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Carmageddon success has some hoping L.A. will ditch cars more often

July 18, 2011|By The Los Angeles Times

The success of "Carmageddon" has given way to a political and lifestyle question: If L.A. residents can cut their driving for one weekend, why can't they drive less the rest of the time?

The closure of the 405 Freeway over the Sepulveda Pass came with the threat of epic gridlock -- but the exact opposite happened. Streets and freeways were clear. Caltrans statistics show there were significantly fewer cars on some freeways and significantly less traffic, even in areas far from the 405.

The outcome has Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other politicians suggesting the city try to build on the success and encourage people to stick close to home and stay out of their cars more often.

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“You can suddenly hear people talking. You hear kids playing,” said county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. “People discovered something about themselves and Los Angeles auto culture that shocked them. Why can’t we take some chunk of L.A. and shut it down to traffic on certain days or weekends, as they do in Italy?”

Some mass-transportation advocates went further, saying Carmageddon showed the need for less freeway expansion –- like the $1 billion project that closed the 405 –- and more investment in rail and bus service. L.A. NOW

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