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In the Carmageddon drama, L.A. drivers had to know their roles

For officials handling the 405 Freeway closure, a major issue was how to inform the public about the ordeal ahead.

July 16, 2011|By Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times

"Carmageddon" entered the local lexicon. The word had been the name of a video game, but when applied to the closure, it stuck. Google "Carmageddon 405" today and more than 2.5 million results appear — and the number is steadily increasing.

The MTA said it spent $100,000 in advertising to announce the shutdown in print and radio and on websites. In addition, the news was carried in email blasts, newsletters, social media sites, celebrity tweets and message signs on city streets and freeways.

One organization has been tweeting for 10 days a list of 45 "fun and iconic things to do in Los Angeles … without a car." A website has offered "53 ways to survive without the 405," and in Santa Monica, a "Host a Farmer" program asked residents to house farmers to make sure they make it to the Saturday and Sunday markets.

If reaction to the closure has seemed at times hyperbolic, the slogan was intended to rein in the drama. For a city that often imagines the worse for itself in its movies and books, the closure is an appeal to civic responsibility.

"We live together. We are a society," Failing said. "We do not live as isolationists on our own little island."

thomas.curwen@latimes.com

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