Carmageddon: No trouble getting to LAX, travelers say
As Angelenos braced themselves for a potential "Carmageddon" traffic nightmare this weekend as the 405 Freeway closed for construction, travelers at Los Angeles International Airport said Saturday morning said that although they had prepared for the worst, they had not been delayed by the shutdown.
Vakisha Coleman, who was set to catch an 8:50 a.m. flight to Hawaii, said she and a friend were ready to leave Encino at 4:30 a.m. to avoid "Carmageddon," but after checking the news and seeing no reports of major problems, didn't end up leaving until 6 a.m.
That's still about 45 minutes earlier than she typically would have left, Coleman said, but she ran into no trouble on her route. Coleman said she took the 101 Freeway to Sepulveda Boulevard, where she exited, and then moved to the 405 when southbound ramps were available to enter again.
"It was a breeze," Coleman said of her 30-minute drive.
Bakersfield residents John and Lois O'Leary stayed at the Courtyard Los Angeles LAX/Century Boulevard Friday night to make sure they wouldn't miss their 8:50 a.m. flight to Hawaii. They paid $120 for a room and were able to catch a shuttle from the hotel to the airport Saturday morning.
"We didn't want to chance it," Lois O'Leary said.
Officials had also cautioned travelers taking the LAX FlyAway buses from Van Nuys and Westwood to take the closure into consideration when making their travel arrangements, and advised passengers to begin their trips to the airport at least one to two hours earlier than usual. However, a bus that arrived from Van Nuys just before 8 a.m. took less than an hour to make the trip after making a few detours, its driver said.
"It was good," said Nancy Kung, who took the bus from Northridge to the airport for a noon flight to Canada. "It only took 45 minutes."
Though early reports indicated construction was running smoothly and no traffic snarl-ups had occurred, some said they were still wary of what might happen on L.A.'s freeways Saturday afternoon.
Allison English of Santa Monica had no trouble bringing her husband, Robert, to LAX Saturday morning for his 8:50 a.m. flight to Nashville — they left their home at 5:35 a.m. and got to LAX's Parking Lot C 20 minutes later by taking the 10 and 405 freeways — but said she had canceled plans to attend an afternoon event in Echo Park because of potential traffic problems.
"I don't want to risk it," she said.
-- Jane Engle at LAX
Photo: Passengers check in at Southwest Airlines Terminal 1 at LAX just before 6 a.m. Saturday. Many said they were unaffected by the 405 Freeway closure, despite their initial concerns. Credit: Jane Engle / Los Angeles Times