We’ll Always Have “Carmaggedon”*

Traffic Suzanne Dranow Real EstateLive in Los Angeles long enough and you realize that the only other certain besides traffic is roadwork. Often the roadwork is somewhat mysterious, such as when you are greeted by cones and a flashing arrow reducing your four lanes down to one. And as you pass the construction area you see… well, a lot of times you see nothing but empty lanes with no work being done to them.

The mother of all construction projects was the widening of the 405, which felt like it took 10 years, and once completed, alleviated traffic for about a week. Maybe that’s an unfair assessment, because now when I drive over the hill (either direction) in peak traffic it now only takes 38 minutes to get beyond the Skirball, where it used to take 40! 
That said, adversity (and fear) brought the city together when they closed down the 405 (the commuting equivalent of tying a tourniquet on a limb). Lovingly called “Carmaggedon,” the expectation was that the city would be paralyzed (and possibly that Satan would appear and end the world). Los Angeles residents planned to shelter in place, the police set up mobile command centers… And the biggest fallout of this tragedy was four people setting up a table to have brunch among the empty lanes.
And when the freeway was finally opened after all the construction and widening, the result was a reduction in traffic for about three months, until the automotive traffic again reached capacity. And it only cost $1.6 billion. Oh, the folly of it all. 
*And for my NYC friends, I know all this traffic talk may seem ridiculous, but pretend we’re complaining about trying to catch a cab in mid-town at 4:30… In the rain. (Even though they “supposedly” increased the taxi fleet.)  Yeah, it’s that bad.

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