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Carmageddon: Angelenos continue to prep for potential traffic problems

July 16, 2011 |  1:31 pm

Click for more photos of the 405 Freeway closure
 As Southland residents prepared for doomsday "Carmageddon" traffic, many made elaborate travel arrangements to ensure their weekend plans went ahead as scheduled.

Santa Clarita resident Carole Randolph didn't want to forsake the box season tickets she and her husband Jim have for the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday because of Carmageddon.

PHOTOS: "Carmageddon" closes the 405 Freeway

They were looking forward to hearing the L.A. Philharmonic’s performance of Puccini’s "Turandot" with conductor Gustavo Dudamel, and really want to attend the concert.

So on Saturday, the Randolphs were trying to decide whether to tough it out on the freeway, or take public transportation -- a mode of travel they rarely use.

“The thing I dread most is the possibility of getting in gridlock, getting on the road but not being able to get there,” said Carole Randolph, an orthodontist in Santa Clarita. “I’m concerned about getting stuck.”

Friends who live in Bel-Air, between Sunset Boulevard and Mulholland Drive, were going to accompany the Randolphs to the concert, but they have backed out.

Randolph said she and her husband were contemplating taking Metrolink from Santa Clarita into downtown Union Station, then jumping on the Metro Red Line out to the Hollywood Bowl.

But the couple rarely uses public transportation and was unsure whether trains would run late enough to get them home after the concert.

After some consideration, it was becoming more likely that the Randolphs would take to the freeways on Sunday and simply allow ample time to reach the Hollywood Bowl in time for the start of the concert at 7:30 p.m.

“We’ll head for Hollywood at 1 p.m., and maybe poke around in some shops,” Randolph said. Leaving home later would run the risk of making them late, or not getting them there at all.

Meanwhile, it took Brian Bailey and his girlfriend Justine Thompson about three hours to drive from the Antelope Valley to La Jolla in the wee hours of Saturday morning. They divided the journey in half.

They set out from Bailey’s home in Rosamond at 12:15 a.m. Saturday, and after driving 119 miles stopped for a couple of hours at a Motel 6 in Menifee. They resumed the remaining 69 miles of their trip at 6:20 a.m., arriving at their destination at about 7:45 a.m.

In an effort to avoid the 5 Freeway, presuming it was more likely to be clogged, the pair opted to take Interstate 15 to Interstate 215. Their strategy paid off.

Thompson didn’t have a choice but to travel to La Jolla this weekend. She had to take a class at 8 a.m. on Saturday at UC San Diego to get some extra credentials to continue working as a teacher. The course she needed to take was only being offered this weekend.

Bailey and Thompson planned to spend the night in San Diego on Saturday and head back to the Antelope Valley on Sunday evening. 

Bailey said he wasn’t worried about the prospective drive, saying the multiple warnings about Carmageddon would likely keep people off the freeway this weekend unless they absolutely had to drive.

“I think they’ve given so much information to people … it can have the reverse effect,” said Bailey, 31, an intern in the communications office at Lancaster City Hall. “I’m not really dreading it. We like to drive. We travel a lot. Almost every weekend we drive somewhere.”

As a reward for braving the roads, Bailey said he and Thompson planned to treat themselves in San Diego on Sunday afternoon before hitting the road for the Antelope Valley. They will rent Jet Skis and take an adventure tour of Mission Bay, Bailey said.

And if they get stuck in traffic en route home, they wouldn’t sweat it, Bailey said. Instead, he would think of the pending benefits of the freeway closure.

“I’ve been stuck in traffic on the 405, so if they’re bettering the 405 that’s great,” Bailey said.

RELATED:

Don't 'get complacent' after smooth morning, officials say

Carmageddon: Arrest order issued after cyclists, jogger get on 405

Full coverage: All you need to know about the 405 shutdown

-- Ann M. Simmons in Santa Clarita

Photo: The view south of an empty 405 Freeway as construction crews demolish the Mulholland Drive bridge. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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