Out of LA’s Freeway Closure Comes A Pleasant, Local Weekend

July 17, 2011, Washington, DC: Construction on Los Angeles’ 405 is now complete, and despite the hype, residents didn’t have a meltdown without access to the freeway. But doesn’t the real Carmeggedon resume during tomorrow morning’s rush hour? Isn’t the real problem that an entire city of commuters is returning to business as usual, cruising along overly dependent on their cars, happy that life is back to normal?
The closure of the 405 may have brought about the most sane weekend in decades for the people of Los Angeles. But what next? Are they breathing a sigh of relief that the weekend’s over or will they change their habits and pull off the freeway?
In good news, there are people in LA who reportedly enjoyed the past 48 hours. Perhaps some are reconsidering their lifestyle and remembering how much fun it was to walk, bike, explore the neighborhood, take public transit, save gas. Is it wishful thinking to think the freeway closure may have reminded a handful of them what their lives were like before they spent hours a day stuck in traffic — and maybe even reminded them that the old days weren’t so bad?
How can we change our habits on days when our 405s are open? How can people who live in cities seeped in car culture become less reliant on their vehicles? Thanks goes to cyclists in Los Angeles for proving the answer is not $4 jetpools between Burbank and Long Beach.

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