Carmageddon II: Freebies, discounts offered to stay off the road


Last year, the first so-called "Carmageddon" went seamlessly with Angelenos heeding the warnings to stay out of their cars. Now, officials are hoping that will happen again on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30.

"This time, we can't scare people away from the area. It's better to encourage them to stay home," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Officials are trying a different approach by partnering with local businesses, museums and entertainment venues to give people incentives to stay in their own neighborhoods or take public transportation by giving them discounts or free admission.

"Metrolink will get you here without congestion, without hassle, and for $10, you get a weekend pass for as many trips as you want all weekend long," said Richard Katz, Metrolink chairman.

More than 300 shops, restaurants and tourist attractions are on board, encouraging people to "eat, shop and play locally." The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Madame Tussauds, Santa Monica Playhouse and others are offering free or reduced tickets.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California Science Center, the Natural History Museum and the Hammer Museum are also making it affordable or free.

"Pouring business into local areas sounds like a great idea," said William White of Northridge.

But some people say that no free tickets are going to put the brakes on their schedules if they have to get to the other side of town.

"The discounts are good. The whole Metro thing is cool. But to keep people in their own cities, some people work completely outside of their cities," said Christina Dunlap of Los Angeles.

Metro is also organizing a series of bike tours on the Westside, and around the Orange Line.

For more information on the project and closures, visit the website for the Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project.

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