From 7 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, this segment of Interstate 405 linking the Los Angeles International Airport and the San Fernando Valley – the most traveled freeway in the United States – will be closed so that engineers can demolish a bridge to create a carpool lane.
Many say it’s tearing the city apart by spotlighting the entire metropolitan region’s long-term overdependence on cars in place of adequate public transportation. Others say it’s bringing the city together as never before, because everyone is in the same predicament and helping each other out.
Newspapers are full of neighborhood-street short-cuts to try and ones to avoid. Restaurants and bars are offering special, car-themed promotions. Web sites offer T-shirts (“I was in the war”), bumper stickers (“the good … the bad… and the elderly”), and mouse pads with a photo of the devil at the wheel.
Bloggers are spoofing official attempts to provide information:
“Q: Will there be official-looking people everywhere I go, waving signs and telling me how to proceed?”
Yes. But that won’t change the fact that you’re [in big trouble.]’’
Some officials say the entire city will be clogged uncontrollably for the entire weekend. They note that on average, 375,000 cars drive the 405 every day. More on weekends. Others advise residents in no uncertain terms to either stay at home or leave town and things will be OK.
“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.”