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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the weekend: What would be the equivalent of L.A.’s Carmageddon where you live?

It’s Carmageddon in Los Angeles this weekend, as a long stretch of a major highway in the perhaps the most car-crazy city in the U.S. — if not the world — is closed for some heavy-duty construction work. From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 10-mile stretch of one of the nation’s busiest freeways has turned into a virtual ghost road.

Ramps to the normally clogged Interstate 405 began shutting down Friday evening before the entire roadway was closed at midnight, setting the stage for a 53-hour construction project that will test whether this car-dependent city can change its driving habits for a weekend.

For weeks, authorities have urged residents to avoid getting in their car, lest they trigger what’s been hyped as “Carmageddon.”

Such an event could back up vehicles from the 405 — locals like to joke that its name is shorthand for “traffic that moves no faster than 4 or 5 miles an hour” — to surface streets and other freeways, causing a domino effect that could paralyze much of Los Angeles.

Check out the rest of the AP article for some hilarious and inventive ways that Los Angeles will cope with the freeway shutdown.

The only equivalent I can imagine for either New York or London would be the shutdown of the subway or tube for an entire weekend. If there’s anything that would be more disruptive to either city — short of a enormous natural disaster or a nuclear detonation — it doesn’t leap to mind.

What would be the equivalent of L.A.’s Carmageddon where you live?

Inventing disaster scenarios is always so much fun…

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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