Crowds line up for Obama at USC; after the rally, president to tape interview in Glendale [Updated]
As hundreds of people started lining up Friday morning at USC for President Obama's rally for Sen. Barbara Boxer, streets around downtown L.A. and the campus were about to be closed and bus lines detoured.
The White House also announced that Obama will be visiting a Glendale television studio for an interview after the USC rally Friday afternoon but that it would not involve any public event.
The Los Angeles road closures are expected to begin around 9 a.m., and officials are warning of significant delays. Several South L.A. thoroughfares will be closed for more than six hours in the afternoon and during rush hour.
They also will be closed from 9:30 to 11:25 a.m., although some cars and pedestrians will be screened and allowed in, LAPD officials said.
Anyone traveling "in and around the USC campus" should expect delays and are encouraged to "plan another route if possible," LAPD officials said in a statement.
[Updated at 10:07 a.m.: Several thousand people were lined up behind metal barricades on the USC campus. Sandy McKenna, a 42-year-old graduate student in social work, said she normally drives from her home in Orange.
On Friday, though, she and a classmate took a train to Union Station and a shuttle bus to the campus.
"We didn't want to get stuck in any traffic," she said, adding she'd figure out later how to get home.
Phebe Jackson, a retired sanitation technician who attended Obama’s inauguration in Washington, said relatives drove her to USC from her home in Diamond Bar. They found no extra problems on the road, she said.
"It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, no more than a normal weekday commute," she said.]
Glendale police said Friday morning that they anticipate a temporary road closure along Central Avenue near the 134 Freeway, where the Univision facility is located, but CHP said no freeway would be shut for more than a couple of minutes as the presidential motorcade moves through.
Obama is scheduled to arrive in Glendale at 3:25 p.m., leave at 4:05 p.m. and then depart directly for LAX to leave the Los Angeles area.
Early Friday morning, Los Angeles police said there were no major traffic problems other than slowing because of the rain. But they were bracing for snarls.
The closures will affect Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Figueroa Street and Vermont Avenue; Vermont between Martin Luther King Jr. and Exposition Boulevard; Figueroa between Martin Luther King Jr. and 39th Street; and Exposition Boulevard between Vermont and Figueroa.
According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, several bus lines will be affected.
The most likely to be detoured will be the 40, 42 and 740 on Martin Luther King, the 102 and 550 on Exposition, the 204 and 754 on Vermont and the 81 on Figueroa, the MTA said.
White House Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki was quoted by City News Service as saying officials there were trying to reduce the effect on traffic during Obama's visits after much criticism over traffic jams when he last visited L.A.
"Presidential travel is more complicated with more pieces than most people are aware of,'' she said. "We certainly do everything we can to minimize any negative impact it could have to any community. Our hope is always we can keep any disruption to a minimum.''
-- Larry Gordon at USC
Photo: Hundreds of people line up several hours before President Obama's rally at USC. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times