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Obama arrives in L.A.; traffic problems coming to parts of Westside

April 21, 2011 |  2:39 pm


President Obama arrived at LAX Thursday afternoon for a fund-raising sweep that is expected to cause traffic problems across the Westside.

Parts of Brentwood are expected to be particularly hard hit, with parking restrictions and some closures of major streets expected. A large police presence was already building in Brentwood Village, where some streets are already closed.

Air Force One landed about 2:30 p.m. Obama will spend some time at a fund-raiser at the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City. He is scheduled to dine at Tavern restaurant in Brentwood. It's unclear where he will spend the night, but the president is scheduled to depart from LAX about 9 a.m. Friday, at the heart of the morning commute.

L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl urged Westside residents to plan activities at home during the time the president will be moving around or face “putting yourself into potential gridlock.”

Obama's visit to L.A. last summer closed numerous streets from downtown L.A. through the Westside, turning 45-minute commutes into three-hour ordeals. In his next visit in the fall, he used a helicopter for some stops, and the traffic situation improved.

Obama will use a helicopter for a portion of this visit.

Rosendahl said that after the traffic nightmare last summer, he talked to White House officials and urged them to use a helicopter, which they ultimately did. He said the president’s advance team gave “encouraging signs that they appreciated that situation on the Westside.”

While there will be some hard closures and parking bans on designated streets, efforts would be made to quickly reopen them after the president’s motorcade passes by, he said.

“The president's security will be directly related to the president’s movements and his security needs and will not be arbitrarily based. There will be flexibility,” Rosendahl said. “Frankly there wasn’t in that visit to Hancock Park. I'm hoping [this time] there will be a balance between the president’s security needs and the Westside constituents’ sensibility toward gridlock.”


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-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Air Force One, with President Barack Obama aboard, flies over the Nugget Casino in Sparks, Nev., en route to Los Angeles International Airport. Credit: Scott Sady / Associated Press