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Carmageddon? Carma-Stop It!

405 Freeway
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images
405 Freeway

Carmageddon.

Ay Car-umba.

Carpocalyse.

Auto Asphyxiation.

I can't take it anymore. Los Angeles is on 24/7 Carmageddon alert. The closure of the 405 freeway for 53 hours this weekend to create a carpool lane and make an overpass earthquake safe is the most publicized event in La-la land since they discovered Botox isn't just for muscle spasms.

The state tells me the shutdown will displace 500,000 cars that usually travel that stretch of road on an average weekend, cars that may end up clogging other freeways and side streets—which are already clogged during the summer.

The John and Ken show on KFI radiopulled out a phone book and started cold calling locals to find someone, anyone, who did not know about the freeway closure.

After several calls, they found one person. Rita. Who doesn't drive.

Everyone's trying to cash in with discounted tattoos, free GPS apps, special Carmageddon drinks (not sure what a drink called "The Irish Car Bomb" has to do with the freeway shutdown).

And so, we wait for The Day the 405 Stood Still. Which is normal even when it's open.

We've talked to just about everybody about their plans. Lucia Singer is not only leaving town, she's leaving the country. "I'm stressed out enough about traffic," she says. Stephanie Howard spent an entire day online trying to figure out how to get around Carmageddon for a flight out of LAX Sunday.

If only Los Angeles was this prepared for an earthquake. If only we'd shown this much concern over our nonsensical home values five years ago.

"I'm stressed," Stephanie Howard says with a smile, "but no one died."

Yet.

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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