Los Angeles Carmageddon Brings Bad Traffic but Good Deals

Los Angeles Carmageddon Brings Bad Traffic but Good Deals

If you’re in the Los Angeles area this weekend, watch out: The end of the world is nigh.

Well, actually, just a 10-mile strip of the 405 Freeway will be closed for construction. But this small segment of the road, known locally as Sepulveda Pass, sees half a million vehicles on a typical summer weekend. Even without a construction project, the canyon pass is known for the terrible traffic that builds up between San Fernando Valley and several beach towns like Santa Monica and Venice.

The overflow from the droves that normally crowd this section of the 405 are expected to form traffic jams of epic proportions this weekend, a dreaded event that is being called “Carmageddon.”

Get Out of Town

Luckily, there are means of escape. If you’re in LA and you start planning now, you may be able to score on the deals offered in anticipation of the busy weekend. Check these out:

  • Mammoth Mountain in the Eastern Sierras is offering three-night stays in a selection of hotels for $405
  • Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas is offering a package that includes two- or three-night stays in the Casino Tower and complimentary Cabana and VIP access to Vanity Nightclub
  • Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo are rewarding Amtrak travelers with 20% off train tickets, plus discounts at restaurants, hotels and activities. Even if you don’t end up getting out of town this weekend, you can still use the discounts until the end of the year.

Rising Above the Fray

Planning a staycation instead? You can still get around the Los Angeles area—not with wheels, but with wings!

JetBlue Airways launched a “Fly Over the 405” promotion on Wednesday that offered $4 nonstop flights between Long Beach and Burbank on Saturday. The 600 seats available on the four flights sold out within three hours, though, so that’s probably not an option anymore.

Still determined to fly over the traffic? Some charter helicopter companies are offering air “taxi” service to nearby airports. For $150, Briles Wing & Helicopter Inc. in Van Nuys is offering 15-minute one-way rides to Van Nuys Airport in the San Fernando Valley or over the 405 to Los Angeles International Airport or Santa Monica Airport. It normally costs a cool $5000 to charter a two-hour flight in one of the company’s Agusta copters, which is outfitted with Italian leather seats and sound-proof interiors.

If you don’t need to get to the airport but want to check out the mahem on the freeways, Adventure Helicopter Tours is offering 45-minute flights over the area, complete with champagne, for $400 per couple.

Carmageddon Capitalism

If you’re not going anywhere, watch out for deals and discounts in your neighborhood. Local businesses will be taking advantage of the captive audience this weekend and will be offering special prices in honor of Carmageddon.

Some of the more unusual discounts we heard about: reduced-rate doggie daycare, $10 yoga classes, 20% off pet photography and 15% off tattoos.

“It’s the perfect time to get a tattoo,” said Howard Teman, owner of T-Man Tattoo on Ventura Boulevard. “You can say, ‘I got a tattoo the weekend they closed the 405.’ It’ll make it more special.”

Los Angeles LearnVesters: what are your plans for Carmageddon? Are you taking advantage of any discounts? Let us know in the comments.

Planning a last-minute getaway? Check out our list of ideas for short trips, and see our estimate of which method of travel is cheapest.

(Image credit: epSos.de/Flickr)

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