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405 Freeway shutdown: Two words of advice — surface streets

Op-Ed

As 'Carmageddon' nears, those who know L.A. well know that freeways lie. Only surface streets will get motorists to their destinations on time.

July 10, 2011|By Rob Long

The freeways — all of them, not just the 405 — are a lie that we tell ourselves every day: Twenty minutes door to door; it's just over the hill. Every day we approach the onramp with high expectations and hearts full of hope, and every day the 405 betrays us with unexplained delays and an unpredictable rush hour. Now, finally, we'll know the truth: Freeways lie. Only surface streets tell the truth.

And now they're making the 405 bigger. Show of hands: Who thinks this will make it easier to get to Century City?

Last weekend, my friend called up his dad and suggested that they climb back up to the old spot to watch the freeway stop.

"What are we going to see?" his father asked.

"Nothing," my friend said.

"I'm in," his father said. And so this coming weekend, the two Brentwood boys and their father will head to the western side of the Sepulveda Pass and stare at an empty ribbon of freeway asphalt and, probably, think about the intervening 50 years with a mixture of regret and joy and exhaustion.

That is, if they can get there. I hear the traffic is going to be miserable. They should take the fire road. Someone will have busted open the gate by then.

Rob Long, a writer and television producer in Hollywood, is a contributing editor to Opinion. His weekly commentary, "Martini Shot," airs on KCRW-FM (89.9).

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