Jul 30, 2014
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Santa Monica Bracing for 'Carmageddon'

The city's response to the 405 freeway closure includes Santa Monica's Buy Local Program and emergency preparedness.

Santa Monica Bracing for 'Carmageddon'

"Carmageddon" is coming, but fortunately for Santa Monicans, there will be extra incentives to stay—and buy—local during . In fact, the city's Buy Local program is proving to be a model for similar efforts in other Los Angeles areas during the .

(Go  here for a massive list of “Carmageddon” discounts that will be offered in Santa Monica stores and restaurants on the weekend of July 16-17, as well as the surrounding days.)

The Buy Local Santa Monica program that was started by representatives of Santa Monica’s business community and the city is a great example of how people can approach the closure, Metro spokesman David Sotero recently told Patch. For those not working during the construction period, it will be a “great time ... to stay local and rediscover their own neighborhoods,” Sotero said.

For those who do have to work during the closure, planning ahead is key, Sotero said. Checking into a hotel near one’s place of employment or finding friends and relatives with whom to stay, for example, might help lessen the impact of the massive shutdown.

Santa Monica city officials seem to be in agreement with Sotero that "Carmageddon" will be an ideal time to rediscover and reinvest in their own communities. Robin Gee, who manages Santa Monica's CityTV, says city officials want people to completely stay away from the 405 freeway.

Because the closure will affect the intersection of the 405 at the 10, Santa Monica residents will have a difficult time getting out of town. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, Gee said.

“Don’t look at the weekend closure as a negative. Take advantage of this opportunity [to get to know your own neighborhood again],” she said.

Plans are in place to open Santa Monica’s Emergency Operations Center, which will coordinate with the city’s response during the freeway closure. The center will maintain a high level of readiness in the event that unforeseen incidents occur and additional resources are needed, according to city officials.

“This is an unusual situation, and we are prepared to deal with a high level of traffic congestion in the city,” Ken Semko, Santa Monica’s emergency manager, said in a statement. “We will strategically place public-safety resources around the city so that our response times remain at normal levels for our residents and visitors.

"We want the July 16 to 17 weekend to be an enjoyable summer weekend in Santa Monica," he continued, "and we need everyone to do their part to plan ahead, stay away from the 405 freeway, and to consider staying home and off the roads."

Santa Monica’s city websiteTwitter feed and AM radio station (1680)—along with CityTV cable channel 16 and other outreach tools— will be utilized to give traffic updates and status reports to the Santa Monica community, city officials said.

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