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

August 16, 2010 |  8:56 pm

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