carmageddon hits los angeles (not)

Several months ago we learned the 405 was going to be closed down from the 101 to the 10 – about 10 miles – for an entire weekend in July (7 p.m. July 15 to 5 a.m. July 18) in order to tear down the south half of the Sepulveda overpass bridge. The panic began. Angelenos were asked to either stay home or go somewhere else for the weekend. Stay out of your cars and don’t go anywhere near the 405… or any of the alternate routes. Just stay off the freeways, please.

Yeah, right. They were talking to Angelenos. One person per car, always going somewhere. Angelenos love their cars.They pack the freeways at all hours. They eat, drink, call friends, put their makeup on, read reports… you name it, they do it in their cars, not at home.

The freeway to be shut down for the weekend is the busiest, most congested freeway in the United States, possibly the world. Day or night. It’s the main freeway traveled to get to LAX. It goes through the west side of Los Angeles (think Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood). It’s the main artery to the BEACHES! What in the world would Angelenos do????

Well… The alternate freeways were very light even before the 405 was shut down and they stayed light all day Saturday. The good folks of Los Angeles LISTENED and heeded the advice. The traffic on all roads in the Los Angeles area were the lightest they’d been in years.

Angelenos partied at home, had barbeques in their backyards, shopped at local stores and ate at local restaurants. They met and talked to their neighbors.

Sunday morning dawned and the demolition of the bridge was almost finished. That was amazing. The freeway reopened at 11:30 a.m., almost a full day ahead of schedule. Unbelievable. The construction company really came through. So did the people of Los Angeles; they have every reason to be very proud of themselves. The Mayor of Los Angeles was ecstatic. Thanks to some great public relations work, carmageddon never happened. The word was spread early with constant reminders. The press ran with it and got the word out. Personally, I never would have thought it possible. Now, it has to be done all over again 11 months from now when they demolish the north half of the bridge. I believe it will once again go very smoothly.

Randy Newman sang about his love of L.A. and I think today most everyone in Southern California just might be singing along.

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