Happy Carmageddon!

[Video Link]

Here in Los Angeles, the 405 freeway —a main artery for already-clogged traffic—will be closed this weekend. Closed! Totally closed.

Panic has been building over predicted "Carmageddon." Local cyclist group @wolfpackhustle is organizing a ride, #FlightVsBike, to see if a pack of cyclists can beat a @jetblue plane from Burbank to Long Beach (the airline was selling tickets as a stunt for $4 this week).

More here, and more here.

Me? Screw bikes and cars and jets, I'll be using my personal, cat-GIF-powered spaceship.


  1. If you take into account the two hours waiting to get in the secure area of the airport, bikes are faster than airplanes.

    1. Can’t you just hang out at home for a couple days?

      In LA? You need to get on a freeway just to go to your own bathroom.

  2. I’m on the Westside working and slipping out early to go to OC mid-day.

    It’s going to be FUN! (Maybe I should buy some “books on tape” for Game of Thrones. The first book is 33 hours. :)

  3. If anyone can do it, @wolfpackhustle can. I nearly split an aorta keeping up with those guys in a ride through the Hollywood Hills one night.

  4. I’m so glad to see L.A. sparing no expense on the star power to help promote Carmageddon awareness. I mean, Erik freakin’ Estrada? Dang. Probably cost a whole box of donuts.

  5. I’m planning a trip for tomorrow. I’m living in the middle of Europe. Why can I get more information about the traffic situation in L.A. than about the highways surrounding my hometown? This is ridiculous.

    For all the angelinos here: Do you really have to use that highway? Are there no replacement roads?

    1. I’m certain it does seem ridiculous for anyone who doesn’t live here, but the answer is basically no. Because the L.A. basin is surrounded by mountains, there are just a few valley highways or canyon roads to get into and out of the city. The 405 is a major, major highway. Sepulveda does run parallel to the 405, but suggesting everyone use it is also ridiculous.

      Basically, this is something that probably should have been done a long time ago and now it’s caught up to bite us in the ass. Which is why I’ve come to think of it as “Karmageddon.”

    2. The 405 is a major north/south highway on the west side of the city. It goes through a valley at the point that is being closed. There is only 1 other road, Sepulveda, that goes through this valley. The 405 is 5 lanes on each side and generally highly congested during normal days. Sepulveda is a 2lane each side Blvd that also gets back up regularly. This allows no room for extra traffic to go. They will be forced to use other highway/local routes that are also past full capacity most of the time. The alternative routes to the 405/Sepulveda add a lot of miles(15-30) and time(1-2hrs) onto your commute on a good day. This is why I bike my commute to work.

    1. HAH! That’s been popping into my head every time I’ve heard the 405 mentioned in the past few days. That video and some others got me started on a years-long hobby streak with CG. Great stuff.

  6. Oh boy… should I fly Jet Blue and get the irradiated body cavity search, or should I ride a bike and get shot riding through Long Beach.

    Decisions, decisions.

    1. Funny, I go to Long Beach all the time and have never been shot at. Wow man, fear of Xray machines and fear of black folks. Must suck to live in such irrational fear every day.

  7. Good thing L.A. has such an amazing world-class public transportation system. You can take the subway pretty much anywhere you need to go, providing you live in a fanciful mirror-universe.

  8. Now I know that this is LA and that public transportation is, well… not that great. But I’ve also spent enough time there to know that there are, in fact, commuter trains in some areas. If this is such a major thoroughfare, there _have_ to be trains if you really need to go work, right?

    1. …and there are. To get from Burbank (Hollywood) to Long Beach faster than Jet Blue’s publicity stunt planes, take the Red Line and transfer to the Blue Line. Even faster than usual (more trains) and free for the Red Line part. There, problem solved.

    2. kjulig, there are trains in the Los Angeles area, but there aren’t any train lines that connect the San Fernando Valley area to the westside of Los Angeles. The only direct public transit option is a bus that runs two, maybe three times an hour.

      To use your Red Line solution requires a bus on the valley side to a Red Line station, then another bus or two from downtown/mid-Wilshire to the Westside. For those going to LAX, there’s a second train, which dumps you off short of the airport.

      1. Thanks. My “solution” was just a comment on the Jet Blue flight; North Hollywood to Long Beach is fairly easy by train. But the point is, many people _can_ use public transportation and be faster than using Sepulveda will be this weekend.

        Yeah, public transit in West LA sucks. Frankly, I’m baffled that the Santa Monica Fwy route wasn’t a priority when they started building the LA Metro lines not that long ago. It’s one of the busier and congestion-prone freeways AFAIR and the bus takes forever.

        Now imagine how much time (that you spend sitting in traffic every day) you’d save if LA had a decent railway infrastructure…

          1. It should be pointed out that in the early 20th century, LA had one of the great railway systems of the world, the Yellow Cars and Red Cars.

            In that vein, it should probably also be pointed out that, even in the heyday of the PE/LARy Red and Yellow Cars, there was never a rail line through the Sepulveda Pass.

            It’s a steep pass. The average grade from its peak near Mulholland to Ventura Blvd in the Valley is over 6 per cent.

            A rail line through that pass would have to be a subway in a deep tunnel. And we’re only just now getting subways through some of the most densely-populated areas of the city. Subways are very expensive, funds are a bit limited, and somehow a line from one of the wealthier upscale sections through a lightly-populated mountain pass to one of the most traditionally auto-dependent suburban areas of the city just didn’t seem like the highest priority.

            Heck, we’re still working on getting the financing to allow us to complete the Red Line halfway out Wilshire Blvd (sometimes described as “LA’s linear downtown”) earlier than the 2036 completion date mandated by the rate at which the tax revenue will trickle in.

      2. There was supposed to be a subway on the west side, but then there was an explosion due to IIRC construction hitting a gas pocket near La Brea. That led to a great deal of pressure to shelve the idea, though part of the opposition was probably due to some vocal westsiders who disliked the idea of bringing a subway into their area of town. Times change, and the ban on drilling for subway construction is no more. Your guess when there will actually be a subway line parallelling the Santa Monica Freeway, or (better yet) Wilshire Blvd.

        I live in the San Fernando Valley; my octogenarian parents live on the westside. I usually see them over the weekend, bring them dinner and farmer’s market fruit. Not this weekend!

    3. TGoing from downtown to Westwood to Santa Monica would be great and they’re discussing it. You would have to cut through well off, nice areas. They dont want a train going through their neighborhood and bringing riff-raff like me over. Wilshire, Pico and others are already full of cars so whatever. They are expanding it in general though. Gold line. A line down Exposition.

      Ugh I gotta work this weekend in Westwood. The hospital was covering hotel cost for some of the more important folk that live further away.

    1. As party of a multi-year project, they are adding a carpool lane to the 405 north. Part of the project requires them to remove old overpasses so they can widen to make room for carpool. They are removing half of one of the over passes this weekend and it will be too dangerous to do that with traffic open. So they are closing a section down to allow this work. They will be doing it again when they do the other side of the bridge.

  9. The rest of the world uses the term Carmageddon or Autogedden, if they use it at all, to describe the destruction wrought on the planet and communities by the dominance of the motor car – see Heathcote Williams’s rather excellent illustrated poem. Only in a city whose urban planning and values are so totally screwed that the care is ‘essential’ could closing a road for the weekend be regarded as somehow equivalent.

    It’s a weekend road closure not the end of the world.

    Hang out, play music, make love, enjoy just being alive… these are all possible without getting in your f-ing car for a couple of days…

    1. Hang out, play music, make love, enjoy just being alive… these are all possible without getting in your f-ing car for a couple of days…

      I imagine that’s part of the plan. It’s a weekend. Get enough people freaked out enough about “CARMAGEDDON!!!” where they won’t take an unnecessary car trip those days and the problem solves itself.

      So up the hype, baby!

      1. I imagine that’s part of the plan. It’s a weekend. Get enough people freaked out enough about “CARMAGEDDON!!!” where they won’t take an unnecessary car trip those days and the problem solves itself.

        Ah, someone who actually gets it!

        In the run-up to the ’84 Olympics, there were all sorts of dire predictions about a ‘freeway meltdown’ and “miles of traffic jams.” Because of all the dire predictions, many measures were deployed to cope, and, in the end, LA’s freeway traffic was less jammed than it normally is. Way less.

        In fact, the freeways carried more cars per day during the Olympics than they normally do, but because the compensatory measures shifted traffic away from the rush-hour peaks and spread it throughout the day, the freeways were free-flowing for the week-plus of the event. It was heavenly.

        This is just a weekend. I’m betting it’s not going to be any big deal – but only because all the public freaking-out has people worried that it might be.

  10. Westsiders: as a resident of the SGV (San Gabriel Valley, which Westsiders consider their own ‘fly-over country’), this is the dog’s bollocks. You can’t get good Chinese food or Mexican food, you have most of the Hipsters in our area, and now, the 405 is closed.

    (Seriously, people outside L.A., it’s not that big a deal.)

  11. They’re currently arguing over the right-of-way for the subway line down Santa Monica Blvd. (It’s Beverly Hills NIMBY’s vs. the need to provide good station placement for Century City).

    I can’t imagine them running a subway through the Sepulveda Pass, but it would be perfect for an above ground rail section. Tying the Galleria, the Getty, UCLA, and LAX together on a single line should be a no-brainer.

  12. I was wiki-ing comparisons (percent of car ownership, etc) btw NYC and LA and I came across this only-at-wiki gem about NY: “With nearly 4.5 million people riding the transit network each weekday, the system is a major venue for commerce, entertainment and political activism.”

  13. Exactly a year ago to this day, over here in Germany, they shut down a major traffic artery (the A40, albeit on a sunday) for a day as part of a culture/art project. People were invited to basically do whatever they want except drive their cars there, so instead of being clogged with vehicles the highway was instead teeming with people riding their bikes, taking a walk with the kids, having parties and barbecues in the summer sun, and all sorts of other activities. Was a great success and people really enjoyed it.

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