Saturday, July 16, 2011

Carmageddon Carmaheaven!


Have you heard about the huge traffic insanity forecast for Los Angles this weekend? It's called "Carmegeddon". Yes, in LA we actually come up with cleaver marketing names for our road construction projects and it's all everyone is talking about in our neck of the woods.

A vital ten mile stretch of the 405 freeway that connects one side of town to the other is completely closed both ways. The result is upwards of a half a million cars that usually take this route on weekends will have to find alternative routes, or, as our eloquent public officials are saying, "Stay the hell out of here!"

The very thought of getting on the 405 makes me cringe on a good day. Traffic is always jammed and traveling at a snail's pace or worse, at the speed of light which is not cool when you drive like the "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" *cough*that*would*be*ahem*me*. So as you might have guessed, I've planned to stay close to home from 10pm Friday - 5am Monday for the road construction which includes removing half a bridge to allow for the road to be widen.

Only half-- Did you catch that part? That means we'll be going through this again next year for the other half to be removed. Do I live in a fun place or what!

Twenty-four hours into the "traffic nightmare" and all I can say is CarmaHEAVEN! People are either staying home or are outta here because this place is like a ghost town, and traffic is a breeze. Case in point-- The usually very full parking lot for Bloomingdale's on Saturday afternoon....


Normally cars are lined up for a parking spot because it's also prime parking for the huge movie theater complex and this is opening weekend for the final Harry Potter movie.

I dreaded going to the Mall for a last minute birthday gift but I bite the bullet and headed out thinking it would take me a couple of hours to make the usual 30 minute trip.

Ha! I think I passed about 10 cars on the road and 6 of them were police cars. The parking lot was empty-- So was the mall, actually-- something that was not making retailers very happy.

I have to admit, if traffic was more like this-- light and easy, I'd stop complaining about living in Los Angeles. I'd shop more, I'd see friends and family more often, I'd, I'd, I'd be living in CarmaHEAVEN.

Of course the big question now is whether or not the traffic will remain this light through Monday at 5am when the freeway opens or if people will see how easy it is to get around on surface streets, head out the door, start their engines, and cause the dreaded traffic jams news reporters have been scaring us about with for weeks.

Either way, I had one day in heaven.... And there is always next year's freeway closure.

How's your Sunday?
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins

55 comments:

ladyfi said...

I can't even imagine all those cars. You probably have as many cars as we have people!

I'm looking forward to some time at the summer cabin, where people and cars are at a minimum.

Cinner said...

Oh Lordy that would drive me insane all those cars. our city is under construction all over the city. I guess that is the norm....at times like these I am glad I don't drive. lol. have a great day, think of you often. hugs.

ridgely johnson said...

I love "the little ole' lady from Pasadena.' LT will not ride with me unless he has been under anesthesia- when people ask why- he tells them I drive like an old lady (I take this as a complement- he's saying I'm NOT a old lady, right?) love the post ;-)

TechnoBabe said...

Hi Joanna, your description of the traffic in LA brought so many memories back, more like nightmares really. The California traffic was part of the deciding factor to move to a small town in the midwest. It has been so much better for my nerves here, especially since we moved to this smaller town. I can picture you enjoying the light traffic day and the picture of the empty parking lot is awesome. You use that picture as incentive to keep on going when the horrendous traffic gets you down. Enjoy your Sunday. Hugs from hubby and me.

Fireblossom said...

How cool is that? You made out like a bandit!

Izzy said...

Oh, JJ, I couldn't survive... Here in our little town it's a "traffic jam" if the train is coming through and more than five cars are backed up going into downtown (which is not even 1/8 mile long and consists of about 8 buildings)... We used to live in a "larger" city and now that we are here, we will never go big again. Hugs to you.

Jillsy Girl said...

you need to thank the media for their scary media hype...it WORKED!! :-)

Jillsy Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eva Gallant said...

Jillsy is right! The media scared people into staying home! that empty parking lot shot is something you'll want to save, 'cause you'll probably never see it again!

Flartus said...

I think it's very telling that the 405 closure has been on the national news for several days! Not sure exactly what it tells us about ourselves, though...

Anne H said...

Of course, I thought of you when I heard about all this!

DJan said...

It won't be like that for long. I stay away from Seattle because of the traffic, it's as bad as I remember LA being, but then again, it's been quite a few years. It's probably worse. You're right: the stores are probably not happy, but the lack of traffic looks great!

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Joanna: today is the day of that wedding that was mentioned in the Times last week!. Hopefully everything goes well for that couple.. If not, holy hell will break loose! lol..

noexcuses said...

What is great about LA is that they have round-the-clock shifts to complete job this in a weekend. St. Louis was unaware of this work ethic until just a few years ago. They closed portions of our main freeway (sort of like the 10 or 91 on a heavy day) for 18 months. Businesses helped out by staggering work hours, side-streets were absolute nightmares, and the finished product was something that the awesome CA crews could have completed in six months time. So glad you were able to reap the benefits of quieter streets.

Tammy said...

I can't imagine the traffic nightmare it is to get around, well I can as I've been there before. That is why I like my small town living in south eastern WA state. It only takes 10 minutes to get anywhere - 15 on a busy day, haha. I certainly can understand road rage when I go to big cities, don't know how y'all do it day in and day out!!

Christine said...

I saw a bit about this in the newspaper today, surprising good news.

La Principessa Errante said...

Funniest comment I heard was, what different does it make, cars never move on the 405 anyway.

Looks like you are making the best of it for sure.

Taradharma said...

I've been watching this, and its lead-up, on the news. Makes me wonder what if major highways were closed down with some regularity? We would be encouraged to stay home, or stay in our neighborhoods, it would reduce pollution, rampant consumerism, etc. etc.

Of course there's the essential health and safety traffic like ambulances and fire, so maybe only they would be allowed on the closed roadways.

I'm liking this idea....

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

That's funny. They should declare Carmagedden more often. I grew up and learned to drive in your hometown. I can imagine your bliss and bewilderment on your mall jaunt.
Happy Sunday.

Rebecca said...

This showed up in my reader yesterday but wouldn't let me click on it. Glad I got to read it today. Keep us posted, interested in knowing if traffic remained light. Glad your shopping trip was good.

Casey Freeland said...

I live about 10 hours north of you and the freeway lighted signs in the area were warning southbound traffic to avoid 405 in LA. That's almost funny.

Glad it was more heavenly. I definitely would have stayed home and had a Scrabble tourney with my kids or something.

Cheers,

Casey

secret agent woman said...

Thanks for reminding me to be grateful for my 1 1/2 mile commute to work which takes me at worst about 5 minutes.

lisleman said...

I thought about you living out there when the talking news heads were yapping about this 405 thing.

Wow interesting outcome but will it stay that way? Maybe more people are walking? doubt it.

Thinking of 405 do you remember that great funny short video clip about a jetliner landing on it?

Unknown Mami said...

I can't believe how empty that parking lot is.

It's so nice to have you playing along again.

sheila said...

Ha! LOL! This is great! I've been seeing reports here via the Cleveland news on this Carmageddon, lol. Evvvvery day they discuss it! I am glad it is making you happy and you get to experience carmaheaven, lol.

urban muser said...

they've been talking about it on the news a lot here. sounds insane.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

CARMAGEDDON IS OVER A DAY EARLY...
:-)

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

I kept seeing Carmageddon on Twitter and didn't know what the heck it was about! Yikes!!

toi said...

I missed Sunday In My City too :).

I heard about Carmageddon on the radio. You sure see the fun side of the dilemma :).

BLOGitse said...

I saw a clip of that project on television news. That is a HUGE project.
I wonder how your life would be with less cars, permanently...
Have a good week ahead!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

As a former lifelong L.A. resident who spent the last five years of my working life commuting on the 405 from Santa Clarita to UCLA, I've watched the build-up to Carmeggedon with more than the usual interest. I know how hideous traffic on the west side can be under the best of circumstances. The unexpected light traffic and brevity of Carmeggedon reminds me of the traffic that was predicted but didn't happen during the 1984 Olympics in L.A. Our commutes to downtown L.A. were a delight because people had either left town or made plans to stay home. We live in Arizona now and every time anyone complains about the traffic in Phoenix or in Tucson (we live in between the two) I think that there's no place in the world that would be a challenge to drive after all that time on the 405!!

Renee Weatherford said...

I'm actually not surprised - the people of LA are smart! :) I think it's amazing how well this turned out & hope the next time is the same. How awesome to have the free parking space at the mall - I just feel bad for business owners who may have lost out because of it.

Sex, Drugs and Bacon Sandwiches said...

Sounds like a perfectly good reason to stay home :)

Gaston Studio said...

You'd have had to be living under a rock not to have heard about it Joanna. Just glad I don't live there, it'd probably drive me crazy!

Willoughby said...

What a surprise to find such light traffic on your trip to the mall!

I have no patience with sitting in slow moving traffic! Midwest winters wreak such havoc on the roads that it seems everywhere you go around here they are doing repairs or repaving. It takes twice as long as it should to get where you're going.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

You just totally explained why I am so happy I'm no longer in California...the traffic!!! Why are they going to take a whole nother year to get the other half done? I would've thought they'd just get it over and done with.

At least you had the courage to head out to the mall and discover it completely empty. Sounds like a dream!

thatgirlblogs said...

looks like a good day to tackle ALL the christmas shopping...

brainella said...

The complete opposite would happen here in ATL. Everyone would go out just to create a huge mess. ATL is sometimes horribly dumb. :)

Michelle said...

Oh trust me, this isn't just news in your neck of the woods. This is NATIONAL news. Best quote? My husband on Thursday. "Huh. They're closing the 405 in California. Is that a big road or something? I'm surprised it's in the newspaper." I just laughed. Hard. Hope it stays smooth!

Mike Smith said...

I'm glad I sit in the passenger seat of life!

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

The photo of that empty Bloomingdale's parking lot was a crazy concept for LA! And to think Harry Potter was opening on a weekend when no one would go!

"*cough*that*would*be*ahem*me*."- HILARIOUS!!! And, boy can I identify!

beth said...

the 405 closing made big news, even all the way to us, here in wisconsin...like maybe we'd be coming over for the weekend and someone thought maybe we should be forewarned :)

if you moved here, you'd never have to wait to park to get into bloomingdales....because we don't have one:)

we do have macy's....and the parking is never a problem. so really, see, the midwest is great. well, talk to me again in january :(

xo

Kay said...

We've heard about this even in Hawaii. So how was Harry Potter? We're wondering if we should go or watch it on DVD.

Joyce said...

A very sweet treat to have prime parking! Chicago traffic is a nightmare, but no way holds a candle to LA's traffice. I remind myself of this every time I'm stuck in our traffice. :) xo

Shug said...

And to think that the traffic in our small town drives me nuts...Don't think I'll be complaining any more...

Bless you
shug

otin said...

I was in LA traffic one time...I hope the only time!

Chris H said...

the traffic here in Auckland can be a nightmare too.. but I bet nowhere near as bad as yours!

Hilary said...

Even in Canada http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20110716/la-freeway-shutdown-110716/

I can't imagine Toronto's 401 shutting down like that. I'm glad it wasn't the nightmare you expected.

RNSANE said...

When I heard about the freeway closing, I was wondering how you would fare. Then, I heard news reports that traffic was unbelievably light. How amazing was that! I'm sure the retailers must not have been pleased to have empty stores!

I haven't been to L. A. since my cruising days have ended because of my job loss! Of course, Royal Caribbean has no more ships sailing out of San Pedro and that's the company I've sailed with the last 78 times I've cruised...not just from the West Coast but all over the world.

Sarah said...

I loved in LA way back in the 70's even then it was insane!! I can't imagine diving around there now!
WOW!!!
I wanted to pop by and tell you thank you hon...I am posting about it this morning..so pop by in a bit to read about it hon!!
Here is to Harry Potter for your birthday hon..ok when is your birthday..did I miss it..geesh..k let me know..cause I need to know..is secret...shhhhhhhhh.

Love, Sarah

Cindy L said...

Oh. My. Goodness. We've got a lot of construction going on here in southeast Michigan, but I cannot imagine driving in LA on a regular basis, when the roads are under construction. That said, when we visited Pasadena and drove to Hollywood (from Pasadena) a couple of years ago, we didn't find the freeway traffic to be as bad as the warnings we'd heard before we left...

Eddie Bluelights said...

We have a saying here and I'm sure you have something like it!

"Fill the fields with concrete and soon they are filled with metal" LOL
Like our M25 which rings London. It is very congested, always! I call it "Haley's Comet" because it feels like it takes 78 years to get round it. Eddie x

Adoption of Jane said...

oh that must've been a wonderful site an empty mall parking lot! I left town that Thursday and went to the Bay Area, came back that Monday.. missed it all but as you said there was not much to miss but peace and quiet from the looks of it!

jane said...

Ha! You even make a freeway closing fun! Big kiss jj!

Shrinky said...

Ha! Having lived in very central London for more than two decades, I never knew my car could shift above 5mph until I relocated to this sleepy little rock. Enjoy the respite, everyone deserves one now and then!