Carmageddon II, the second annual weekend-long shutdown of 10 miles of the 405 Freeway, will be unleashed the last weekend in September, which means it's time once again for VERY SCARY WARNINGS from public officials. No, wait they're going positive this year. Lame! Last year's set of warnings were pretty scary (sample: "It's going to back up probably all the way to San Bernardino County"), and they worked--Carmageddon was actually quite pleasant and there was little traffic anywhere in the city all weekend. As Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa put it: "So this time around, we're not going to say, 'Folks, look, we're going to have the worst traffic ever.' We all know that's possible. What we're going to say is, 'What about another day without a car in L.A.? What about Angelenos accepting the challenge to stay out of their car?" (as reported by the LA Times). Meanwhile, County Supe Zev Yaroslavsky is encouraging people to stay in their neighborhoods and spend money supporting local businesses. All very heartwarming, but can we get at least one scary quote from an official?
Ah, here it is, California Highway Patrol assistant chief Calvin Aubry telling everyone not to get cute with the stunts (like planking or dining): "For those who are seeking publicity or trying to create a YouTube moment, you will be arrested and prosecuted ... Our Number One priority is to keep these workers safe during this closure, and we'll have a significant amount of increased law enforcement presence and patrols to make sure that happens."
The only other real doomsaying concerns Carmageddon II's end time--last year, workers finished up early, but that's unlikely to happen this year says Yaroslavsky: "Construction crews will again be battling time to complete the demolition work,? Only this time they'll have a third more work to do in the same amount of time." However, according to the Daily News, the contractor will be penalized about $6,000 per 10 minutes of time they spend working past a 5 am deadline on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, let's never forget why we're doing all this: the 405 is getting itself widened up for a new carpool lane. The project is on budget but about four months behind schedule. It should be finished up by fall 2013, at which point they'll probably start all over again adding another one or something.
· 9 Most Doom-y Official Statements About the July 405 Closure [Curbed LA]
· Carmageddon II warning: Stay away from the 405 Freeway [LADN]