The Westside and Valley are just about to prove how far they'll go for a carpool lane on the northbound 405. LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's blog announced today that the Rampture ramp closures will commence June 22, and they will continue to inflict pain on the Wilshire Boulevard access to the 405 over the next year. The series of closures of on- and off- ramps at Wilshire Boulevard and the 405--an area that's already one of the biggest messes in the region--was postponed back in October of 2011 to allow for utility work on Sepulveda to end and so the initial impact could hit when school is out for summer. Curbed spoke to Supervisor Yaroslavsky today, who was frank in delivering the bad news about what he is calling the Ramp Jam: "There is no way to put lipstick on this pig," adding, "People will not be able to get around this easily." To mitigate the inevitable traffic jams, Yaroslavsky is asking motorists to avoid the area altogether. But if you absolutely have to travel in the area, he recommends several strategies to help with the congestion and anxiety: 1) Single occupant vehicles should avoid the area when at all possible. Instead use Twenty-Sixth or Bundy. 2) People employed in the jobs-rich neighborhood should carpool as much as possible ("It doesn't take much to make a huge impact," says Yaroslavsky). 3) Workers should also adjust their schedules or telecommute during the week to avoid peak hours at the ramps. Failing any of those possibilities, drivers should allot for double the travel time to navigate the Rampture.
The ramp project is part of the larger effort of the 405 Sepulveda Pass Improvement Project (pdf), which is adding a northbound carpool lane from the Westside into the Valley (and is also the reason for a little non-event called Carmageddon); this piece will replace all eight ramps at the intersection over the next year. Some of the ramps will be closed for 14 days, and others will take 90 days to complete. The end result should solve a design flaw that results in the current "toxic potion" as Yaroslavsky describes it--traffic exiting the freeway has to merge into traffic, with the on-ramp located behind the off-ramp. Anyone who has made the move doesn't forget it.
For those of you curious about when an alternative transportation mode might provide a different way around the constant traffic jam that is the 405, Measure R has funding for a project to build a form of alternative transportation over the Sepulveda Pass. Congressman Brad Sherman, who represents the Valley, recently added his support to a Metro request for a federal grant to fund the study of potential projects.
· Get ready to ramp up on Wilshire [Zev's Blog]
· The Rampture Delayed Until 2012 [Curbed LA]
· Meet the Rampture: 3 Month Closures For Wilshire Blvd. 405 Ramps [Curbed LA]