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‘Carmageddon’ Didn’t Happen

You may have heard that the weekend closure of LA’s 405 freeway – the “most driven” highway in the U.S. – was no big deal. After expectations of enormous backups in a city devoted to car travel, the streets were not clogged. Far from it.

Interstate 405 has reopened in Los Angeles, following a weekend closure that caused none of the expected  chaos.
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Above: Interstate 405 has reopened in Los Angeles, following a weekend closure that caused none of the expected chaos.

This, of course, has lead to a lot of deep thought about what cars and freeways really mean to us.

An essay in LAStreetsblog.org presented a chicken/egg perspective. Does California build huge freeways because there is enormous car traffic? Or do we have enormous car traffic because we build huge freeways that people are expected to use?

Well, there was no Carmageddon last weekend. There was no Hardtopocalypse. And that supported the second theory. No freeway to use meant no reason to go out and use it. Instead, people hung around at home, visited with neighbors or went to a neighborhood park.

Carmageddon meant people were gettin’ karma… the good kind. The freeway opened up again yesterday and one TV news anchor joked that citizens of LA can now go back to being miserable.

Check out the video below that did a good job of capturing the hysteria that preceded the nonevent.

Video

Carmageddon

Above: Carmageddon was no big deal.

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