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Carmegeddon a bust: Angelinos prove they can leave cars at home in a pinch

By dcuff
Monday, July 18th, 2011 at 9:02 am in driving.

Fears of a traffic nightmare dubbed Carmeggedon evaporated over the weekend as Southern Californians proved they can severe their ties to the auto for at least a couple of days when a portion of Intersate 405 was closed for a construction project. It wasn’t too much of a surprise as Bay Area residents have proved in recent years that they can do without a major artery – the Bay Bridge – when it was temporarily closed for construction work.

Remember the last time the Bay Bridge was closed for Labor Day of 2009. Bay Area residents heeded the many warnings about the event, and produced relatively light traffic. No Bridgeageddon occurred.

Back in 1984, Los Angeles area residents proved they could change their car habits when traffic ended up being light for the Olympics, instead of the nightmare some had feared. I remember attending the women’s 5,000 meter run final back then, and the traffic to he Los Angeles Coliseum was a breeze.

“Carmageddon, Shmarmageddon!” quipped Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky on Sunday. He was the one who coined the term  “Carmageddon” to dramatize fears about the traffic nightmare that didn’t happen. Click here to read story.

“I think people in L.A. have learned that you can get along without having to take long car rides on a weekend,” the supervisor said.

The weekend event was fodder for pundits and critics. Some critics of highway building protested that Southern Californians would have benefited more from spending money on public transit rather than the added freeway lane that triggered the need for the temporary freeway shutdown.

Comedian Bill Maher joked about the apocalypse of Southern Californians having to stay home and spend time with their families.

The Jet Blue airline sought the limelight by offering special $4 flights from Burbank to Long Beach airport. A group of bicyclists got in the act, proving they could pedal the same distance faster than a person could drive to the airport, clear security screening, take the special flights, and then drive to their destination.

One person on aboard the shuttle flight joked that airline passengers only advantage in the competition was that they could drink alcohol that it would be illegal for the cyclists to drink during their trip.

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