The much-dreaded 405 shutdown this weekend cuts off the northbound 405 for 10 miles between the 10 and 101 Freeways and the southbound 405 for four miles between the 101 Freeway and Getty Center Drive exit. Government officials, the media and high-profile Tweeters like Ashton Kutcher and Lady Gaga have done their best to spread the word to every single gas-guzzling Angeleno, but there is still concern about horrendous gridlock from drivers who decide or have no choice but to disregard the warnings and hop in their car. The best solution is to simply skip town entirely on a weekend getaway but if you plan on being stuck at home, here is a guide to help you survive the 53-hour closure from Friday evening to Sunday night.
1. Make sure to have emergency kits at home.
Although hospitals are prepping for the 405 closure, it’s still a good idea to take some extra precautions over the weekend. L.A. County Department of Public Health suggests you prepare an emergency kit that contains water, food, cash and important documents, clothes, flashlight, first aid kit, medicine, radio, toiletries and tools. Other recommended items include extra batteries, whistles, dust masks, moist towelettes, garbage bags and a can opener.
2. Use public transportation, especially railways if possible.
It is one way you can help reduce the number of vehicles on the road this weekend. Buses may be delayed thanks to traffic and diversion routes but other modes are offering special deals. Metro Rail subways (Red and Purple lines) and the Orange line with a dedicated bus lane will be completely free of charge that weekend. Metrolink is expanding its regular weekend service on the Antelope Valley line as well as adding extra trains to the Antelope and San Fernando lines.
3. Shop and dine locally.
Visit that one shop or try out that little restaurant you’ve been passing on the way home. This weekend’s a great opportunity to get out and explore your neighborhood while supporting local businesses at the same time.
4. Do some online shopping.
If you’re really paranoid about clogging the streets, relax with some online retail therapy. Some enterprising minds are already trying to make the most of the situation by selling “I Survived Carmageddon” memorabilia online.
5. Go for a walk and/or bike ride.
Make it a fun family outing or enjoy some peaceful time to yourself. Who knows, maybe you’ll like it enough to start biking to work.
6. If you must drive, be very aware of your surroundings.
Try to carpool with others to decrease the amount of cars out there and use diversion routes which can be found here. Caltrans also provides current traffic status updates on highways and state roads here. If you decide that it really is necessary to get behind the wheel, at least know what to expect.
7. Don’t take the 110 or 101.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is hosting a soccer match between L.A. Galaxy and Real Madrid this Saturday which is anticipated to attract 100,000 fans. This may also affect Cloverfield Boulevard in Santa Monica, 4th and 5th streets, Harbor Freeway and Pacific Coast Highway. PCH is also expected to be clogged by travelers from Ventura or the Central Coast.
8. Avoid canyon roads connecting West Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley.
Major traffic jams are predicted on Sepulveda, Beverly Glen, Benedict Canyon, Coldwater Canyon, Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Cahuenga Boulevard.
9. Make sure everything you need is immediately accessible in your car.
This is especially important if you’re driving with kids. Don’t leave necessary items (like chargers, snacks, toys, etc.) in the trunk or in unreachable places that will require you to pull over. The goal is to get on and off the roads ASAP.
10. Gather a group to take advantage of carpool lanes.
If you must drive, take a friend so you can take advantage of carpool lanes. The 405 closure is not meant to be some kind of cruel punishment for Angelenos. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will certainly get over the hill faster once the freeway has been expanded!
Here are some additional trips if you’re traveling in and out of LAX this weekend.
1. Leave your car home.
Try to carpool or take a public shuttle service to cut down the quantity of cars on the roads. You can take a westbound Metro Rail Green line directly to free LAX shuttle buses.
2. If you have an early morning flight, spend the night before somewhere near LAX.
Airport officials suggest passengers still arrive two hours before departure as usual. Staying somewhere close to LAX the preceding night will lessen your time spent in traffic and help you avoid the risk of missing your flight.
3. If flying into LAX, don’t have someone pick you up.
Again, it’s crucial to keep the roads as clear as possible. If you can take shared-ride public transport, that’s one less car adding to the congestion.
4. Listen to LAX Air Radio 530 AM
The radio station will substitute regular programming with live, up-to-the-minute updates on roadway conditions in and around LAX. The broadcasts will also be streamed on the Internet.
5. Out-of-towners – make sure you know where you’re going.
If you’re renting a car, be sure to obtain a map that lets you know exactly where the freeway closures are and the best methods to get around them.