Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Carmageddon" is Upon Us? Them?

" 'Carmageddon': Los Angeles Freeway Shuts Down"
Associated Press, via (July 16, 2011)

"A 10-mile stretch of one of the nation's busiest freeways has turned into a virtual ghost road.

"Ramps to the normally clogged Interstate 405 began shutting down Friday evening before the entire roadway was closed at midnight, setting the stage for a 53-hour construction project that will test whether this car-dependent city can change its driving habits for a weekend.

"For weeks, authorities have urged residents to avoid getting in their car, lest they trigger what's been hyped as 'Carmageddon.'..."

The Lemming could get sarcastic at this point, about those panicky people in Los Angeles, or those crazy citizens of California, or those addled Americans. One problem with that attitude: the 'Carmageddon is upon us!!' mindset isn't limited to the west coast, or America. Remember this classic?
"...the center cannot hold;
mere anarchy is loosed upon the world....

Although it makes sense to think about the effects some change - like maintenance on a major highway - will have, the Lemming thinks there's something about at least a few folks that thrives on assuming the worst. And then assuming that the worst is inevitable.

The secular versions of that sort of thing have been the coming ice age, global warming, and fearing fluoridated water. American doomsayers with a taste for religion have their own traditions: which the Lemming's discussed in another blog.

'Carmageddon?' Probably Not

There's a little fact behind fears of the coming "Carmageddon:"

"...Such an event could back up vehicles from the 405 -- locals like to joke that its name is shorthand for 'traffic that moves no faster than 4 or 5 miles an hour' -- to surface streets and other freeways, causing a domino effect that could paralyze much of Los Angeles.

"With warnings having been broadcast through television, radio, social media and flashing freeway signs as far away as San Francisco, much of the city's nearly 4 million residents appear ready to stay off the roads...."
(Associated Press, via

The Lemming thinks that "Carmageddon" will fizzle. Here in Minnesota, it's a little unusual to have a summer without a few highways blocked for repairs. It's like the old gag. 'Minnesota has four seasons: fall, winter, spring, and road repair.'

But Minnesota isn't California. Maybe there really will be a "Carmageddon." Los Angeles is full of city folks - and that's another attitude.

Not-entirely-unrelated posts:


Brigid said...

Why is there a quotation mark at the end of this line?

Not-entirely-unrelated posts"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


That's what professional writers call a "typo." Fixed, and thanks!

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