"There's gridlock on the 405 virtually any time of the day, but particularly during the rush hour, and if you think it's bad now, let me just make something absolutely clear: On July 16 and 17, it will be an absolute nightmare."
The quote above comes from the mouth of none other than our dear Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a news conference regarding the upcoming temporary closure of the 405. We have to hand it to him and the other L.A. County officials for getting realer than real about the mother of clusterfucks scheduled to befall this city. A brief perusal of their thoughts on the traffic horrors and advice on what to do about it helps paint the picture of "car-mageddon"...
On Friday, July 15th at 10pm, the universally reviled 405 freeway will close in both directions between the 101 and the 10 freeways, until early Monday, July 18th. It goes without saying that this is a recipe for a logistic disaster of epic proportions, and according to the guys who are supposed to make you feel better about it, in this case you have every reason to freak out. Herein, some of their noteworthy remarks:
"I think we're trying to scare the heck out of everybody, with good reason. This is not a phony scare." -L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.
"This project should probably be renamed the nightmare on the 405. Everyone is going to be impacted." -Metrolink board chair Richard Katz.
"This is going to be a closure unlike anything we've ever seen in this area. Think of China and what you've seen on TV, where they have nine-day long traffic closures on their freeways. It's going to be like that for two days." -L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz.
Their honesty is refreshing and appreciated. I think we'd all much rather know the truth about what's to come in advance rather than some sugar-coated spin on an ultimately shitty situation, because then having to cope with it is compounded by the emotional element of utter shock at how shitty it is. I personally hate surprises and am grateful for whatever hints the universe can spare when I'm stepping into one of the circles of the Inferno. So thanks, guys. Now what do you suggest we citizens of L.A. do as this catastrophe unfolds? Mayor Vallaraigosa's sage advice:
"...avoid the area, to not go on the 405 or anywhere close during that period of time. Go on vacation."
Well, what if we're poor bloggers and can't afford to go on a trip right now because we just spent a week eating and drinking like Rosie O'Donnell on a bender in New York City? [See: "Four Things A Los Angelite Learned About NYC Life, Summer Edition"]. Caltrans director Michael Miles says for this "really horrendous weekend" that we "stay put and explore [our] own neighborhoods," adding, "barbecue would be good that weekend."
Hmmm. Okay, any last thoughts, fellas? "Stay the heck out of here."
[Top photo via; middle photo via; bottom photo of naked man running on 405 via in "Photo of the Day: ANOTHER (!!) Naked Man Graces The 405]