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L.A. fuming over Obama traffic, demands investigation [Updated]

The massive traffic jam that resulted from President Obama's motorcade and speech Monday night in Hancock Park is prompting calls for an investigation from some residents, who say they were caught in traffic for hours.

Obama was only in L.A. for a few hours, but his presence caused numerous streets to be blocked off. [Updated at 11:05 a.m.: Obama left Los Angeles in Air Force One about 9 a.m. Tuesday.]

Me_l7b3hsnc Residents reported that commutes and errands that typically took minutes turned into hours-long ordeals. One particular complaint was that streets remained blocked for hours -- even when Obama was inside TV producer John Wells' Hancock Park home at a fund-raiser.

"What has occurred is way beyond reasonable and can only be described as negligent," L.A. resident Kevin McCarthy said in an e-mail to The Times. "If it isn't my story, currently evolving, of beginning my 1 mile journey home at 5pm and at 7:50pm now being 3 miles from home with no viable idea of how to get closer, it should be about the two sirens-wailing ambulances I have witnessed stuck in this unnecessary gridlock."

The Los Angeles Fire Department reported no delays for emergency vehicles. But the LAPD heard an earful from angry motorists.

Me2_l7b3nincOne man, who did not want to give his name, said it had taken his wife four hours to drive home from Brentwood. Another man trying to walk west on 6th Street to his office shouted at the officers blocking his way and told them he wished he had voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Obama's opponent in the 2008 presidential race.

Carlos Garcia, a 25-year-old waiter from the Miracle Mile, had the misfortune of setting out on a run about the time the area went on lockdown. He had planned on a four-mile run, but it turned into 5.5 miles as he tried unsuccessfully to get back home, ultimately waiting 25 minutes at a yellow-police-tape barrier.

"They waved me through, but then they stopped me coming back," he said. "I can't believe they did it during rush hour on a Monday."

-- Maeve Reston, Robert J. Lopez and Shelby Grad

Photos, from top: President Obama waves to the media as he departs Los Angeles International Airport on Aug. 17, 2010. The president exits Marine One and walks across the runway to Air Force One at LAX. A Marine helicopter carrying Obama's staff comes in for landing above the nose of Air Force One shortly before the president departs L.A. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (493)

I am not one to defend Obama on everything, but he's the president, for crying out loud, and it was one day. Plenty of great restaurants on the west side, and his visit was publicized, relax folks.

This is why we need a real public transit system in this city!!
I have never been to a so called metro city that had such poor public transit, such a disgrace shame on you los angeles.

Obama can never win. The fundraisers are done by every president, Democrat and Republican.

Kevin McCarthy -- if you DRIVE for a one mile commute, you have no business complaining about how other people needlessly create traffic gridlock for others.

That's a 20 minute walk, or 5 minute bike ride.

And once, these were America's finest. But don't touch their pensions. They're to proteet you and serve themselves to your pocketbooks.

This is ridiculous for sure, but it doesn't even address the problems faced by pilots. A TFR (temporary flight restriction) the largest I have ever seen was erected over literally the entire LA Basin! This means that no pilot could fly into or out of any airport in this area while Obama was in town. Commercial operations, airliners flying into or out of LAX, Burbank etc. probably were not too seriously effected, but everyone else was stuck where they were for the duration. The sheer size of this temporary flight restriction was unbelievable, causing businesses who train pilots, sell pilot type stuff were simply unable to function. This same thing happened when he visited Hawaii several months ago. This sort of thing has never before happened on this kind of scale with any other president. Why?


Why can't they use helicopter for transit in such congested areas?

I agree! And he wasn't even here on official business, just being "Money-grubber-in-chief". (He disses the left but has no trouble grabbing our money -- go get it from the Blanche Lincoln/Ben Nelson crowd you keep fawning over!).

Shame on the Wells family for needing to "host" the President at their house and causing untold misery for so many people. You could have had the same event at one of a dozen nice LAX Hotels and not caused anyone any problems and made it easier on the President.

My wife lost $125 because of a missed appointment. THAT will be our contribution to the Obama 2012 Campaign! To anyone who was inconvenienced yesterday -- DON'T contribute to the next campaign!

(From a 'from the beginning' Obama supporter)

This happens every time a president visits. I'd like to point my finger at Obama, but it happens when ANY president visits now that it's post 9/11. My wife was trying to fly into San Francisco earlier this year for a business meeting. Obama was visiting San Fran for a fund-raiser, and they closed the entire airport. No planes arriving, no planes departing for the 5th largest metro area in the nation. They kept her plane circling for over an hour and she was very late for her meeting. Just about everyone who had an appointment was late. There was no apparent "business reason" for his visit other than to attend a fund-raising dinner there that evening.

The Obamanator strikes again...

After 2012, he'll just be remembered for digging this country into a financial nightmare and tying up traffic...

What's the word today? I hear Obama is leaving from LAX at 9am. Are there any street closures this morning?

Next time Obama might try just sending in his bag men to get the money

Is anyone surprised by this? HE DOESNT CARE. HE IS A SAYER, NOT A DOER.

Thankfully OC is conservative so Obama won't ever come here and screw up our daily lives. He's already done a good job of that from Washington DC.

Obama is completely out of tuch with reality and the will of the American people. One and done Barry...

I took me over 3 hours to get home from Century City to West Hollywood, a 2.5 mile trip. There is no excuse for such a massive lack of planning and notice. The president's safety is important, but so is the safety and wellbeing of the tens of thousands stuck in the gridlock that pervaded for hours. If this is what we have been reduced to then the terrorists have surely won.

It seems that power has gone to Obama's head. And I think the people who voted for this criminal knows they were scammed by his charm and speaking capabilities. Remember the story about the wolf in sheeps clothing? The very basic thing about Obama bothered me from the beginning. Don't get me wrong, McCain is wishy washy but he is a true American. This November let's do the right thing and get this great nation back on track and send a powerful message to Obama that he and his cronies are finished.

Unfortunately my wife asked me at 5:30 p.m. to deliver her to her 6 p.m. part-time job at Olympic and Rimpau. (We live in Echo Park, near downtown LA. It's only a 20-minute drive using shortcuts.) Sunnily we got as close as three blocks from her workplace. so she could walk the last few blocks and was only 45 minutes late. Fortunately, I gave up on the paralyzed traffic, pulled into the first available parking spot, heard on the radio that the President's fundraising visit was the cause of the mess. I chanted three times the consoling mantra "President Barack Hussein Obama. " I pulled out Jonah Lehrer's neurology book "How We Decide," and read a few pages. Then I listened to Terry Gross interview a woman who miraculously regained three dimensional vision in her fifties and was now able to behold the beauty of trees. I turned off the radio. I looked at trees and watched traffic creep past me car by car. As consoled as I am by the mantra "President Barack Hussein Obama," please use a helicopter next time, Mr. President...or better yet hold the rush hour party in Pico Union. At 8 p.m., it was empty as we headed eastward home. We quickly left behind all the snakes of cars diverted bumper-to-bumper every which way but west . Pico Union could use the attention and business; the Democrats could see a neighborhood they tend to ignore.

Los Angeles traffic was horrid long before Obama came to town. But it might be his fault that Los Angeles has forest fires, mudslides and smog. Most bad stuff going on in America is now "his fault". Or so it seems.

The guy just can't catch a break, although I blame the police for continuing to block traffic while President Obama was inside the residence.

This is not knew or unique to this Prez. I'm old enough to remember the traffic jams on the Santa Monica and San Diego freeways created by Reagan, or by any high profile politician that lands at LAX. Dan Quayle had the habit of always coming during morning rush hour. These are the things this country has to put up with due to continued threatened violence against our top politicians. Something that unfortunately, Reagan suffered first hand.

Stuck in traffic for 2 1/2 hours Monday night for a commute that usually takes 15 minutes! It's unfortunate that the city planners who handle traffic took the night off.

One should ALWAYS expect delays such as this when a president visits. I suspect the complainers are right wing republican reactionaries.

If you want an investigation, start with John Wells and everyone at his fundraiser who thought this was a good idea. Yes, I understand that the actions yesterday were at the Secret Service's direction, but you'd think the President should know by now that when he travels, this is what happens. He could have easily said no or done it at a hotel near the airport. All of that yesterday for a million bucks, just phenomenally inconsiderate.

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