Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Carmageddon - Not So Scary

Carmageddon - Not So Scary

The 405 can be a scary place. Well, it can be a slow place. A very, very slow place. A location that will rob you of your extra time and can feel like getting to the valley from the west side is a stretch into forever. Though it can be said that it's a needed evil. Without you would have to drive all the way around the Santa Monica mountains in either direction. That in itself would be more difficult.

Where am I going with this? Well, clearly to talk about Carmageddon. The event that closing the 405 made everyone believe that the end of Los Angeles car community would be brought about with. The doom and gloom that was spouted off for the six or seven weeks leading up to it was just comical, at best, and far above and beyond the scare that Y2K brought about.

Now that we're on the other side of it, not to be one of those to say I told you so, but you're sure as fucking right I said I told you that not a goddamn thing was going to be a problem with it. Now the Mayor came out and proclaimed the whole thing as a success...
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Sunday called ‘‘Carmageddon II,’’ the sequel to last year’s shutdown of one of the nation’s busiest freeways, a success and thanked drivers for staying off the road and keeping the weekend traffic unusually light.

Bridgework that forced the closure of Interstate 405 was completed and lanes of the freeway through the Sepulveda Pass began reopening Sunday night, hours ahead of a planned reopening for the Monday morning commute.
The connector ramps to Interstate 10 were opened first, followed by the northbound lanes and the on-ramps, police Det. Gus Villanueva said. The process will be repeated for southbound lanes.
Boy howdy, if there isn't a photo op that this douche bag hasn't taken the chance to stick his nose into. What an asshole. I sure hate him with a fucking passion. But hey, at least he's willing to admit that he was wrong... no wait, that's not what the did. He thanked folks for not being on the road. Which seems a little strange as that wasn't the message being presented to motorist for the last two months.

The stupidity of it all just repeated itself. People freaked the fuck out and decided not to go out at all. The last time this happened, even though there was an increased number of public transportation offerings, as well as free bus lines, ridership was lower than on most Sundays. Which just tells you that people stayed in and didn't go out at all. Which, in a sense, is good for people like me who are tired of crowds. But on the flip side, it's bad for consumer spending.

Though, I have to admit that as a driver it was probably the best days to drive in Los Angeles since the days when roads weren't covered in cars. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that perhaps we should do this more often. While it may not be great for the folks who live near the freeway on a driver, it'll be a lot better for their health concerns. You see, last year when they pulled the act of closing down the freeway for the weekend, the air quality went up 83%
The reprieve lasted for only one weekend, but UCLA researchers say that last year's Carmageddon closure of the 405 Freeway rid Los Angeles of both traffic and another notorious problem: pollution.
Air quality near the closed 10-mile portion of the freeway reached levels 83% better than typical weekends, according to research released Friday by a team at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.
More striking, the researchers say, air quality also improved 75% in parts of West Los Angeles and Santa Monica, suggesting that whole swaths of residents stayed off the road in those areas. Overall, air quality across the region was 25% better than normal.
Wow. I have to say, I know I'm not one to take to public transportation, thus I'm part of the problem. I know I sure do need to use my bike more often. But if just closing down a highway for one weekend can get this much better air quality, there should be some sort of indicator, or at least some sort of attempt to encourage more folks to get off the road more often.

In the end, Carmageddon had no teeth. Why am I not surprised that the panic is far larger than the actual reality of things.

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