Residents of Los Angeles County are bracing for the impending doom that is “Carmageddon 2011," but TheWrap is here to help you make it through.
For 53 hours between July 16 and 18, the 405 freeway will be closed between the 10 and 101 freeways. The closure is expected to wreak havoc on the entire city, but especially the Westside and San Fernando Valley the freeway connects.
"Let me just make something absolutely clear: On July 16 and 17, it will be an absolute nightmare," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, offering little encouragement to his already freaked-out constituency.
L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky isn’t sugarcoating it, either. "Stay the heck out of here," he urged, adding that shortcuts aren’t going to work when more cars are forced onto surface streets.
Ramps along the 10-mile stretch of the 405 will begin to be shut down as early as 7 p.m. Friday, July 15; lanes will begin to be closed off at 10 p.m. as city workers attempt to empty the freeway by midnight, according to the L.A. Country Metro Transit Authority.
Here are some ways to ride out the expected Carmageddon:
1. Rickshaws, roller skates, and Roombas: Guerilla transport tactics
With bike rentals available across the city (Budget Pro Bicycles, 818-243-3973; Cycleworx, 323-259-3131) it won’t be hard to find two wheels to get around. Rickshaws are another, albeit more geographically limited, option.
Other ways to roll through the streets: Take out those rollerskates, skateboards and scooters. Hop on a Segway (Segway L.A., 310-395-1395) or vacuum your way to that important weekend meeting on a Roomba.
2. Make like Ryan Kavanaugh and fly high
Relativity chief Ryan Kavanaugh may have upset the whole neighborhood during his regular helicopter commute from Malibu to his West Hollywood office, but Angelenos may be a little more understanding of copter distractions during Carmageddon.
There are many helicopter transport services, but they might set you back. A one-hour ride on Los Angeles Helicopters (562-377-0396) from the Long Beach airport to Santa Monica goes for $625, and the same goes for Burbank.
3. Go ahead and try your luck with shortcuts, but don’t blame Zev Yaroslavsky when you get stuck
“I’ve represented that area,” Yaroslavsky told TheWrap. “I know every shortcut in the Santa Monica Mountains and Sepulveda pass, and none of them are going to work.”
L.A. resident Joshua Harris, whose father swears he is the “king of alternate routes,” offered TheWrap these tips:
>>The obvious passes, Coldwater and Beverly Glen will be nightmares.
>>To get from Bel-Air to the Valley, get to Roscomare Road from Sunset, a little east of Veteran, and cut through Bel Air. Take side streets on Sunset up to Mulholland, where Woodcliff will take you down to Valley Vista, close to Sepulveda.
>>To get to the Valley from Sunset, go up Laurel Canyon, make a left on Lookout Mountain Road, veer right onto Wonderland, veer right onto Laurel Pass, and make a left on Allenwood.
>>To get to through the Hollywood Hills, take Outpost Drive, just east of La Brea, which goes up from Franklin Avenue. Outpost goes up to Mulholland, which is great for getting to Burbank. It goes to a windy part of Mulholland that hits the 101, where you can also take side streets to Universal City. To get to the Valley, take Multiview Drive, which is halfway between Cahuenga and Laurel and hits Mulholland to the Valley and Universal City.”
But even Harris admits that these routes are in no way fool-proof. Locals are encouraged to post their own alternate routes with the Waze Carmageddon Resistance app.
Still, Yaroslavsky contends that various alternate routes don’t have the capacity to handle even half of the 250,000 cars normally traversing the 405 on a daily basis.
“If you do go out and get stuck, don’t blame me,” Yaroslavsky told TheWrap. “Because I told you so!”
4. If you do have to drive, make the best of it
How cute would it be to tell your grandkids that you and your partner met in traffic during Carmageddon? Make a game out of it! Talk to the person next to you! Who knows, you may even find love!
Or if the constant start and stop of gridlock doesn’t make you feel sexy or amiable, catch up on your favorite radio show and let your brain escape.
Another option is to avoid the corridor completely. If you’re trying to get to LAX from Van Nuys, for example, go through downtown. Get on 101 to Hollywood, to 110, to 105, then work way back to airport. It may be 25 miles longer but it’ll be 4 hours shorter.
L.A. Metro bus will also be offering free rides on many of its lines.
5. But if all else fails (and it very well might), stock up and stay home
Hang out with your kids! Get started on finally cleaning out the damn garage!
Yaroslavsky has compiled a list of 53 ways to survive without the 405. More suggestions are being tweeted under the Twitter hashtag “#405Things to do.” But if being home makes you cringe, go out and drink a libation at the many area businesses posting specials to Car-mageddon.com.
"I hope we’ll say we all exaggerated this," Yaroslavsky told TheWrap, adding that his main goal is just to inform every car-driving person in the city.
Around 5 a.m. Monday Morning, July 18, the barricades will be lifted and Angelenos will rub their eyes as they adjust back to the light of day, and everything will be back to normal.
But we will never forget.
Art by L.A.-based artist Lila Ash – lilaash.com