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Carmageddon: Motorists ditch cars, hop aboard trains

July 16, 2011 |  3:43 pm

Click for more photos of the 405 Freeway closure

With 10 miles of the 405 Freeway closed for "Carmageddon," a number of seasoned motorists decided to take their first train rides Saturday.

Kristen Cortez, a 24-year-old law student from the mid-Wilshire area, usually drives to visit her parents in Santa Barbara but decided a week ago to catch a train from downtown Los Angeles' Union Station. When she woke up this morning, the freeways were clear. But she decided not to take any chances.

PHOTOS: 'Carmageddon' closes the 405 Freeway

"I just didn't want to have to worry," she said. "You never know what's going to happen on Sunday."

Cortez miscalculated how long it would take to get to the station and didn't know where to park. So she missed her 12.30 p.m, train and plopped into a chair under the station's cathedral ceiling to wait for one at 3 pm.

"Even with this trouble, I know it could be so much worse," she said.

Beverly and Dale Richardson of Peoria, Ill., had no idea what they were getting into when they arrived several days ago for scuba diving training on Santa Catalina Island. The couple had SuperShuttle pick them up from San Pedro at 11 a.m. to catch a 5.45 p.m. train. They arrived at Union Station at noon.

"We would rather be way, way early than too late," said Beverly Richardson, who works in security.

The couple spent the time getting to know their fellow passengers, taking some pride in surviving "Carmageddon."

"We've been there, done that and got the T-shirt," said Dale Richardson, an industrial mechanic.


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-- Garrett Therolf at Union Station

Photo: Union Station. Credit: Garrett Therolf / Los Angeles Times