July 13, 2011
The air traveler’s guide to Carmageddon
Traffic on the 405 Freeway around Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) can be a nightmare. But on the weekend of July 15-18 it is expected to be even worse, in part because more airport shuttles and buses than normal will be on the road in an effort to get travelers to and from LAX on time.
“Plan ahead is the key word,” said Harold Johnson, an airport spokesman.
During the 405’s 53-hour shutdown, traffic between Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley will turn to other arteries, including the 101, 5, 210 and 110 freeways, the canyon routes and Pacific Coast Highway. This is expected to create long delays on such detours.
LAX has posted a “405 Freeway Alert” to its Web site, lawa.org, and plans to notify arriving passengers of the closure by hanging informational posters around the airport.
Among the 50,000 international passengers traveling through LAX’s Bradley Terminal on Sunday, July 17, will be 250 from Israel, who might not be aware of the freeway closure.
Liora Avrahami, West Coast regional manager for El Al, said only one flight will arrive from Tel Aviv during Carmageddon, because the airline doesn’t fly on Shabbat.
Upon learning of the freeway closure in early June, Avrahami said El Al contacted travel agents with the news, but not its passengers.
However, those arriving from Israel will find plenty of transportation services available at the airport.
The Van Nuys FlyAway, which ferries passengers between the Valley and LAX, will operate throughout the weekend. To ensure correct departure times, Johnson said, the FlyAway is increasing the number of buses available that weekend.
“Extra buses will be available so that the buses will leave the terminals when expected,” he said.
The buses, which usually travel along the 405, will use the 101, among other detours, Johnson said.
Airport shuttle services are also preparing for the closure.
Bobby Gilson, marketing manager at Prime Time Shuttle, said their dispatchers are adding one to two hours to pick-up time estimates for that weekend.
And while the drivers will rely on GPS systems to navigate traffic, Gilson is hopeful that Angelenos will make their job easier by avoiding the freeways altogether.
“We’re hoping for less drivers on the road,” Gilson said.
For those who would prefer to avoid the freeways altogether that weekend, Johnson suggests turning to public transportation.
“Consider a Metro Rail alternative,” Johnson said, referring to the Metro’s Green Line, which has an Aviation Boulevard/LAX station.