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Weekend events could jam traffic in Anaheim area

With opening of Disneyland's Cars Land, an Angels series at home and concerts in Anaheim, Orange County transit officials are preparing for severe congestion.

June 15, 2012|By Christine Mai-Duc, Los Angeles Times
  • The town of Radiator Springs will come to life in Cars Land with the feel and look of Route 66 when Disneyland's Cars Land opens Friday. The grand opening coincides with an Angels baseball game and concerts all weekend, forcing Orange County residents to brace themselves for increased traffic.
The town of Radiator Springs will come to life in Cars Land with the feel and… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

Carmageddon may have been an L.A. moment, as was last month's spin-off Sportsageddon, when the Kings, Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers all played at home the same weekend.

But Orange County residents could get a taste of their own traffic nightmare this weekend with the opening of Disneyland's new Cars Land attraction, the Angels playing at home, concerts at the nearby Honda Center and the Grove of Anaheim, and a series of events at the Convention Center — all mashed into the same Anaheim neighborhood.

Transit officials said they only learned about the convergence of events earlier this week, and are scrambling to get information out to commuters on potential delays, alternate routes and Metrolink schedules.

"With all these different events happening all weekend long, and with their tight proximity to each other, there are going to be impacts," said Ted Nguyen, a spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority.

Nguyen said that anyone traveling to Anaheim for those events should plan ahead and leave plenty of time to get there. "People understand that they're living in Southern California, and traffic is always an issue," Nguyen said.

The transportation authority is urging residents to use public transit to avoid the heavy traffic expected on the 5, 57 and 91 freeways in the Anaheim area.

Special Angels Express train service from Laguna Niguel and Union Station to Anaheim Station will be offered Friday evening for the baseball game, but beyond that, no additional trains or buses are scheduled to run.

Cars Land, a 12-acre attraction at Disney's California Adventure theme park, is set to open Friday at 9 a.m., and park officials have already hired traffic control officers from the city and freed up additional parking in anticipation of the extra park-goers.

In addition to the grand opening, Disneyland officials expect a number of Southern California pass-holders to flood the park during the next two Sundays — the last two days to check out the brand-new feature before summer blackout days kick in.

"We expect it to be very popular," said Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown. "We know that in Southern California and particularly in Orange County, we have a lot of annual pass-holders … who have been anticipating this for five years, just like we have."

Just a few miles away, the Angels are facing games with the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And concerts all weekend at The Grove of Anaheim and Honda Center promise to add to the traffic.

City officials said they're no strangers to juggling a full events calendar.

"We are adept at handling these types of occurrences and the city having events nearly at the same time," said Anaheim police spokesman Sgt. Bob Dunn, who says the various venues and agencies are coordinating efforts. "We're excited to have everybody."

christine.maiduc@latimes.com

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