Posts Tagged ‘405 freeway’

Carmageddon Hit: Road Rage Rest Stop

July 18th, 2011

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One of the more delightful Carmageddon-related discoveries in Los Angeles this past weekend was from artist Lauren Horowitz, who set up a Road Rage Rest Stop art installation on Venice Boulevard, right outside the Eat Real Fest in Culver City. Participants could choose the sign of their freeway of choice to hit on a punching bag and could shout at traffic images in the screaming box (that’s Lauren at the box).

The exhibit for expressing rage at traffic in LA was playful, but we all know that traffic and transportation woes in LA (and across the country) are very real; we have a serious need to reduce carbon emissions and for better public transit. Now that the 405 freeway is open again (until next year’s closure for work on the other side), the buzz on Facebook and Twitter and at water coolers in offices around the city is about how great it was that so many people kept their cars off the roads–either staying close to home or choosing alternative means of transportation. Those transportation alternatives happen to be cleaner, greener ways of getting around–good news and hopefully something Angelenos will consider even without warnings of a Carmageddon.

For those in Los Angeles interested in alternative transportation: we’re co-hosting an open forum on biking sharing with the city of Santa Monica, to discuss the possibility of starting a program here and to test-ride bikes from a bike share operator this Wednesday, July 20, from 6-9 PM, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

Rock On: Our Carmageddon Playlist

July 15th, 2011

blog_carmageddonAfter weeks of hype, it’s upon us: the weekend the 405 freeway closes in Los Angeles. Gulp, it’s Carmageddon time. National news outlets became captivated with a road closure and public officials sent out warnings to Angelenos, suggesting we explore alternative means of transportation–or stay at home. (Could Michael Bay be working on a movie about this? Maybe with a plot about the group of bikers trying to race the Jet Blue jet from Burbank to Long Beach?)

Here at Global Green, we’re proud to be working on projects and initiatives to help reduce carbon emissions on the road. For those in Los Angeles, we’ve got a suggestion for a car-free way have fun this weekend, and next week we’re presenting an open forum at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to explore a bike-share program. We take transportation issues seriously, but we’ll admit we had fun with our Facebook call-out for songs to put on a Carmageddon-themed playlist.

Most of the songs suggested are about driving or other forms of transport (biking, walking) and many of the titles are obvious and self-explanatory. Others have lyrics that are fitting and mention driving (“Get your motor running/head out on the highway…” and “I will walk 500 miles…”). Then there are the clever ones: We started by suggesting on Twitter that “Karma Chameleon” be adapted to have a chorus of “Carma-carma-carma-carma/Carma-Carmageddon,” and someone else suggested “Karma Police.” We even had an artist suggest a song: Rocky Duwani, who performed at our recent Millennium Awards, suggested his own “Take it Slow.” And so here it is; song titles below and our official playlist (published on Grooveshark).

“It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M.

“Drive” by the Cars

“Highway to Hell” by AC/DC

“Traffic Jam” by James Taylor

“Panic” by the Smiths

“Car Song” by Woodie Guthrie

“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

“Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell

“The Bike Song” by Mark Ronson and the Business Int’l

“Walking in LA” by Missing Persons

“I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash

“I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers

“Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf

“I Can’t Drive 55″ by Sammy Hagar

“Take it Slow” by Rocky Dawuni

“Slow Ride” by Foghat

“Come a Long Way” by Michelle Shocked

“Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club

“Karma Police” by Radiohead

“Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” by Bob Dylan

In the News: Carmageddon Talk

July 11th, 2011

blog_405_freewayYou know your city has an unhealthy dependency on automobiles when a road closure is referred to as “Carmageddon,” yet that’s just what the media and Los Angeles residents have nicknamed the 405 closure set to take place this weekend, from July 16-17. A quick look online shows more than 400 blog posts and articles have been written on the subject–including articles in international papers–and celebrities have even jumped in to help the city get the word out by tweeting the information (even if some celebs, ahem, tweeted the wrong date). From the way the media and the city has marketed the closure, you would think that Los Angeles is literally going to shut down as people take shelter in their homes and wait for some sort of post-apocalyptic nuclear winter.

To everyone in Los Angeles freaking out: it’s going to be okay. In fact, I’d venture to suggest that by the time the weekend is upon on, people will be so convinced to stay at home that the roads will be completely empty and traffic-free. What’s scarier than two days without the 405 is the fact that the issue has caused such a panic. Hospitals have had to create contingency routes, cities have created emergency resource services, and who knows how much money cash-strapped LA has spent on getting the word out. If we would instead invest all this kind of time and money in better public transit options and more bike lanes, closing the freeway might not create this absurd level of panic.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is offering free bus rides in LA this weekend in an effort to help alleviate any delays; that’s a great start, but we need to incentivize public transit year-round, not just during a one-time road closure. With everyone sufficiently scared into not using their cars, this weekend will be a great chance to explore other modes of transit. So pull your bike out of the garage, ride the bus the two miles to the market, and see what the city could be like if automobiles didn’t rule the streets of LA. Who knows, you might wish the 405 was closed every weekend.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Help us compile a Carmageddon-themed playlist over on our Facebook page by posting a song in the comments.