people turn the blinker on and drive several miles, then look all butt hurt when they finally change lanes and someone has to slam on the brakes and honk at them.
posted by Xoebe at 4:28 PM on July 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Just because it's in LA it gets this much press?

Sure. What other city has a stretch of freeway that handles a half-million cars per day that's being shut down entirely?
posted by hwyengr at 4:32 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The stated closure period is only if everything goes right. The plan, as I understand it, is that CalTrans is building a giant bed of dirt beneath the bridge. The bridge is not going to be gently taken apart. It's going to be demolished sending huge chunks of concrete to the interstate below. CalTrans only thinks the bed of dirt solution is going to work. It's possible that after all the debris and dirt is cleaned up that there's a huge hole in one (or more) lanes of the 405. Then let the fun begin.

Of course, if all goes well, CalTrans is saying they'll be done much earlier than Monday at 6pm.
posted by veritas que at 4:34 PM on July 15, 2011


With the Expo Line you could easily take the MetroRail through to downtown and take it all the way to Santa Monica... in 2015.

I want a scapegoat for not having the light rail get to the westside by the 21st century. Oh, wait, I've had one for years.
posted by linux at 4:34 PM on July 15, 2011


I meant MetroLink. MetroRail is the light rail system that's still four years out from getting to the beach. MetroLink is the train system connecting greater LA to downtown.
posted by linux at 4:36 PM on July 15, 2011


Why on earth would LA's planning geniuses be deliberately closing the roads at the busiest times?

Give them a little credit. The weekends are not the busiest time. It is 500,000 cars on the weekend. The whole weekend. So 250k a day compared to 375k per day on weekdays.
posted by Justinian at 4:37 PM on July 15, 2011


shakespeherian: "I'm going to guess that if you don't understand the freakout, you've never been on the 405."

Fair enough--I haven't, but my spouse has.

It's only like 10 miles that will be closed down(even less southbound), right? There aren't many workarounds, I get that.

Still, with a month's notice, even if you have to work--you're a neurosurgeon or you're living paycheck to paycheck and your boss is a total douche--couldn't you couchsurf or pitch a tent or stay with a friend or something for, at most, those three nights?

Still not getting the freakout, honestly.
posted by misha at 4:39 PM on July 15, 2011


Here in Toronto, we kept our streetcars, built a highway that's even busier that I-405, and we're still totally gridlocked, with commute times that are greater than LA's.

I've driven the 401 in Toronto and don't wish to do so again for... life. For those of you unaware of the clusterfuck that is the 401 near Pearson in Toronto, check this Google map. Yes, you counted 18 lanes (complete with a traffic jam in the eastbound direction!).

The difference I see with the 401 closing (which happened recently, didn't it?) and the 405 closing is that there are other routes that follow the same path (albeit out of the way and tolled), and for construction the 401 at least can typically shut a section of lanes down, not the whole damn thing.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:44 PM on July 15, 2011


Still not getting the freakout, honestly.

I don't think there really is a freakout, actually. Just the local government and CalTrans doing a really, really good job of getting the word out. So good of a job that people are thinking it's overblown.

If they'd under-promoted this, the outcry would've been ridiculous. At least here there's a chance that people will say "oh that wasn't so bad."

The problem is, when you're warning people about something, you end up either having people mad at you because you didn't warn them hard enough, or that you oversold the problem (even though the intended effect actually IS "it wasn't so bad").
posted by chimaera at 4:45 PM on July 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Still not getting the freakout, honestly.

The closure is 10 miles. The official detour is 28.4 miles long on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th busiest freeways in Los Angeles, which are usually gridlocked on their own. Double the number of cars on top of normal traffic, there's potential for serious problems.

Hence the massive alerts and newsworthiness.
posted by hwyengr at 4:51 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


mullingitover: "loquacious: "You took the bait, but I know a lot of people in LA that would support nuking the Valley just on principle."

I live in the Valley and even I can see the merits of this plan.
"

I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by bwg at 4:54 PM on July 15, 2011


shakespeherian: "I'm going to guess that if you don't understand the freakout, you've never been on the 405."

I've driven on the 405; didn't much care for it.
posted by bwg at 4:56 PM on July 15, 2011


I would like to nth "it's not a freakout, just good communication". No one I know if upset or freaked out by this, just making different plans than normal. Of course, I don't watch TV news. They might be making it SEEM like a freakout, because that's what TV news does. Which is why I don't watch it.
posted by flaterik at 5:05 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think of this a lot like the flu epidemics. The government sees a flu epidemic starting and drums up the "get your vaccinations" marketing machine. Lo and behold, a bunch of people get their vaccinations, the flu season doesn't turn out as bad as it otherwise would have, and everyone says the government was fearmongering, when the whole thing actually worked the way it was supposed to.

This is working the way it's supposed to. But hwyengr's point is absolutely salient: this one won't be so bad (because it's working) and everyone's going to not realize that it worked BECAUSE of how the government is getting word out. Next year everyone's going to think "It wasn't so bad" and it's gonna be worse than expected. Then everyone's going to freak out and yell at their local elected officials because of it.
posted by chimaera at 5:13 PM on July 15, 2011


There is a little thing in my head that loves how California and Ontario are basically the only places that call their highways "the 405" or "the 401" but since one's the subject of this post and the other's the Equivalent And Busier Canadian Highway, you get the impression that that's just how EVERYONE talks about highways.

(Incidentally: The 401 is divided into collector and express lanes in both directions, with occasional ramps between each, which not only lets an 18-lane highway be manageable, but also lets them shut down one set at a time, even for things like bridge repairs.)
posted by mendel at 5:21 PM on July 15, 2011


I'm one of the ones who has to commute to work in LA tomorrow. Thankfully I don't have to cross anything worse than Hollywood, but my endpoint is right where one of the (two-lane, twisty mountain road) bypass routes begins and I have to get across another one (Highland/Cahuenga/101). I'm giving myself an extra 45 minutes on what's usually a 25 minute surface street commute. My coworker usually takes the 405 down from the Valley—he's pretty panicked about how to get to work tomorrow.
I told him to just sleep wherever Area Homeless sleep tonight. He could just follow them after closing...

In the end I just wish there was a good way to watch the detonation, but there's literally no non-hellish way to even approach the Sepulveda pass from any direction. Which, of course, is a part of why this is such a commotion.
posted by carsonb at 5:22 PM on July 15, 2011


Oh, and as for the Red Line being free... same as it ever was just no cops!
posted by carsonb at 5:23 PM on July 15, 2011


THANKS Chimera. Thank you very much for that. Super-helpful.
posted by n9 at 5:27 PM on July 15, 2011


klang: It's two weekends, isn't it? This one and next?

Naw, this weekend and then another weekend next year, July 2012 I think.

Oh hey hwyengr! Glad you're in this discussion. We should play that weird midwestern card game again soon.
posted by carsonb at 5:39 PM on July 15, 2011


So glad I left Southern California. So glad.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 5:40 PM on July 15, 2011


The stated closure period is only if everything goes right. The plan, as I understand it, is that CalTrans is building a giant bed of dirt beneath the bridge. The bridge is not going to be gently taken apart. It's going to be demolished sending huge chunks of concrete to the interstate below. CalTrans only thinks the bed of dirt solution is going to work.

When they demolished a bridge on OUR 405 and closed the freeway for the weekend, they did this -- spread a layer of sand and dirt, then jackhammered down the bridge, removed the dirt, put down a quickie topcoat, and had the road reopened before the end of the weekend. No issues.

Other than the chunk they took out of the new bridge.

But anyway, I wouldn't worry too much about it.
posted by dw at 5:55 PM on July 15, 2011


I saw this and immediately thought of this song. I kind of miss LA right now...
posted by schyler523 at 6:13 PM on July 15, 2011


When this was written up in the NY Times several months ago they said Sepulveda Bl. (Original rd through the pass)would be closed as well.

My dad and uncle were born in the 30's and remember when the red cars went from Arcadia to Santa Monica.

Very glad not to be in LA right now, but wish desperately to be in New England for the summer.
posted by brujita at 6:18 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


*shrugs, prepares for tommorrow's subway ride*

/Noo Yawker
posted by jonmc at 6:20 PM on July 15, 2011


Hustlers grab your guns
Your shadow weighs a ton
Driving down the 101
California here we come
Right back where we started from

California!
Here we come!
posted by bwg at 6:40 PM on July 15, 2011


Sadly, my daughter's play* is opening on Saturday night in Hollywood. We are going to monitor traffic all day and will be prepared to allow 3 hrs for a 1 hour drive. It is not on the westside, so hopefully the traffic won't be the worst.

*Shameless plug. She's the stage manager.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:49 PM on July 15, 2011


Shouldn't be that big of a deal. The 405 has been closed before.
posted by Daddio at 6:50 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shouldn't be that big of a deal. The 405 has been closed before.

I'm really starting to hate that movie. It's so unrealistic and ridiculous.

The 405 is never that empty.

Well, that and there's no way you could land a jumbo jet on a California freeway. It'd get sliced up like an onion on a mandolin by all the street lights, overhead signs and bridges. The "405" in that short film doesn't exist. It's entirely synthetic and computer generated. The real thing only vaguely resembles the synthetic one.
posted by loquacious at 7:07 PM on July 15, 2011


*shrugs, prepares for tommorrow's subway ride*

Noob. Man, I'm so hip I was into subways when they were still above ground.
posted by loquacious at 7:09 PM on July 15, 2011


My subway is still half above ground. (Really)
posted by jonmc at 7:14 PM on July 15, 2011


Well, the freeway is now closed and the wave of catastrophe is no doubt now radiating out from the Santa Monica Mountains...

I live 180 miles up Highway 101 from one end of the closure (I can see the highway from my front porch) and the Highway Patrol is saying it may affect traffic all the way up here. If the traffic slows, I'll take a picture and link it here. Also, a company based less than 20 miles south of me is 'in charge of the closure'. No, they're not doing the massive construction job; they're just putting up the signs and barriers to keep everybody off.

Apparently, I haven't moved far enough away from L.A.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:22 PM on July 15, 2011


Bah! Shut 'em all down and let Richard Alpert sort it out.

@entropicamericana pinche gringos

Smile when you say that, pardner.
posted by Twang at 8:05 PM on July 15, 2011


google maps is almost entirely green right now, which is UN HEARD OF for a friday night.
posted by flaterik at 8:19 PM on July 15, 2011


Bah! Shut 'em all down and let Richard Alpert sort it out.

The guy with the eyeliner from Lost?
posted by maryr at 8:19 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Daddio: "Shouldn't be that big of a deal. The 405 has been closed before."

"But it's on the map. lt's finished on the goddamn map!"

"I guess they fell behind!"

"You're fired! Everybody's FUCKING FIRED!"
posted by bwg at 8:22 PM on July 15, 2011


All this was funny to me because I live in beautiful Long Beach, and I don't have to be at LAX until Monday. But, true story, I just fought out I was mistaken -- the flight leaves tomorrow night at 10pm. Not Monday, no. Huh.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 8:24 PM on July 15, 2011


The road and freeway traffic in LA actually defies fiction it's so bad.

OK, I get that you have heavy traffic but really— you have entire generations born and die trying to get out of gridlock? You have traffic jams so bad the city just paves over them, drivers and all, and starts over?
posted by hattifattener at 8:30 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


You have people living in their cars for years a la that Doctor Who episode? I see where this is going....
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:35 PM on July 15, 2011


Even the Doctor doesn't go to LA.


(Well, only for parties at Christmas. And/or before the reboot.)
posted by maryr at 8:37 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Suggested movie line-up for Carmaggedon week-end:

Mulholland Drive
Magnolia
Miracle Mile
Sunset Boulevard
To Live and Die in LA
posted by SPrintF at 8:38 PM on July 15, 2011 [4 favorites]



google maps is almost entirely green right now, which is UN HEARD OF for a friday night.


Indeed. I live on the edge of Santa Monica right off the 10, not too far from the 405/10 interchange (where the 405 is closed). On an average day, I can see eastbound 10 traffic from my street, and after about 3pm, it's stop and go at best. Not only that, eastbound Pico and Olympic are often backed up at least to the 405. On a Friday, it's even worse. However, there was remarkably little traffic this afternoon/evening. The eastbound 10 seemed to never slow down. Pico traffic was very light.

Maybe everyone took heed of the warnings and planned to do something other than hit the road at this time. Hope it stays this way for the folks who really have to be on the road this weekend.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:40 PM on July 15, 2011


What, no LA Story?
posted by maryr at 8:52 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's green right now because they closed the 405 (or at least scheduled it) at 7pm tonight, so everyone who would normally be commuting home now left work early, making it a clusterfuck around 4pm but fantastic now.
posted by davejay at 9:47 PM on July 15, 2011


Even at 4pm it wasn't so bad, I've been hearing from co-workers who did go to work today. I took the day off work, because I was concerned that everyone would commute home early to beat the closures. It takes me an hour on regular weekdays (Santa Monica to the SFV), whereas Valentine's Day and Halloween are more like 2-3 hours. No thanks. Anyway, I went to do my weekly shop this afternoon and the market was really busy. The checkout lady said it was much busier than usual, so we decided everyone else must have had the same plan as me.

I really miss London's public transport system. They should just build train lines down the center of all the major freeways. You know, in a fantasy world where they have infinite money.

I agree that the dearth of traffic jams so far means that it has been a communications success. We will see if that lasts the weekend though. I wouldn't put it past everyone to get all cocky because Friday went OK, and then try and take the 101 over the hills.
posted by Joh at 10:22 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Traffic was actually pretty great for me both in the morning and this evening to and from work. I'm really worried about this weekend though. I live in Studio City right off both Coldwater and Laurel Canyons; main freeway bypass routes from the city to the valley. But a couple twisty one lane roads vs. a 10 lane freeway doesn't bode well. Most everyone I know seems to have other plans this weekend, so I don't think it'll really be a big deal. But it makes for good headlines, so I guess reality doesn't count.
posted by fishmasta at 10:35 PM on July 15, 2011


Was just coming back up the 55 from Newport Beach heading North towards Yorba Linda when we saw the ominous red glow of brake lights and then a WALL OF STOPPED CARS! We turned to each other and said "AHH! CARMAGEDDON! WHAT WERE WE THINKING!? NOOOOO!"

As it turns out, there was just an accident around the interchange between the 5 and the 55 and other than that, things were pretty smooth down by the Orange County side of things, as you might expect.
posted by weston at 11:34 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't live in LA, but I have driven the 405 a few times, and yeah, I really get the whole freakout. You've never seen the amount of traffic that runs on that road. I remember one day... Six lanes each direction and it's a parking lot. Even with a ton of lanes it has trouble coping with the traffic.
posted by azpenguin at 12:59 AM on July 16, 2011


Okay, so I don't live anywhere near the 405 (I get to play bumpercars on the Beltway, 495 and 66 in northern Va.), so could somebody please explain why in the heck do they need to close *10 MILES* to take down just one bridge?!? I mean, it would seem that at MOST a half mile each, north and south, and/or to the nearest north and south exits, would be plenty for safety while leaving lots of room to move the equipment around..... but 10 miles? is somebody nuts?
posted by easily confused at 3:34 AM on July 16, 2011


My dad and uncle were born in the 30's and remember when the red cars went from Arcadia to Santa Monica.

I apologize for only having an inappropriately-symbolized in-process ArcGIS screengrab of this project, but I recently wrapped up a research gig mapping the LA streetcar network as it existed at the end of the 1920s. The green lines represent the yellow cars of the LA Railway, and the blue ones the Pacific Electric red cars, with the dots denoting all the stops that PE made. Anyways, here's what you're all missing nearly 90 years later.

And here's a sad photo of the red cars on the scrap heap.
posted by avocet at 6:50 AM on July 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


And has anyone made a there's-a-gap-in-the-freeway Speed joke yet?
posted by avocet at 7:04 AM on July 16, 2011


could somebody please explain why in the heck do they need to close *10 MILES* to take down just one bridge?!?

The bridge that's being removed is at the top of the Sepulveda Pass as the 405 winds through the Santa Monica Mountains. The only other road that is directly adjacent to the immediate construction zone is a winding mountain road which is unsuitable to handle the amount of traffic that the 405 carries. So the closure extends to the nearest facilities that could possibly handle that much traffic, Interstate 10 and US 101. There's 10 miles between those highways, so that's the length of the closure zone.
posted by hwyengr at 9:34 AM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


could somebody please explain why in the heck do they need to close *10 MILES* to take down just one bridge?!?
The bridge is in the middle of a mountain pass, so if they only closed the freeway between the nearest exits, you would have a whole lot of traffic being diverted off the freeway into the middle of a mountain pass with almost nowhere to go. There's not much else to exit for there, other than the Getty Center (closed for the weekend) and a couple of gated communities up in the hills. Also, the reason the 405 is so busy in that stretch, is that it carries traffic going between the 10 freeway to the south and the 101 freeway to the north. So they are basically blocking off the freeway between the 10 and the 101, to prevent people from thinking that its even a possibility.

Avocet, that map is amazing. I would love to see a higher-res version when you're ready. I really wish that were still a map of public transport in LA :(
posted by Joh at 10:03 AM on July 16, 2011


The green lines represent the yellow cars of the LA Railway, and the blue ones the Pacific Electric red cars, with the dots denoting all the stops that PE made. Anyways, here's what you're all missing nearly 90 years later.

That's just tragic. I'd expected something maybe the scope of the LA Railway, but not the incredible reach of the Pacific Electric lines.
posted by weston at 10:58 AM on July 16, 2011


They should just build train lines down the center of all the major freeways.

My dad used to work for what was then called the Division of Highways, and I asked him about this once. He said that apparently different companies own the railroad right-of-ways to too many different pieces of SoCal, and they were just as cooperative about making things work as you might expect if you know their history.

Don't know if that's actually true, but hey, my Dad said so.
posted by OolooKitty at 11:01 AM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, just looking at live traffic cams, and there are about three people out driving around right now on the freeways... so the media overload worked.
posted by OolooKitty at 11:02 AM on July 16, 2011


Thanks, hwyengr and Joh! I just couldn't figure out the need for such a long stretch of closure, but if there's nowhere else to dump the overflow? Yeah, that makes sense.
posted by easily confused at 11:09 AM on July 16, 2011


Meanwhile, here in Boston, traffic is so heavy on I-93 near the construction that they're shutting down exit ramps. Because that makes sense.
posted by maryr at 11:35 AM on July 16, 2011


Google maps shows most freeways in LA as green, with just a few yellow stretches. How surreal.
posted by rtha at 11:40 AM on July 16, 2011


So what happens to traffic on the 110 tonight when Ronaldo plays Beckham at the Coliseum?
posted by dersins at 11:40 AM on July 16, 2011


They should do this more often just for the reduction in pollution.
posted by The World Famous at 12:19 PM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I walked the Sepulveda pass with some friends from Ventural Blvd to Sunset. It's a crappy walk wrt pedestrian infrastructure, but how else would I have ever noticed things like cherry tomatoes growing on the side of the road? The traffic was light and there were a lot of cyclists out to check things out. I think the best part was the absence of the usual roar of traffic along that area.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 3:55 PM on July 16, 2011


Also, for those wondering:
Unofficial times via twitter - Bikes-1:34 Metro/Walk-1:44 Rollerblader-2:40 Plane/lost cab driver-2:54
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:00 PM on July 16, 2011


oneswellfoop: I live 180 miles up Highway 101 from one end of the closure (I can see the highway from my front porch) and the Highway Patrol is saying it may affect traffic all the way up here.

I was driving past your place this morning, and there were the same signs for south and north-bound traffic. I guess someone might be headed north for a while, then try to go back south, but it seemed odd to warn people driving away from LA that there would be traffic 180 miles behind them.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:50 PM on July 17, 2011


And it's open again, as of about 11:30 this morning. HOURS earlier than expected.
posted by jvilter at 2:28 PM on July 17, 2011


Here's a surprising update: Apparently they're all done, and about 15 hours ahead of schedule. A friend just posted on the book of faces that she saw a sign saying the 405 was open again; and another friend texted me from his Cessna while en route from Santa Monica to Van Nuys to say that traffic is flowing again.

Excellent news because I live in Santa Monica (sort of, Olympic and Overland) and have dinner plans in Burbank tonight.

Pro tip: It's always funny to see a television show filmed and written in LA but set in Miami or New York (the CSIs come to mind). I spent nearly the first three decades of my life on the East coast and nobody there would be caught dead saying, "the 95". It's only out here that we glamorize highways with the definite article.
posted by GatorDavid at 2:33 PM on July 17, 2011


The thing that is really surprising me is all the people who are upset because there wasn't a huge fucking fiasco this weekend. You just cannot win in this world.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:59 PM on July 17, 2011


GatorDavid - And there are no freeways out here, at least in the northeast. What we have are highways and interstates.
posted by maryr at 3:10 PM on July 17, 2011


Someone should map out all of the names for roads that Americans use, sort of the highway equivalent of the Pop-Soda Map. Around here people inexplicably call the local interstates "parkways." But only the local ones, roads in other places are refered to as highways or routes.
posted by octothorpe at 3:33 PM on July 17, 2011


It's always funny to see a television show filmed and written in LA but set in Miami or New York (the CSIs come to mind).

Yeah, tell me about it. I used to live in the Loft District and they were filming constantly because it looked like any generic urban environment. The only thing worse than enduring constant filming is seeing films made INSIDE your loft, before you lived there.

I always wanted to make a compilation of film clips taken inside the 2nd St. Tunnel in downtown LA. I'll take all the films and commercials, string them together, and it will look like you're driving through a tunnel a hundred miles long. Then I'll make a similar compilation of films taken on the 6th Street bridge over the LA River.

6th Street, we love it!
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:40 PM on July 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which leads me to ask... do they have turnpikes outside the northeast? I know there are turnpikes in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and I seem to recall one in Pennsylvania. Are they simply toll roads elsewhere?
posted by maryr at 3:45 PM on July 17, 2011


maryr wrote: Which leads me to ask... do they have turnpikes outside the northeast? I know there are turnpikes in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and I seem to recall one in Pennsylvania. Are they simply toll roads elsewhere

They're generally referred to as turnpikes in at least Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. I believe the same goes for Ohio and Indiana.
posted by wierdo at 3:59 PM on July 17, 2011


I spent nearly the first three decades of my life on the East coast and nobody there would be caught dead saying, "the 95".

Someone should map out all of the names for roads that Americans use, sort of the highway equivalent of the Pop-Soda Map. Around here people inexplicably call the local interstates "parkways." But only the local ones, roads in other places are refered to as highways or routes.

My favorite AskMe addresses why we say "the 405" instead of "I-405" but includes lots of people talking about their regional particulars.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:25 PM on July 17, 2011


Hilarious. 405 re-opens at 11:30am. Everyone pats themselves on the back. At 5:30-ish, I see a number of helicopters buzzing around again - weird. So I turn on the TV and half of the 101 has closed because some idiot dropped rubble all over it. Good job LA!
posted by Joh at 6:27 PM on July 17, 2011


Carmageddon turned out to be Carmaheaven.
posted by anazgnos at 7:53 PM on July 17, 2011


My favorite AskMe addresses why we say "the 405" instead of "I-405"

Yeah, someone got it. In LA, you almost always have to take multiple freeways, so the route description doesn't flow unless you say "the 405." Someone in that askme almost nailed it:

If you're listing multiple freeways, it's "take the 10 to the 5 to the 101"

..and stop at the fork in the road.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:22 PM on July 17, 2011


Errr...sure, but here in Massachusetts we just say "Take 90 to 93 to 495." And that's without getting into the roads that have multiple numbers. But you don't need the article.
posted by maryr at 10:06 PM on July 17, 2011


(Err, actually, the directions I just gave would almost always be a bad idea, but you get the picture. You don't need 'the' because 90 means 90. There is only one relevent 90. It is I-90.)
posted by maryr at 10:09 PM on July 17, 2011


Someone should map out all of the names for roads that Americans use, sort of the highway equivalent of the Pop-Soda Map. Around here people inexplicably call the local interstates "parkways." But only the local ones, roads in other places are refered to as highways or routes.

I've noticed it worse in two cities: Portland and Chicago. Chicago I remember the Dan Ryan, Kennedy, Tri-state and Stevenson were all referred to by name, and not the actual number. In Portland it's the Banfield, Sunset and all of the bridges.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:18 PM on July 17, 2011


The warnings were apparently really successful. Many people stayed at home and/or made alternate plans, and the mass of congestion did not occur. That is awesome, way to go LA.

Then the news reported it as some kind of failure BECAUSE the congestion did not occur, disappointed that they didn't get dramatic aerial photos of gridlock.

I can't stand that kind of journalism. It is like when there is a infectious disease scare and lots of publicity to help contain and minimize its impact. Then, the impact is successfully minimized and very few people die. Then the media gets all "well this was sucky for us" and instead tries to create controversy around the "overhyped" (because not enough people died) health warnings...
posted by Theta States at 6:01 AM on July 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


« Older The Brain on Trial....  |  #crashtags.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments