Is a social media app the savior of Carmageddon? ABC 7 thinks so.

Our trusty 405 closure countdown clock tells me that it’s 9 days until Carmageddon… yikes!

While officials are recommending staying off the roads the weekend of July 16th, those who have no choice are looking for solutions to ease the misery. Metro has decided to offer free rides on 26 bus lines and the Red, Purple and Orange lines to encourage transit as an alternative – but for those who insist on driving the solution may be found in a social media app called Waze.

We briefly looked at Waze back in March when an interesting video visualization of L.A. traffic compiled from the app’s data was released. Now the app is back in the news thanks to the 405 closure. Local news network ABC 7 is promoting the app on their broadcasts and website as a way to best navigate around traffic on Carmageddon weekend.

ABC produced a segment on the technology, which you can view here, but this is how it works in a nutshell: drivers download the app and register as a user, the app then uses GPS technology to track a user’s driving speed and location and combines it with data coming from other users to create a real time picture of traffic conditions. The app then uses this live traffic data to generate the best route.

I’m not a driver so I haven’t tested the app on the road, but it has a slick 3D map interface and an average 4.5 stars (out of 5) on the Apple App Store. In addition to Apple, the app is also available for Android, Blackberry and Nokia.

If Ponch says so…

Photo by Jose Ubaldo/Metro.

The actor Erik Estrada, aka Officer Frank Poncharello from “CHiPs,” was cool enough to help tape a public service announcement this morning advising motorists of the upcoming 405-Sepulveda Pass closure the weekend of July 16-17.

I’m sure the fine Officer will be reminding motorists to plan ahead for the closure, avoid area roads and/or stay home.

 

Reminder: live chat with Metro about 405 closure, today at noon

Just another reminder that the chat will be online today from noon to 1 p.m. with a link on the Metro homepage. Direct link: http://metro.multicity.com/

Answering your questions about the 53-hour closure on the weekend of July 16-17 will be Doug Failing, Metro’s Executive Director of Highway Projects, and K.N. Murthy, Executive Director of Transit Project Delivery for Metro.

Here’s a recent news release about the chat. The closure — as I’m sure you’re aware by now — is being done for the partial demolition of the Mulholland Bridge as part of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project.


Reminder: live online chat tomorrow with Metro bigwigs on next month's 405 closure

The chat will be online from noon to 1 p.m. with a link on the Metro homepage.

Answering your questions about the 53-hour closure on the weekend of July 16-17 will be Doug Failing, Metro’s Executive Director of Highway Projects, and K.N. Murthy, Executive Director of Transit Project Delivery for Metro.

Here’s a recent news release about the chat. The closure — as I’m sure you’re aware by now — is being done for the partial demolition of the Mulholland Bridge as part of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project.


Opinion: the 405 closure as a case for multi-modal transportation in L.A.

Traffic on the 405 freeway. Photo by biofriendly, via Flickr.

By now it should be no secret that a massive chunk of the 405 freeway will be closing the weekend of July 15 – the big countdown clock on our sidebar kind of gives it away.

If the countdown clock, press releases and media coverage (“carmageddon” anyone?) haven’t made it clear, allow me: this is a big deal for L.A.

Of course, some of our regular and more transit-oriented readers may scoff and even revel in the suffering of our car-dependent cohorts. I know there’s a part of me that thinks: 1) the media and some officials are unnecessarily sensationalizing the event (but that’s what they do best), and; 2) haha, eat it gas guzzlers.

But on the other hand, most Angelenos are car-dependent and by default, freeway dependent. So even if it’s just a weekend, the closure is going to have a big impact on a lot of people – and make a lot of people feel stranded, trapped and confused.

In a sense the apocalyptic hyperbole of the media may be grounded in the reality that, due to our overwhelming dependency on cars, many Angelenos will suffer. To be sure, it’s no tsunami, hurricane or earthquake – but maybe L.A.’s worst natural disaster is actually a man-made one.

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A portion of 405 freeway will be closed on the weekend of July 16-17 for Mulholland Bridge demolition work

UPDATE 6.2.11 - Click on detail above for a set of maps that illustrate detours for planned closure of a portion of the I-405 July 16-17.

UPDATE 6.2.11 - Click on detail above for a set of maps that illustrate detours for planned closure of a portion of the I-405 July 16-17.

Here is the news release issued today by LAPD, LAFD, CHP, LADOT, Metro and Caltrans:

Countdown to the Closure: Extended 53-Hour Closure of I-405 Freeway Between U.S. 101 and I-10 Planned in Mid-July for Mulholland Bridge Demolition Work

Los Angeles, Calif.Plan Ahead, Avoid The Area, Or Stay Home. That’s the message public safety officials are sending to the public in anticipation of a planned 10-mile, 53-hour closure of the I-405 freeway between the U.S. 101 and I-10 on the weekend of July 16-17, 2011 for planned demolition work on the Mulholland Bridge, part of a major I-405 improvement project.

The Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Metro and Caltrans are informing the public in advance that if they do not have a critical need to be in or near the vicinity of the closure, they are being asked to avoid the area.

The specific freeway closure boundaries are as follows:

  • Northbound I-405: 10-mile closure between I-10 and U.S. 101
  • Southbound I-405: 4-mile closure between U.S. 101 and Getty Center Drive Ramps

Motorists who must travel through the Los Angeles metropolitan area are advised to use alternate freeways within the region, including the 5, 15, 23, 55, 57, 101, 118, 126, 210, 605 and 710 freeways to bypass the impacted area. In addition, public transportation options are available such as the Metro Rail service within L.A. County and Metrolink servicing the five county Southern California region. Additional alternate route information will be made available on the project web site at www.metro.net/405.

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