As 7pm Friday, July 15th closed upon us Angelino’s, it seemed we were all scrambling to get our errands done and schedules completed to thwart the surmise of Carmageddon. 7pm came and the 405 was shut down, crews quickly entered the freeway and started with their tasks. The strangest things happened next.
People listened. That’s right. Through all the media hype, people actually listened to the warnings and decided to stay home. The freeway’s were amazing. It was like driving on the freeway at 3 am Sunday, well, Monday morning. We saw the news on KTLA and other local new stations and the remarks were all the same. “We can’t believe that there are no problems at all this weekend.”
I had a couple of friends that needed to make it to the Colosseum for the Real Madrid vs. Galaxy soccer game. They planned on leaving around 9am. They were going to take the route, 118 to the 210 to the 110 to downtown and hopefully avoid any problems that would be surrounding the 101/405 exchange. One thing lead to another and they finally left around 11:30am. With all of their tailgating needs in tow, they quickly looked up on Google Maps and checked the traffic. “What? Green everywhere! Is this right? Do we trust Google and just jump on the 101 to downtown?” They did and ended up making it to the Colosseum in about 2o minutes.
Our other friends were had a few errands to run. All in the area of the 405/101 exchange. After heading out and checking traffic, they ended up finishing their errands in record time and having lunch with friends. The topic of conversation was, of course, “I can’t believe the streets today. There is no one out there. Even the side streets are vacant!”
Yes, the 405 freeway closure was absent to any traffic problems and you can tip your hat to all the publicity that was raised by local papers, new stations, and every other source out there. I checked last Friday, and there were 100’s of stories on Google News about the, “Carmageddon.” Most of those stories were probably created to ride the trending wave, but just the fact that there were so many was amazing enough.
Did anything newsworthy happen with the 405 Closure? As KTLA reports, yes. You had a few recalcitrant individuals that decided to take advantage of the 405 closure and use it as an area for some exercise. One Orange County mortgage lender and bicyclist chose to try and garner a bit of media attention and ride the 405 while it was closed. Very soon after his entrance on to the northbound 405 and CHP officer road up next to him and said, “follow me.” The officer escorted the gentleman off the freeway and said, “Do not do that again.” He obliged.
Later after the mortgage guy road the vacant 405, a half a dozen bikers also tried to take advantage of the wide open riding space and were met with the same results. Another CHP officer, this time teamed up with another CHP officer, escorted these bicyclists off the freeway also. Another warning was given.
Around 2pm on Saturday, a couple of other bicyclists entered the southbound side of the 405 near Wilshire blvd, this time no warning was given and the two were promptly arrested.
Then there were the runners who ducked under the barricades and entered the freeway unnoticed. One runner was reported to saying that it was a really cool thing to run on one of the busiest freeways in the world. Another runner was a 70 year old man who entered the freeway around 9am. This man did not get a warning by police and was arrested. But it wasn’t for running on the freeway. With a check on his identification, it was found out that the man had an outstanding warrant. It was for public menace.
The news stations were running story after story about the demolition of the Mulholland bridge. The concerns were about the possible traffic that it would cause on the outlying side streets, but then there were many more stories and reports regarding what would happen if the demolition would be finished by rush hour come Monday morning. Just as the irony of the 405 closure and enormous amounts of traffic were predicted didn’t happen, the demolition of the bridge was finished by 11am Sunday morning and the 405 freeway was re-opened at 3pm that afternoon.
To add to that irony, abruptly after the 405 was re-opened, there was a large accident that shut the whole northbound side down, and thus, everything was back to normal.