No sooner did we survive It’s “Carmageddon” weekend — 53 hours of traffic hell from this Friday night
a doomsayer’s warning of the rapturous Armageddon on May 16 then we were
confronted with dire warnings of something worse: spending an entire weekend
stuck in the worst traffic gridlock anyone, anywhere has ever seen.
until next Monday morning.
No sooner did we survive
It’s “Carmageddon” weekend — 53 hours of traffic hell from this Friday night
That’s when the 405
Freeway link from the San Fernando Valley to the Westside will be entirely
closed down from the 10 to the 101, forcing the normal half-million drivers who
go through Sepulveda Pass on a hot summer weekend to stay parked at home or face
expectations of nightmarish gridlock along alternative routes.
Nothing could be worse in this home of the car culture, where driving alone is
regarded as an inalienable right, where buses and trains so poorly connect
people to where they actually want to go.
The hype, the drama — it’s so L.A.
Celebrities like Lady Gaga and Ashton Kutcher tweeting warnings. Erik Estrada
doing a public service announcement on YouTube. A “Carmageddon” page on
Facebook. A “Carmageddon” website. The Getty Center and the Skirball Museum
closed all weekend. Thousands of people downloading Waze GPS so we can track
where the cars are, and where they’re not.
The fear. The anxiety. It will build-up all week and then…?
Carmageddon likely will turn out to be a dud like the traffic disaster that
didn’t happen during the 1984 Olympics, or how we barely noticed how much worse
the gridlock was when the freeways collapsed after the Northridge Earthquake 10
The real problem is we have the worst traffic congestion in the nation, come
rain or come shine, all year long; and the worst public transit system to go
along with it.
When we build rail lines, we cut bus service and raise fares. We tax ourselves
to death — 1.5 percent on every transaction — for a system that fails to offer
adequate connections and frequency of service.
This isn’t about Carmageddon; it’s about “Karmageddon” — the consequence of
inconsistent and incoherent public transportation policies for the whole region
for most of a century.