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Commuters, residents fume over traffic jam caused by Obama's visit

With traffic snarled for hours Monday around Hancock Park and beyond during President Obama’s visit to Los Angeles, many people simply abandoned their cars and tried to walk home. But some north-south streets, including Hudson and June near Wilshire, were closed even to pedestrians.

That led to some angry confrontations between LAPD officers and Hancock Park residents.

One 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 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."

A motorcade believed to be the president's finally left Hudson Street at Wilshire several minutes before 8 p.m. Fifteen minutes later, officers reopened the barricaded streets to traffic.

Authorities said police and Fire Department emergency responses were not affected by the traffic.

-- Maeve Reston in Hancock Park

Comments () | Archives (57)

Not only was this the worst planned traffic closure in history, but to even prevent pedestrians from crossing the street for two hours - one of the busiest streets (Olympic Blvd.) in the city, and during rush hour on one of the busiest days of the week - has got to set a record for stupidity. The money and goodwill the president will lose from this fundraiser will be 10-1 more than whatever he raised. I voted for him, but I'll vote for Sarah Palin just to send a message to Obama's advisers for this event. I am furious. A 20-minute trip home took me more than 2 hours. The police had no advance warning on the street closures. This whole event was so poorly planned -- it really says a lot about this administration.

How culpable is Mayor Villaraigosa in all this traffic gridlock with Obama? This is his city and he should have done something about it. But he screwed this up just like he has screwed everything else up.

This was disgraceful! It took me 2 hours to go 2 miles to my home in Hancock Park. There was NO prior notice and NO police directing traffic at gridlocked intersections. Shameful!

While it's understandable that the President needs his protection, it's unfortunate that they can't find a way of warning people ahead of time. I had to miss a business dinner, as I'm sure a lot of other people had to miss obligations, as well.

"Authorities said police and Fire Department emergency responses were not affected by the traffic."

Load of crap. I personally saw an ambulance unable to get through because of the gridlock.

I once worked in the 1972 campaign of George McGovern after returning from a tour in the jungle in Vietnam. Earlier, I'd worked in the presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy.

I say - impeach the bastard!

The peasants can wait so King Obama can enjoy his gala affair with the Hollywood elite! Quit your whining peasants! Long live the King!

Someone needs to start a ballot initiative to restrict state and local government from interfering with rush hour traffic for private presidential fundraising events. Would be something everyone would support!

You know, this is LA, everyone expects traffic. In another city, the two hours stuck on the road might be exceptional. Here it is the norm.. Sorry there it is, no one can get around anyway. If you made urgent plans or sent your wife out on the road in LA rush hour, you were dumb.. stop whining. I have been stuck in NYC for UN events for hours .. it happens...

We watched LAPD turn away an ambulance at the south side of Olympic on La Cienega. They were clearly trying to get to Cedars-Sinai, but were turned around. President Obama flew down Olympic 15 minutes later...

I wonder if it was a "Go Green" event....just image how much fuel and energy was wasted to raise money for the Donkeys.....

For all those people who say get over it you should expect that kind of traffic... I expected 2 hours I did not expect 4 hours. Second you know why the economy is screwed? The politicians are more concerned about raising money for their re-election then trying to create jobs for all the out of work Americans. It's a question of priority. The elites are entitled to close down commerce and business , and keep us hearded in stand still traffic. In fact I am sure a few people at the $20,000 a plate fund raiser giggled at the proles trapped in their evil gas guzzling cars. I am sure us poor working class were on the mind of all the elites as they enjoyed caviar and wine from some shmuck's vineyard in Sonoma.

Be thankful all you had to do was wait in traffic. Some family is in mourning because their love one can never miss a business meeting or be late getting home late again. Count your blessings and put your anger on time out and save your breathe for your last minutes before you leave this earth. Hopefully then you will appreciate waiting in traffic. Take time too smell the roses and enjoy the view.

I can't say exactly who was at fault concerning the heinous traffic jams that took place today but I will say someone was definitely negligent. Today was the first day I have ever gotten off of the bus and walked miles to my destination while most likely saving time. All I can say for certain is that if this is the cost of a visit from President Obama it is most certainly too high, it practically ground this city to a halt and if you ask me no mayor should stand for that.

It took me three hours to get home (Hollywood) from work in Santa Monica. Total misery. I can't believe there wasn't more advance warning about this.

It is absolutely disgraceful how the President, Pelosi, and Hollywood insiders completely infringed on every Angeleno's life. So much for the democrats and the party of the people.

My normal heavy traffic commute time is one hour for four miles. To say we expect traffic is one things, but to expect to travel less than one mile per hour is another thing. Someone didn't do their job here.

What day should we have our fundraiser? Weekday!
What time? Rush hour!
Where shall we have it? Smack in the middle of multiple major arteries!

I hope ET was at this fundraiser and donated 5,000,000 spacebucks.

2010 is coming then it's 2012 after that.

See you later Obama!

Can't he take a helicopter from LAX to CNN in Hollywood? Hancock Park is only a few blocks from there. Makes sense for him and those of us stuck in 2-3 hour traffic.

First you had Clinton...then W..and now Obama....

next time try Sarah Palin...she cant be worst of them...and ..at least...
she is really beautiful !!!!!
p.s.and she will ride a horse....

Get a grip people, it's ridiculous to base any opinion about a politician on a traffic jam. Have you lost all sense of reason and fair play.

All you people pissing and moaning about "prior notice" and such....GROW UP! Let's just broadcast to everyone, terrorists and the general public where the leader of the free world is going to be, what roads he going to take, etc. Jesus, get over it....

I left my office on Century Park East at SM Blvd. at 5:30. Spent the next hour sitting in a line of cars unable to leave the parking levels because the police had closed the vehicle exits from all the buildings on CPE from SM to Olympic. ONE HOUR they DETAINED untold thousands of people inside buildings to accommodate this abject failure of a President. If he still has a single supporter left in Century City, I'd be very surprised. This was absolutely inexcusable.

To all of you who are complaining about traffic jams, think about the people of Pakistan and what they are dealing with. Take a moment to realize that if the worst thing you have to complain about is that for one day you had to wait a little longer to get home, then you should be grateful. Be thankful you had a home to go to. We have become a country that has lost perspective about the larger picture of life and what is really important. Take your mind off of yourself sometimes and appreciate that we have a world where people are really suffering and things like sitting traffic become insignificant.

How come he didn't use a helicopter? I wonder if the people who planned this event also had a hand in Clinton shutting down LAX for a haircut.

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