Local Businesses Frustrated By Planned 405 Closure

While the planned closure of a large swathe of the 405 over the weekend of July 15 through 17 should save weekday commuters from a potential traffic nightmare, many businesses and workers will still be affected.

The ten miles of freeway that will be closed span from the 10 to the 101 and carry an estimated 500,000 vehicles on an average weekend, according to the LA Times. Alternative routes and public transportation will hopefully aid weekend commuters to get to their destinations--albeit much more slowly than usual--but businesses are not privileged with that sort of mobility.

The warnings of officials such as Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky to "stay the hell away from the 405 corridor" (as bluntly stated during an interview with KPCC) are not good news for local attractions. Some business owners have accepted grim outlook for that July weekend with quiet resignation, while others are speaking out against the closure.

Jay Handal, who chairs the West L.A. Neighborhood Council and owns Brentwood's San Gennaro Café, told the Huffington Post in an email that "having the elected officials stand up at the Skirball and tell everyone to stay away is not helpful." Rather than warning Angelenos to stay at home, he thinks that authorities such as Yaroslavsky should be telling them to "walk, shop, and taste your local commercial shopping district." Furthermore, he writes, "many of the local merchants have discussed filing for an injunction" to stop the closure. Handal and other business owners fear that the July weekend will mirror an incident two years ago, when the 405 completely shut down due to a construction accident. Business, he wrote, was "one-third [of the usual amount] at best."

Institutions much larger than the cafés of Brentwood will suffer, too. The Skirball Cultural Center and the Getty Museum will shut their doors during the road closure. According to Yaroslavsky's blog, both museum aficionados and the wedding party that had been booked at the Skirball will have to reschedule. Museums such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Hammer are to remain open, but will surely see less visitors due to the restricted traffic access to the West side.

L.A.'s transportation companies are despairing as well. With the 405 being one of Los Angeles International Airport's main access routes, cab and limo companies that often offer flat-rate rides to and from the airport will take a huge financial hit. Elton Silva, the owner and operator of a small limo company based in Willowbrook, told Yaroslavsky's team, "it's not going to be worth it." He continued, "We do a lot of fixed-rate business, and this means we’ll have to spend a bunch of hours and waste a lot of time and gas sitting in traffic."