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Obama's visit slows some L.A. traffic to a crawl

But despite dire predictions, the president's Southland fundraising swing doesn't affect traffic as much as his trip last summer did, authorities say. He's expected to leave the city Friday morning.

April 22, 2011|By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
  • Protesters march outside Sony Picture Studios in Culver City.
Protesters march outside Sony Picture Studios in Culver City. (Gabriel Bouys, AFP/Getty…)

Traffic in some parts of the Westside slowed to a crawl Thursday afternoon and evening as President Obama arrived at LAX, made his way to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, then on to Culver City and Brentwood for a fundraising swing through town.

But despite dire predictions, traffic was not what it was last summer, when Obama's visit closed streets from downtown L.A. to the Westside, turning 45-minute commutes into three-hour ordeals.

Officer Robert Casey of the Los Angeles Police Department said officials had a better plan this time. "It's not too bad," he said Thursday night. "Traffic is flowing pretty well."

Some people used Twitter to complain as police closed streets along the president's route. A user who goes by @kelsrude tweeted: "Obama madness already in Brentwood … all roads closed around Barrington shops. Sunset a mess," and included a photo of jammed cars.

Others in the Twitter world said traffic wasn't too bad.

Jillian Hunter tweeted about 8 p.m. that it took her just 45 minutes to get from Beverly Hills to her Venice home. Some reported that traffic was light on the westbound 10 Freeway and almost nonexistent on the 405 Freeway, north of the 10.

Lt. Allen Azran of the Culver City Police Department said streets that were closed for the motorcade reopened within 10 minutes, with no traffic issues.

Earlier, several exits off the 405 Freeway were closed as the motorcade made its way along surface streets. Olympic Boulevard remained open, but there were reports of bumper-to-bumper conditions with motorists honking, yelling through windows and violating traffic rules in an effort to get around the mess.

After spending the night in the Southland, the president is expected to fly out of Los Angeles International Airport on Friday morning.

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

Times staff writers Andrew Blankstein and Maeve Reston and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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