Carmageddon Begins Today (LIVEBLOG)
We're hours away from "Carmageddon," the 53-hour period when the 405 freeway between the I-10 and U.S. 101 freeways will be shut down. From Friday, July 15 at 7 p.m. until Monday, July 18 at 6 a.m., the public has been advised to stay close to home, use public transportation and even avoid the roads altogether.
The Huffington Post Los Angeles will be covering the highway shutdown the entire weekend, from traffic reports to demolition progress. Come to us for a liveblog of conditions on the roads, breaking news, and the best ways to get around the city (if you so dare!).
And if you're out there throwing a block party, braving traffic on the PCH, Sepulveda, or the 101, or even hiking across the canyon, let us know about it. Send updates, photos, and videos via Twitter (@huffpostla), Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't forget to check out all the details leading up to the 405 closure.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky suggests that the demolition will be completed ahead of schedule.
"The consensus is that the contractor will beat by a considerable amount of time the 5:00 a.m. Monday deadline for the freeway’s reopening," he wrote on his blog.
Yet, he cautions Los Angeles residents against being overly optimistic.
"Things can still go wrong; this is a complicated and difficult job," he wrote. "But the pace is promising."
LAPD and CHP officials updated Patch on the number of arrests made on the 405 today--eight cyclists in total.From Patch:
Just got an update from the LAPD and CHP officials at the Emergency Operations Center on arrests on the 405 today. The tally so far has been eight cyclists arrested, the last at 3 p.m. today. Seven others were cited for various violations, which the officers here would not elaborate on.
Angelenos who braved traffic warnings for the Galaxy vs. Real Madrid exhibition game at the Coliseum this evening were sorely disappointed, as Galaxy lost 4-1.
Check out the full story here.
The Los Angeles Times culled tweets from tonight's soccer game attendees who reported empty seats at the Coliseum.
|@ LACarmageddon : #Carmageddon paranoia results in low turnout at Galaxy soccer match http://t.co/hj1Hcsp|
KTLA is reporting on a high-speed chase that started on the 101 freeway in the West Valley over an hour ago. The driver--a DUI suspect with a passenger--has so far been able to stay ahead of police because of the unusually light traffic conditions.
|@ ktla : WATCH LIVE: Suspected Drunk Driver Leads Police on Pursuit -- ktla.com http://t.co/uvWUBVc|
ESPN speculates that Carmageddon may have affected attendance at the Galaxy-Real Madrid exhibition game at the Coliseum tonight.
Large chunks of empty seats tarnished the Coliseum ambiance when both teams took the field for pregame warmups about half an hour before kickoff.
The game is currently at halftime and Real Madrid is in the lead, 2-0.
|@ I_405 : SA-ALL: Most of the bridge is down. Now time to saw the bent caps which sit on the beams on top of columns. Takes about 8 hrs. #405Official|
|@ LACarmageddon : Traveling band gives impromptu concert above 405 http://t.co/wkYrpMa #Carmageddon|
Props for capitalizing on all the media coverage.
The Galaxy vs. Real Madrid exhibition game kicks off in a few minutes at the Coliseum, and many fans arrived at the stadium early to avoid the dreaded--and practically non-existent--traffic. Tickets were sold prior to the i-405 closure announcement, and people from all over the country are expected to attend.
Sigalert shows increased traffic in the downtown area, as latecomers rush to the Coliseum for kickoff at 7:00pm.KTLA interviewed fans who "braved" Carmageddon for the game:
|@ santamonicacity : Thank everyone for keeping off the roads & proving that we can all work together to turn a challenging situation into something manageable.|
Encouraged by consistent reports of light traffic, Huffpost LA traveled west on Sunset Boulevard this morning to catch a glimpse of the empty 10-mile stretch of the i-405. Check out the photos here.
Right after the midnight closure of the i-405 last night, a fatal car accident took place on Sepulveda Blvd. near Valley Meadow Road.
At 12:09am, a red Honda Civic crossed over the center divider and collided head-on with a Porsche. The Honda driver died.
Click over to Encino Patch for more information.
|@ CHPsouthern : Less than 36 hours to go before the 405 is scheduled to reopen. Hang in there L.A., you're doing great!|
According to Mayor Villaraigosa's update at the i-405 Central Command Center just now, the Mulholland Drive demolition is still "on schedule."
"We've made great progress," he said. "Crews are beginning to clean the debris from the freeway and everything, including our timing, continues to go as planned. So far it appears Angelenos have heeded the call."
However, he warned Los Angeles residents to stay off the roads for the remainder of the weekend.
"Remember we still have a few hours to go, in fact we have 36 hours to go," he said.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky just posted some awesome photos of the Mulholland Bridge demolition from above. Check it out here.
|@ ZevYaroslavsky : Chunk by chunk, the Mulholland Bridge is coming down. Check out the view from above. #carmageddon. http://t.co/lYIjpQw|
Time to satiate that appetite, now that Metro Project Director Mike Barbour said, "We are on schedule and looking good".
|@ villaraigosa : Just had a sandwich at JJ's (6th/Main) http://twitpic.com/5r9bbw|
It's sure shaping up to be.
Wolfpack Hustle bikers were able to raise $7000 for the Los Angeles Bike Coalition, courtesy of Santa Monica Airlines and other companies that donated funds for every minute the cyclists beat the flight.
|@ wolfpackhustle : We just raised $7000 for @lacbc hope that means LA River rides are free for life ;)|
Here's a video from the #FlightVSBike race, courtesy of North Hollywood Patch. The cyclists beat the flight by a long shot, coming in at 1 hour and 34 minutes.
It took just 1 hour and 34 minutes for the Wolfpack Hustle bikers to make the trip from Burbank to Long Beach, beating the $4 JetBlue flight that flew out of Bob Hope Airport earlier today.
According to the LA Times, a blogger aboard the JetBlue flight left for the airport at the same time the bikers began their trek, giving himself an hour at the airport before the 12:20pm flight. The cyclists arrived at the finish line--the Long Beach Aquarium--just shortly after the flight took off.
Even Metro got in on the action, coming in second place after the cyclists. A rollerblader took third, and JetBlue came in last.
The race was thrilling, to be sure, but some are suggesting the race--and Carmageddon--become an annual event.
|@ pburka : #flightvsbike was awesome! 1st place bikes, 2nd transit, 3rd inline skates, 4th jetplane. #Carmageddon should be an annual event!|
Let's not get too ahead of ourselves.
City officials say that demolition of the Mulholland Drive Bridge is ahead of schedule.
"The first girder has been removed. They are working on the second girder," California Department of Transportation District 7 Director Mike Miles told the Los Angeles Times. "People thus far have been staying away from the area, which is allowing us to progress very nicely."
Metro update, courtesy of Patch's Live Blog:
11:22 a.m. Metro says that its lots at North Hollywood and Universal are full. Riders should take the Orange Line from Van Nuys to the Red Line to get to Hollywood.
|@ I_405 : SA-ALL: Clean up of the demolished material will begin later this afternoon. Demolition remains on schedule. #405Official|
|@ tomvanderbilt : Given airport travel time, security, runway delay, etc., I'd bet a good cyclist could travel BUR to LGB faster than Jet Blue. #carmageddon|
Bikers will be leaving at 10:55 from North Hollywood and will race Jet Blue's $4 flight from Burbank's Bob Hope Airport to Long Beach. First person to the light house at the Shoreline Aquatic Park in Long Beach wins.
L.A. Streets Blog will be tracking the bikers as they make their way to Long Beach. Check here for GPS updates and follow their progress on twitter using hashtag #FlightVSBike.Watch MSNBC's Rachel Maddow discuss the race:
One jogger successfully ran on the 405 from Olympic to Wilshire this morning (video here), though a cyclist attempting a similar route wasn't as lucky, and was escorted off the empty 405 by a California Highway Patrol officer.
"We were surprised to see that," CHP officer Brandon Sherman told My Fox LA. "Obviously, it's not something common that you see on the freeway."
And then, this:
|@ I_405 : SA-ALL: Great team work, LA! Remember that joggers or cyclists found on closed I-405 will be arrested. #405Official|
People need something to complain about, right?
|@ LACarmageddon : Carmageddon: No cars, but residents complain about loud media helicopters http://t.co/aldGVt9|
Caltrans and CHP officials are currently holding a news conference about the closure. A Caltrans official emphasized that there have been no major problems so far.
"Work is progressing, traffic is cooperating, and its moving freely this morning."
"Everything is going as planned."
|@ villaraigosa : Together, we’re putting people back to work, bldg a 21st Century transportation network w/increased carpool lanes, bike paths & rail lines|
The demolition of the Mulholland Drive bridge is underway and on schedule. LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told the Los Angeles Times that the demolition work is going "terrific."
"The people of L.A. listened to the message and stayed out of the area" he said.
Even cyclists heeded the warning. According to Patch, a group of cyclists gathered at the Mulholland Bridge late last night, but once they saw the California Highway Patrol officers below they decided to bike elsewhere.
Traffic conditions remain light, though the Unified Command Center urges Angelenos to remain off the roads.
|@ I_405 : SA-ALL: The Unified Command Center asks that the public not get complacent. “There’s a long weekend ahead of us."|
|@ I_405 : Due to light traffic, the southbound I-405 HOV and #1 lane near the 101 freeway will close at 9 pm, one hour earlier than planned|
Mayor Villaraigosa and representatives from numerous city and state agencies gathered in the 405 closure project's Unified Command Post to once again urge Angelenos to stay off the roads this weekend.