Carmageddon Walk

Saturday, July 16th, I did not do a stair walk but opted instead to join a group of urban walkers for a Carmageddon walk, from Sherman Oaks to the Mulholland Bridge and back.  This is the first time the 405 freeway from 101 to the 10 freeways has been shut down and we wanted to see this historical event.  Additional traffic enforcement officers were positioned all over Sherman Oaks and other cities where gridlock was anticipated due to the 405 closure.  Traffic was lighter than usual and there was no traffic to direct. The officers I saw were standing and waiting to be called into action. Los Angelinos were definitely prepared and Carmageddon went off without a hitch.

Our first stop was Skirball Drive, where we were able to see the work being done to the Mulholland Bridge.  The overpass was open to foot traffic, work vehicles and news vehicles.  We walked to the east side of the 405 and up closer to get a better view of Mulholland Bridge, which is being lengthened and widened.  The 405 freeway was empty except for road equipment, worker vehicles and police cars.  We saw some regular cars turning right from Skirball Drive onto the 405 South.  We were told that the 405 South had one lane open but you had to drive at 35 mph.  No one was told this so I’m not sure how these drivers knew about the one lane being open.  There were several news outlets positioned alongside the 405 to capture the latest happenings.  Some people were being interviewed, including me.  I told the reporter I would like to see the freeway shut down more often, so people will think about taking alternative transportation, riding their bicycle or walking. I would like to see people becoming less dependent on their cars.  Later that night on the news, it was reported that Tom Hanks tweeted he’d like to see the freeway shut down more often.   I’m glad Tom Hanks and I think alike.

I was surprised at the odd things found along the freeway.  We saw a roll of toilet paper, a pair of underwear, 2 tomato plants, and a lot of those plastic dental flosses. Why someone would discard their flosser onto the ground instead of just shoving it into their pocket or keeping it until they could throw it in the trash is mind boggling to me. Why do people need to litter? One of the walkers also found a lot of coins.  It seems every few yards she’d find some money on the ground.  She told me she always finds money on the ground. Normally, you wouldn’t think of people walking along this stretch of Sepulveda because there is nothing there–no stores, no restaurants, no Starbucks.  But then again, I don’t think people throw coins out the car window.

From Skirball Drive, the group decided to walk up to Sunset Blvd. and take the bus back instead of turning around and walking back to Sherman Oaks.  It would have been the same distance to walk another 3 1/2 miles back or 3 1/2 miles up to Sunset.  Also, this weekend, the metro was offering free rides on the busses and subways so why not take advantage of it? The walk seemed longer than I anticipated, so I said good-by to the group and waited for the bus at the first bus stop I came to, which was across from the Getty Center.  The others continued on for another mile onto Sunset.   After 6 ½ miles, I was ready to ride in the air conditioned bus back to Sherman Oaks.

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