(LOS ANGELES – July 1, 2011) – In preparation for the closure of Interstate 405 in West Los Angeles the weekend of July 15-18, the Automobile Club of Southern California is advising motorists to avoid the area if possible, make alternative arrangements such as using rail transit, or be prepared for long delays if they must travel by car near the closure.
The northbound 405 will be closed for a 10-mile stretch between Interstate 10 and U.S. 101 that weekend, while the southbound side will be closed between U.S. 101 and Getty Center Drive. Contractors will begin closing I-405 freeway onramps in that area at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 15, in preparation for the freeway closure beginning at midnight. The freeway is scheduled to reopen at 5 a.m. Monday, July 18.
“Because this stretch of the freeway is the main access point between two densely populated areas – West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley – the ripple effects of the closure are likely to be widespread throughout Los Angeles County,” said Hamid Bahadori, the Auto Club’s transportation policy manager. “Many travelers will be forced to detour through downtown and East Los Angeles, so residents and drivers in those areas will be affected as well. The impact could be felt even farther east, south and north if motorists try to drive just as they would on any other weekend.”
Among those most impacted by the closure will be Los Angeles International Airport passengers. The Auto Club is advising LAX passengers to plan ahead with these tips:
Stay at a nearby hotel the night before departure. Many LAX area hotels have “park and fly” packages allowing you to park at the hotel for the duration of your trip. These hotels offer free shuttle service to and from the airport. Contact your local Auto Club branch or book online.
Choose transit, particularly rail transit, to commute to or from the airport. Metro Rail, the light-rail service running through Los Angeles County, will waive fares on certain lines July 16 and 17. Amtrak and Metrolink rail provide train service to outlying areas of Southern California and connect to Metro Rail at several stations.
The Green Line “G” Shuttle Bus to LAX provides access between the airport and Metro Rail’s Green Line. To access the shuttle bus from LAX, go outside the baggage claim area, wait at the LAX Shuttle Bus sign (most shuttles go to airport parking), and board the “G” LAX Shuttle Bus. To access the airport from the Green Line, exit the Green Line at the Aviation/LAX station and take the elevator, escalator or stairs to street level to wait for the shuttle bus. Be sure to keep your Metro Rail ticket because that is required to board the bus. Fare is $1.50 each way (Green Line fares are not waived for that weekend).
Rail passengers can also choose to use the LAX Flyway Bus running between Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and LAX. Fares between LAX and Union Station are $7 one-way. Flyaway Buses also travel between LAX and Irvine, Van Nuys and Westwood. Be aware that the buses, particularly the Van Nuys and Westwood routes, could also experience significant delays depending on traffic congestion related to the 405 closure. For more information, call 866-435-9529 or visit http://lawa.org/flyaway.
To board the Flyaway Bus at LAX, go outside the baggage claim area and wait under the sign marked “FlyAway, Buses and Long Distance Vans.” To board the bus at Union Station, go to Berth 9 of Patsouras Plaza (the new part of the station) and purchase a bus ticket before boarding at the nearby kiosk. Flyaway Buses to Union Station leave every half hour except between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., when they leave hourly.
For motorists who must drive on Southern California roadways that weekend, the Auto Club recommends the following tips:
Don't expect to be able to drive quickly to any location in the Los Angeles area during the closure weekend. By adjusting your attitude to expect delays, even if you're not driving anywhere near the closure, you won't get as stressed out if you run into traffic.
Local news radio stations are likely to be running traffic updates all weekend. Listen to them before you get in the car, or pull up real-time traffic maps on your computer before you leave, so you can know what to expect and choose the route that is best for you.
Leave an hour or even several hours ahead of when you would normally leave to drive somewhere if you must travel that weekend. That will alleviate the stress of thinking you will not arrive in time.
Bring along books on tape, several favorite music CDs or if you have a car connector, your personal music player to keep relaxed as you drive. Try to select music that has a calming effect on your mood.
If traffic is really congested and your schedule allows, particularly if traveling with children, pull off the road and take a break. Stop at a restaurant or a park so everyone can stretch their legs.
Avoid directing anger at other drivers, even if they are discourteous or distracted. Concentrate on your own driving.
Don't text, read or otherwise manipulate electronic devices in a way that forces your eyes off the road and could cause a crash.
The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.