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Obama's helicopter prevents L.A. gridlock

The president flies to and from a campaign rally at USC.

October 23, 2010|By Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times

The traffic nightmare feared by commuters failed to develop Friday as President Obama mostly used a helicopter to crisscross Los Angeles.

"There are no major delays. Everything has been A-OK," Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Richard French said. The California Highway Patrol also reported no unusual tie-ups on area freeways.

That was a relief to Angelenos and to Democrats who did not want a repeat of the anti-Obama hostility caused by traffic jams in August, when his motorcade shut down roadways for hours. By helicoptering on Marine One from LAX to USC and later to Burbank, Obama did not affect any freeways.

USC officials estimated that 37,500 people attended the rally, many of them getting there by mass transit.

Temporary closures affected parts of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Vermont Avenue, Exposition Boulevard and Figueroa Street until about 3 p.m. Some bus lines were rerouted.

After the rally, the president took a helicopter to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, then drove to Glendale to tape an interview, which will air Monday, at a Spanish-language radio station.

CHP spokeswoman Krystal Carter said there were no complaints of traffic delays. Any closures were "only momentarily to whisk him through to his location," she said.

larry.gordon@latimes.com

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