Wary LA Braces for 'Carmageddon'

405 closure leads to crazy discounts, viral videos, possible flash mobs
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2011 7:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – LA residents are planning to flee or hunker down this weekend as a 10-mile stretch of the 405, one of the nation's busiest freeways, shuts down for 53 hours. For non-Angelenos: This is a big deal, hence the nicknames "Carmageddon" and "Carpocalypse." Some of the most amusing developments:

  • Some businesses are offering discounts to woo customers tempted to stay home, the Wall Street Journal reports. A pet photog who makes house calls will give you 20% off with her "4-0-fido" deal. A tattoo shop on a sure-to-be-clogged thoroughfare is offering 15% off. One restaurant will serve a $40.05 four-course meal; a bar is offering $5 Irish Car Bombs and Cadillac Margaritas.
  • JetBlue ran a "Fly Over the 405" special—$4 one-way tickets between Burbank and Long Beach, a 40-mile, 20-minute trip. That sold out in less than four hours, the Los Angeles Times notes, but you can still snag a $150 luxury helicopter ride over the traffic snarl, the WSJ adds.

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  • Best tweet? @latimestot quotes Jay Leno: "2 days til Carmageddon closes the 405 freeway & u wont be able to go anywhere. As opposed to when the 405 is open & u cant go anywhere."
  • In truth, the Los Angeles Times notes, the 405 has been under construction for centuries, and it traces its evolution dating back to a Spanish explorer who rode through in 1769.
  • Is there mayhem in the works? The LA Weekly seems to think so. One "after-hours bicycle mob" may be planning a "4PACOLYPSE" ride on the empty freeway, while officials are also worried about skateboarders. And one group says it's filming a "top secret" flash mob publicity stunt.
That's not all: Watch two of the best viral videos, in the gallery. (Read more Carmageddon stories.)

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