President Obama is going to be in Los Angeles for less than twenty-four hours today, but judging from last year's traffic snafu, his presence could be a big headache for commuting Angelenos.
During his visit last August, the city grew furious when security street closures related to Obama's schedule transformed relatively short commutes into "hours-long ordeals." This year, Angelenos are cringing at the thought of more potential traffic jams his motorcade could create.
- 2:45 p.m.: Obama arrives at LAX.
- 4:30 p.m.: Fundraising appearance at the Sony Studios in Culver City.
- Dinner 1: Michael Lynton is organizing a 60-seat dinner at Sony Studios. Plates are $35,800 a head.
- Dinners 2 and 3: Consultant Andy Spahn, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, tennis channel CEO Ken Soloman and Capital Group's John Emerson are chairing two dinners at Tavern in Brentwood, also at $35,800 a head.
- 8:55 a.m. (Friday): Obama leaves from LAX.
The President managed to get a few cheap shots in about our Lakers and LAX, but we'll still be posting the video here as soon as it becomes available.
|@ kristyhanson : I know it sucked last time, but this idea that afternoon 'gridlock traffic' is something that only happens when Obama is here is amusing.|
Contrary to most of what you read on Twitter, the President is here for reasons beyond just tying up our roadways. The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop on the fund raisers he will be attending:
All three DreamWorks SKG founders — Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg – will dine with President Obama at the Tavern in Brentwood, along with about 57 others who have paid ,800 apiece, according to sources...
Sony chairman and CEO Michael Lynton and other prominent Hollywood folks will also attend a more intimate dinner for the president on the Sony lot that comes just before the dinner with the DreamWorks trio. The Lynton dinner also costs ,800 a plate, and about 60 people are expected.
|@ KNXDavid : Westside traffic is tough...but NOTHING like Obama's visit last year. An LAPD Commander explains why the difference @ 5:12. KNX1070|
Via Mar Vista PatchShortly after 3 p.m. the presidential motorcade made its way down an otherwise eerily silent Santa Monica Boulevard.
|@ LAObserved : Westwood traffic has evaporated. Lighter than most days.|
From the LA Times:
Gridlock conditions were reported Thursday afternoon in West Los Angeles after President Obama arrived at LAX and then boarded a helicopter as he kicked off a fundraising sweep.
Numerous exits on the 405 Freeway were closed as the president’s motorcade made its way along surface streets. Olympic Boulevard remained open, but there were reports of bumper-to-bumper conditions on the roadway, jammed with motorists who were honking, yelling through windows and violating traffic rules in an effort to get around the mess.
According to a White House pool reporter, Obama’s helicopter landed at Barrington Recreation Center at 2:46 p.m., and he was taken by motorcade to the Beverly Hilton.
Along the route, according to the pool report, a nun in full habit stood along the curb holding a sign above her head that said "God Bless you," while a group of children jumped up and down, waving miniature American flags. A young woman held a sign that said, "I (heart) you Obama."
|@ chunkydelfresco : oh so I have to sit in traffic because Obama came to Cali to get his 4/20 on? -____-|
|@ JoanieDodds : Obama is just a few miles from where I am, and surprisingly I hit no traffic! Score!|
HuffPost Super User lawwomanofcolor has a more positive experience to share:
I live 7 blocks from Sony Studios - his first appearance - I work in Santa Monica and just drove straight home so I can put on my sneaks and walk over to where he will be! There was absolute NO TRAFFIC stoppages on PALMS BLVD. nor were there any on Overland or Motor (which is the street straight to Sony)! So most of this crap is just that CRAP! Get over it folks, we are lucky, honored and proud to have you here in our City kind Sir!!!!!! L.A. always has ridiculous traffic but if you know what side streets to travel (non-freeway) you can get anywhere with ease no matter the occasion. I love my President would gladly go out and direct traffic if need be! Yeah Go Obama 2012!!!!!!!!!
In the wee hours before President Obama arrives to Culver City, the town seems as if it is inhaling, bracing itself for the storm. The Los Angeles Sherriff’s Department is in a briefing getting its marching orders, the Armenian Genocide Community Task Force is organizing outside of Sony Pictures Studios on Madison Avenue, meter parking on Culver and Washington Boulevards is restricted between 2 and 10 p.m., and the media is flocking around town like eager locusts before leafy greens (myself included). Momentarily, I will be posting an exclusive interview with Nora Hovsepian, one of the protestors calling for President Obama to acknowledge what is known as the Armenian genocide, which took place in the early 20th century.
Click HERE for the whole story.
|@ TotalTrafficLA : At this point, Pico and Olympic are the best e/w streets. Major delays on Santa Monica and Wilshire #LATraffic #Obama|
|@ P_L_Kennedy : Obama motorcade passed Ave of the Stars about 15 mins ago heading to Beverly Hilton. Streets are open in CC - for the moment. #LATraffic|
|@ UCLAnewsroom : Traffic heavily congested near campus due to L.A. visit by President Barack Obama. http://bit.ly/hBXTVn|
HuffPost Super User jg6544 has decided to make constructive use of our comment space to pass along the following information (others take note!):
San Vicente eastbound closed to all traffic at Bundy. Some eastbound traffic diverted onto Montana, but Montana down to one lane in each direction up to Barrington, where they're forcing all traffic to turn.
Send us your Presidential traffic horror stories! Or maybe sitting in traffic you noticed a bird or something that you otherwise would have missed. Send those too!
|@ KNXDavid : President Obama is WHEELS DOWN at LAX. He's due at Sony Studios in Culver City @ 4:30ish. KNX1070|
|@ ArsenioOFFICIAL : Obama is here! Avoid the Culver City area. Traffic is NUTS!!!|
An angry reader reports:
City of LA Fire Department is adding to traffic problems all over town, placing orange cones in busy 4 lane boulevards and soliciating money for Jerry's kids from trapped drivers. I just got stuck in a baracade at Westwood and Pico Boulevards. What is wrong with City Hall, allowing this "Fill the Boot" campaign to be happening ALL OVER TOWN --on the same day the President is in town? LAFD is doing this in neighborhoods where commuters are ALREADY facing extra traffic challenges due to Presidential motorcade routes. Further, according to the LAFD website, these officers are on duty!!
Total Traffic thinks it looks that way:
A staff member of ours just drove by the Beverly Hilton. Entrances were barricaded and there were lots of police as well as black SUVs. It looks like we were right when we said Obama might be staying there.
Found via SFGate, footage from the protesters at Obama's appearance in San Francisco this morning:
Half a dozen protesters said they paid ,000 for tickets to a high-priced San Francisco fundraiser starring President Barack Obama Thursday to air their concerns regarding the treatment of Private Bradley Manning -- the 23-year-old intelligence expert accused of being the Wikileaks' source.
The protest occured during a breakfast fundraiser at the swank St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco Thursday.
Kudos to Total Traffic LA for their comprehensive coverage of the President's visit! Making extensive use of Google Maps and insider information from "Bob" the busdriver, they've managed to game out possible routes and closures in a manner pleasing even to those averse to the written word.Here is but one of their colorful maps!
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Councilman Bill Rosendahl assured us that everything than can be done to minimize the looming carpocalypse has been implemented, but you probably want to stay home anyway. The proof, says the councilman, will be in the proverbial pudding. Delicious.:
Rosendahl said that the the Los Angeles Police Department briefed him on a final security meeting that involved the LAPD, the Department of Transportation (LADOT), the FBI, the Secret Service, and White House representatives. There will be a mix of both motorcade and helicopter to get President Obama around Los Angeles, as opposed to last August's visit (all motorcade) and last October's visit (mostly helicopter), said Rosendahl.
Rosendahl admitted that "there will be gridlock," due to street closures, but that the closures won't be indefinite. He explained, "They will be tied in real-time to the President based on his real itinerary. It's not going to be as exacerbating as it was the time before last."
He recalled the aftermath of President Obama's August visit to Los Angeles, saying that "the frustration of the West Side was palatable for days and days." Still, he remains a hopeful skeptic: "It's still a work in progress, but I'm hoping they'll be sensitive to us... the proof will be in the pudding."
Any major politician (or foul-mouthed sports star) who still refuses to recognize the Armenian genocide would be wise to avoid a 50-mile radius of Glendale. But Obama's got a fancy-poo fundraiser to attend at Sony Studio at 3 p.m. -- and, at ,800 per head, it's not the kind of dinner party a self-respecting POTUS would want to skip out on.
So angry Armenians it is. Obama will come face to face with the mob at 10202 West Washington Boulevard in Culver City, speckled with the likes of System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian...
So as not to overlap causes -- and potentially overwhelm the president's sympathy meter -- the Latinos won't show up to Sony Studio until 4:30 p.m., when the second leg of the fundraiser is set to begin. Their rally will be called, simply and impactfully: "Greetings, Mr. President: Don't Deport Us," and will last until 7 p.m.