Carmageddon: LAPD says no to parties, bike rides on 405
There's no way to plan for Carmageddon, the three-day shut down of one of the most vital stretches of freeway in Los Angeles, without having to field some unusual requests or address oddball contingencies.
Take the Facebook group that has proposed holding a block party on a Santa Monica Boulevard ramp to the 405, complete with beer and guitars.
There's also the enterprising marketers who asked CalTrans for permission to spray paint a bridge abutment with graffiti reading "The Apes Will Rise" to promote the new "Planet of the Apes" movie.
A group of bicyclists sought permission to ride down the steep inclines of freeway in the Sepulveda Pass during the weekend closure. But those ideas ultimately were nixed because of safety concerns.
"In planning for this closure, we gathered the best emergency around," said Cmdr. Andy Smith. "We tried to think of everything but some of these requests are beyond even what we had anticipated."
However unusual the circumstances of a major freeway closure, Smith said that the law still applies, no matter what. That means anyone who thinks it would be fun to have a impromtu block party worthy of a beer commercial or zip their bike or skateboard down the freeway should expect "a swift and certain police response."
The LAPD, DOT and firefighters will be flexible and ready for a host of different scenarios, even more dangerous possibilities such as a plane crash, earthquake or brush fire.
"Anyone who is looking to do something should think again," Smith said. "We'll have a lot of cops out there and they will be looking for something to do."
-- Andrew Blankstein
Photo: A sign advises of an onramp closure as part of the shutdown of part of the 405 Freeway for 53 hours beginning Friday. Credit: Getty Images