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President Obama's visit snarls traffic on L.A.'s Westside

Picture 1 Navigating rush-hour traffic on Los Angeles' Westside, which is never an easy task, was even worse in some areas Monday evening as streets were blocked off because of a visit by President Obama.

Obama arrived in Los Angeles for a fundraiser at the home of "ER" and "The West Wing" executive producer John Wells and his wife, Marilyn.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, also are expected to attend.

The Los Angeles Police Department said it had received a number of calls from people about the traffic but had not been given information on street closures from the Secret Service.

On Twitter, motorists reported that traffic was at a standstill in Hollywood and the Miracle Mile. Others reported that Olympic Boulevard was closed in Beverly Hills.

-- Robert J. Lopez

Photo: President Obama. Credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (129)


This isn't about Democrats in general or President Obama in particular. Commenters who are trying to score political points here just don't know what they are talking about. The same traffic problems used to happen when President Bush visited -- and yes, that often happened during rush hour. Having lived for years very close to where the President's helicopter drops him off and picks him up, I have been through this several times.

Wow. That was a total, complete mess. Never seen a traffic jam in LA like that...and this is LA! How much money was lost by Angelino business and residents having to deal with that unnecessary traffic disaster? I bet you not anywhere near what Obama raised at his fundraiser with with an elbow-rubbing Hollywood producer. And least I talk about the hundreds of thousand of lives of Angelinos like myself who after a long day working just wanted to get home to their kids/family, but instead were stuck in their cars for three hours going in circles. I am an Obama supporter, so don't try ripping on this email as some excuse for party stance. I can be pro Obama and still appalled at that disaster. And yes, an apology is owed.

The level of whining and stupidity witnessed here is simply astounding…

Welcome to LA, Pres! You should come back for a Laker game sometime .. (c'mon... you know who the best team in the world is.. and it sure as hell isn't the Wizards!)

p.s. to all the haters-- when is traffic in this city NOT this bad?? *#&#$ wankers.

It was totally horrible. I can't believe secret service would require our city to be so disorganized, impeding the flow of traffic from bev.hills to hancock park. I love the guy...but..seriously!

This mess was an absolute nightmare!!! It is infuriating that no consideration was shown for the residents of this city. Why did he have to come here during rush hour weekday traffic? Is there no better time?

Da Mayor says ride a bike! It worked for China in the 60's.

First, if you're going to criticize the president, learn to spell. Second, Obama didn't organize the street closures, your police department did that.

8 yrs of Bush's administration and I never experienced anything like today. Luckily, I got out of west L.A. in the afternoon so I wasn't stuck for hours but they still closed Wilshire Blvd and parts of Santa Monica Blvd (even though Obama's plane wouldn't even land for at least an hour). I did have to walk about a mile to get to a bus stop - but what about the people who have mobility issues or little kids?

Obviously, the president is busy and I doubt he wants to inconvenience citizens and residents. But his aides who plan his schedule and logistics should have planned better. This is not even a presidential visit - it's just to raise funds for his party.

Buses were being re-routed and the bus drivers didn't even know where they were going. People were waiting on Wilshire Blvd without a clue as to where to go to catch a bus because Metro (MTA) got limited information. Obviously Secret Service doesn't want to release the route they'll take for security reasons, but at least let LAPD and the city know which streets actually need to be closed. Let the bus agencies figure out where to detour their buses and let them inform passengers where to board.

My, my, my.

People are irate!!!

I live on the Eastside (The Boyle Heights eastside not the Los Feliz eastside). I do not commute. I work at home all day, almost every day on my computer. Most days I do not drive. I own a ten year old compact pickup I drive maybe two or three times a week. I try to get out and walk everyday though. At least a couple of miles.

I must say, I enjoyed reading these comments. I hope Obama comes visit his Hollywood friends and supporters more often. Just lock the whole Westside down everytime he comes visting. I don't want any harm coming to the Commander-in-chief. Then open these Times boards to all the pain and anger of the Westside. I LOVE IT!!!!

OMG this is insane..... took 1 hour to move 1.2 miles... i've never seen something like this before.... please go back to your whitehouse

Shouldve gone over and ask each person attending for 100 bucks. They had $25,000 to give away tonight!

Please, people, these are the elites, not to be bothered by your whining just because you had to spend hours gridlocked so they could whiz through empty streets with police and secret service escorts in the middle of rush hour(s).

Know your place! You are the working tax paying drone class, here only to serve!

Ahem..."SHUT down the Wilshire corridor" ;)

I am the first person to comment here, four pages back. I see that I'm the only person here who enjoyed the experience (however, so did the people hanging out on the curb along Olympic Blvd, waiting for the motorcade to pass).

I'll admit this was the worst traffic jam I've ever seen in Los Angeles, in the numbers of cars jammed up on streets running at right angles to Olympic Blvd., at least in the area around my street.

However, this was not, by any stretch, the worst traffic jam for its length of time. That distinction goes back about a decade when a body in the middle of the 405 freeway near the Sepulveda Pass caused a traffic nightmare that went on for hours longer than this one, and affected a wider part of the city.

Last year's marathon also tied up traffic on the west side, and having gotten stuck in it, I am not sure tonight's jam was worse.

The comments by the politically biased, by the trolls, and by the whiners are a hoot! My favorite is the one that both contradicted itself and managed to measure speed to the tenths of a mile: "the dad driving was totally stuck, going 2.1 mph."

As far as pedestrians not being able to cross a street by police dictate, this was not strictly true. It depended on where one tried to cross. On Olympic, near Cochran, I rode across the street on my bike where there were no police for a few hundred yards. People who claimed they had kids in daycare were allowed to cross. So a little resourcefulness resulted in the ability to cross at least Olympic Blvd.

As I pedaled back to my house, a few motorists gave me a thumbs up. More of us should bike (and walk and take public transport).

And our tax money paid for this mess!

Obama made me "hope" I finally get home.

I sat in that traffic for almost two hours in an ambulance with a patient in the back. The patient was stable, so I couldn't just "light up" and go lights and sirens up La Brea without just cause. I felt like I was going to turn into a pickle while stewing in the horrid smell that the patient made after his bowel movement. It's not the patient's fault... I knew what I was getting into when I got into this job, but it doesn't mean that I enjoy fermenting in that smell.

I've showered 3 times since I've gotten home and I might have to burn my uniform...

How to Piss Away Political Capital and Assure a One Term Presidency: A novel by Barack Hussein Obama with special forward by Jimmy Carter.

I don't know HOW in the universe it's possible, but the DNC has managed to be more tone deaf than the GOP....amazing FAIL.

Living on the Eastside does not make anyone more virtuous than someone who, say, works in Mid-City and lives in Inglewood.
Anyone who wasn't stuck in this mess doesn't have the right to judge the comments of the people who were.
A lot of these comments aren't from "haters" -- they were written by frustrated people sorry to see ammunition being given to those who accuse the President of being elitist and out of touch with regular people.
This colossal waste of time -- and gasoline -- was not the fault of the LAPD. Kind of hard to plan detours and manage when you don't know the route. I felt sorry for the officers, who undoubtedly had to put up with verbal abuse from a lot of irate commuters.
And there's a big difference between having dinner in Bel Air, which created traffic jams in the surrounding areas, and bisecting the city from the ocean to Hancock Park and telling people "sorry, but there's no way to get there from here."
From a PR point of view, it was just plain stupid.

this was ridiculous. if you even close all the main road why close the residential area. pretty much was trapped on the west side of La for more than 3 hours and couldn't even get to a freeway or the east side of La because of the president.

GREAT comment, Bryan! Neither party has a monopoly on putting self-interest above public interest.

My partner who just had hip surgery was not warned of these closures. We had no way to plan. For those who say that LA is always terrible traffic wise? I have lived here for 8 year and this city is very well planned and run. Los Angeles is an old city and our roads are our life-blood. Little roads, not HUGE HUGE HUGE FREEWAYS like the rest of the country has built over the years. The Traffic here is always moving unless something stops it. Live here and then comment. I gave to this President. I am very angry. To fly into Los Angeles at the time he did and to have made people sit for hours to get home is something I will not forget at the polls. I know Hancock Park. I live less than a mile from Hancock Park. The arrogance of Obama is something we Angelenos will not forget.

Look at a Map of Los Angeles and estimate how many people move on that Map. Would you arrive at 3pm and shut down the 405 and then move eastward and completely shut down the small streets that millions of commuters use because they are no where close to a freeway, just to have a meal? If you do not live in Los Angeles you cannot make a comment. Move here pay to live here and then live here and then make a comment about what happened tonight. Cars were over heated. People had to leave their cars to walk home. About people walking to get water. Los Angeles is one of the driest places in the United States. Again live here and then speak. Get a map, ask some of the mother's stuck for hours and then talk to us about what happened.

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