Heavy traffic expected on Westside for President Obama's visit
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Traffic is expected to particularly heavy throughout West Los Angeles and Culver City tomorrow to accommodate President Barack Obama's fundraising visit to the Southland.
Obama is scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport at 2:30 p.m. He will attend at a fundraiser at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, where he is scheduled to speak around 4:30 p.m., then attend a private fundraiser at a Brentwood restaurant.
The president riled Angelenos when a fundraising visit last August in Beverly Hills snarled traffic for hours all across the Westside. The traffic was so bad Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who chairs the Transportation Committee, called for an investigation into ways such traffic jams can be avoided in the future.
"I told the White House they might have raised $1 million, but they lost one million votes,'' Rosendahl said.
On a subsequent visit to USC in October, Obama moved around the city primarily by helicopter, largely avoiding massive backups.
Rosendahl said the White House has been responsive this time around as well. He said there was a coordinated meeting today with Secret Service, FBI, LAPD, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and others.
"I get the assurance the roads won't remained hard-closed for hours and hours, that closures will be based on the president's real-time movements,'' Rosendahl said. "They're giving me comfort—we'll see—that they're sensitive to our issues, and I'm hopeful.''
He said Obama's advance staff alluded to travel by helicopter, but did not go into detail.
The LAPD and the city Department of Transportation both declined to comment on any specifics of Obama's route, noting that the Secret Service controls the operation and often gives orders for street closures at the last minute for obvious security reasons.
But people on the streets—either in cars or on buses—should be ready for delays.
"Please anticipate Westside area bus delays and detours,'' according to a statement issued by Metro. "Detours will be updated as they go into effect. Buses will return to their normal route as soon as roads are reopened.''
Metro encouraged passengers to use its Nextrip program online at www.metro.net/nextrip for real-time bus schedule information.
Some office building management companies sent warning notices to tenants about the anticipated traffic tie-ups.
"We have experienced severe traffic conditions in West LA on previous visits, but there is no way to determine exactly what streets will be affected for this visit,'' according to a memo sent to tenants of a West Los Angeles building run by Douglas Emmet Management.
A Culver City School District official said no changes in school hours are planned because of Obama's visit. Schools will be getting out between 2:30-3:05 p.m. as usual.
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