Cue the jokes about popping some popcorn and sitting back to see what happens.
No, seriously. Am I the only one who thinks that the hysteria over the closing this weekend of the stretch of the 405 freeway between the 101 and the 10 through Sepulveda Pass is just a little overblown?
Now, before you tell me that I don't understand because I'm not in Southern California, let me say this: I grew up in Southern California. I learned to drive on the freeways in L.A. I know how much Southern Californians love their cars and depend on them. Really. I know all that. And I know how common it is to hop in the car and drive across the county to go to dinner or to Disneyland or just to take a drive. I'm sure that still goes on, even with the soaring price of gasoline.
I'm not sure, however, why it seems so difficult for people who don't have to work to just stay in their neighborhoods for the weekend. Shop in a local store. Eat in a local restaurant. Play in a local park. It's not that hard.
Or is it all the media? Are the people fine with this, calm about it, ready to have a relaxing weekend at home? I suspect that's a lot of it, but i worry about the lookyloos, people who are hearing all this hype and will feel compelled to go out looking for the traffic jams and end up creating them. I know people like that, and I know that there are people like that in Southern California. Maybe more than the usual number. Goodness knows, it's kind of a regional passtime to be Where It's Happening
There are some people I feel sorry for. At the top of the list is people who planned their vacation in L.A. before carmageddon started getting so much time in the media and who couldn't cancel either because they coudn't get another time off from work or they'd already paid for tickets and lodging and couldn't get their money back. Especially the ones who have never been to Southern California.
The other folks I feel sorry for are the ones who have to get to LAX during the weekend, either because they are traveling themselves or because they are picking up or dropping someone off at the airport. Offhand, I can't think of a way to get to LAX without driving on the 405 or intersecting it. Getting into the airport isn't always horrible, but it can be and I suspect it will be this weekend.
I hope it all turns out well. It isn't as if there haven't been freeway closures in Los Angeles before. Parts of the 5 at the 14, the 10 and the 118 were all closed for various periods of time (but definitely longer than a weekend) in the aftermath of the Northridge Earthquake in 1994. That wasn't the first closure of the interchange of the 5 and the 14; it collapsed first in the 1971 Sylmar quake.
All in all, as much as I love Southern California, I'm glad I'll be watching this one from a safe distance. Fresno is a safe distance, right? But I'll be honest. I'll be checking the news from time to time, just to check on the number of Sig Alerts issued during the weekend.
Don't know what a Sig Alert is? Go look it up.
And yes, I deliberately didn't leave a link. Do you want me to do all your work for you?