Carmageddon in Los Angeles: So what was the big deal anyway?

Carmageddon – warnings about traffic mayhem when Los Angeles had to close I-405 for a weekend – turns out to have been not such a big deal. Most Angelenos just stayed home.

Reed Saxon/AP
A bicyclist passes an onramp to southbound Interstate 405, which has reopened to motor vehicles but is closed to skateboarders and the like, as the demolition of two lanes of the Mulholland Bridge in Los Angeles is completed just after sunrise Sunday.

Carmageddon – those warnings about traffic mayhem when Los Angeles had to close I-405 for a weekend – turns out to have been not such a big deal after all.

Angelenos did not stay gridlocked in smog-induced stupors, trapped in their cars, and madly BlackBerrying their agents ideas for a new screenplay based on the experience. (I’m thinking Scarlett Johansson in a BMW convertible meets cute with Tom Cruise on his motorcycle.)

Instead, they stayed home, or took the bus or one of JetBlue’s special $5 short hops from Burbank in the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach.

Carmageddon? Please! Four of the world's worst traffic jams.

"It's been one of the most quiet Saturdays I've seen in forever," Steven Ramada told the Associated Press. He’d expected to hear cars honking in front of his Sherman Oaks home but instead only heard news helicopters.

Including the time it took for JetBlue passengers to drive to the airport, a group of bikers actually beat the flight from Burbank to Long Beach by an hour.

"We want to show that using a bike in L.A. is not only possible but that it can be faster than other modes of transportation," cyclist Stephan Andranian told the AP.

Meanwhile, things went so well with the bridge demolition requiring the freeway closure that officials said Sunday they’d be opening I-405 earlier than planned.

"Everything went per textbook," Caltrans district director Mike Miles told the Los Angeles Times. "The first thing we'll be opening up will be the off-ramps, then the main freeway, and then the on-ramps."

As the weekend event unwound, Hollywood notables around L.A. weighed in – via Twitter, naturally.

Wrote comedian Bill Maher: "How's everyone coping with this terrifying apocalyptic nightmare of having to ... oh my god ... stay home with your family?!!!"

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.