Only in Los Angeles would they compare a freeway closure to the end of the world. Neighborhoods and businesses are banding together for the upcoming two-day closure of the 405 Freeway, otherwise known as Carmageddon.
The warnings from city and county officials began weeks ago -- a major weekend closure is planned for the 405 Freeway this summer.
The message might be getting across, but some business community leaders on the Westside think an important detail might be getting lost in the anticipation of what's become known as "Carmageddon."
"In Brentwood Village, in particular, we've seen about a 40-percent drop in traffic," said Jay Handal, chair of the West LA Neighborhood Council and owner of San Gennaro restaurant. "All they hear is, 'The 405 will be closed on the weekend.' They don't hear that it's the 15, 16, 17 of July."
Just so we're clear: The 405 will be closed between the 101 and 10 freeways, starting July 15. The road will reopen the following Monday. Details, tweets, alternates, updates available here.
"What are our elected officials thinking?" Handal asked. "Let's scare everybody out of town and make sure nobody in the area does business."
From the mayor: "Plan ahead. Avoid the area. Or, stay home."
From Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky: "Stay the heck outta here."
Yaroslavky also has a feature on his website: 53 Ways to Survive Without the 405. It includes suggestions like tear out your lawn and replace it with native plants, plan your next vacation, shop online and play board games.
As for Handal, he plans to stay open and offer free delivery.
Manny Ghaffari plans to keep his pizzeria open, too. His restaurant is located on Sepulveda Boulevard near the 405 Freeway entrance ramp.
"It's only two days. It's not the end of the world," he said. "Why should I close down? I have my neighbors. They need me."
Ghaffari said he plans to be "very busy" during that weekend because people might not leave the neighborhood.