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Obama in L.A: Hope is High That Presidential Visit Won't Repeat Traffic Nightmare of August

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Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 6:46 PM

click to enlarge We hope traffic is not so bad.
  • We hope traffic is not so bad.
Updated after the jump: Obama jams up L.A. streets, inspires the Twitter hashtag #obamatraffic.

Obama's in L.A. today. And authorities are being pretty mum about exactly where his traffic-clogging entourage will be. Security reasons.

Really, we just want to know so we can be miles away.

What we do know is his schedule, so that at least can help you try to avoid the kind of presidential parking lot that marred his August trip the Westside.

We think this time will be better.

His trajectory will be south to north, starting at LAX at 2:30 p.m., heading to Sony Pictures Studios not far from the 405 at 4:30, and concluding after that at a private fundraiser even further north, again near the 405, in Brentwood.

(His August trip was an east-west nightmare, particularly along Olympic Boulevard, which was shut down and seemed to cut the city in half from the Westside to south of Hancock Park).

If we were to gamble on it, we'd say he's going to use Sepulveda Boulevard. That way authorities wouldn't have to shut down the 405. (Or they could use Sawtelle Boulevard -- our double-secret north-south route. That would be so stealth). But you never know.

Westside city Councilman Bill Rosendahl says White House officials hinted to him that the POTUS might travel by helicopter, which would be nice for all of us.

Our colleague Gene Maddaus talked to Culver City PD. They weren't saying much -- only that we should expect closures and traffic around Sony, which is centered near Washington Boulevard and Overland Avenue.

Metro is anticipating delays for bus riders in the area, too:

Please anticipate Westside area bus delays and detours. Detours will be updated as they go into effect. Buses will return to their normal route as soon as roads are reopened.

Rosendahl thinks it won't be the Obamalypse Now that happened last summer:

Officials are "giving me comfort -- we'll see -- that they're sensitive to our issues, and I'm hopeful," he said.

Update: The website Total Traffic Los Angeles says Obama is flying (via helicopter) from LAX to Sony studios, which would be nice for the rest of us.

From there, it says, he's taking a motorcade to Brentwood. The site reports that his Sony session has been put back to 5:30 instead of 4:30. So he'll be hitting the road right around traffic hour, looks like.

Update No. 2: The Beverly Hills Courier reports that the Beverly Hilton is off-limits and crawling with cops because the POTUS will be staying the night there.

KNX 1070 Newsradio, meanwhile, says the president took his Marine Corps 1 helicopter to the V.A. hospital in West L.A. after landing in LAX. It looks like he's headed to Culver City via city streets, and traffic in the Sawtelle area and parts of Santa Monica was slow this afternoon.

Added: Actually a White House pool reporter following the president says, via the Los Angeles Times, that Obama headed to the hotel first. That would explain all the traffic on the north Westside (Santa Monica Boulevard was reported to be particularly bad).

Way to freshen up, Mr. President.

Update #3: Obama has inspired the Twitter hashtag #obamatraffic:

Jane Choi tweets that "I moved 9 miles within the past 45 min thanks to #obamatraffic," and gives us this pic of her Mercedes' tripometer:

click to enlarge JANE H. CHOI VIA TWITPIC.
  • Jane H. Choi via Twitpic.

And Alex Blagg got big retweet action for this one:

I've been in #ObamaTraffic so long I'm starting to have some questions about where the president was really born.

Our favorite aspect of this story is how people appear to be following the letter of the law by tweeting and taking pictures ... while behind the wheel!

(Thanks for the 411, but be safe).

First posted at 6:01 a.m. on Thursday, April 21.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us. Follow us on Twitter, too: @dennisjromero.

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