In an effort to encourage Los Angeles County residents to stay close to home on the weekend of Carmageddon II, local officials have announced an "Eat, Shop and Play Locally" initiative offering deals at area businesses.
At a press conference Tuesday in the courtyard of the Hollywood & Highland Center, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa outlined how nearly 300 specials will be available for people who use public transportation or patronize local businesses. Officials hope the program will keep people away from the 10-mile closure of the 405 Freeway between the I-10 and 101 freeways on Sept. 29-30.
"Staying out of your car doesn't mean staying at home," Villaraigosa said. "We're asking folks to use the weekend to discover a local restaurant, take a bike ride, visit a museum.... If we all cooperate and work together, things will go as smoothly as last year."
The mayor was joined at the announcement by a couple dozen entertainers and representatives of tourist destinations and local groups.
Destinations participating in the program include the Hammer Museum, Madam Tussaud's Hollywood, the Natural History Museum, the Los Angeles Zoo, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
For the first Carmageddon in July 2011, officials anticipated massive traffic congestion but locals heeded warnings.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky warned residents of complacency this time around.
"With public cooperation this will be a non-event," Yaroslavsky said. "With complacency and lack of cooperation it can become a traffic nightmare. Let’s make it a non-event. Let's turn Carmageddon into Carmaheaven or Schmarmegeddon or any other 'geddon' that you want to dream up."
Yaroslavsky pointed out that while demolition work finished ahead of schedule in 2011, crews have 30 percent more work to accomplish in the same 53-hour period this time.
"An early opening is unlikely," he said.