Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011


In July, traffic in Los Angeles reached apocalyptic proportions — or at least it was supposed to. A weekend closure of Freeway 405 from the West Side to the San Fernando Valley, scheduled for a full 53 hours, was anticipated with such great fear and fervor that the media started calling it "Carmageddon." Pundits predicted it would prove an "existential threat to motorized Los Angeles." But even though 500,000 vehicles would normally use that stretch of road in the course of a weekend, nothing terrible happened. The word carmageddon was first uttered by an L.A. County supervisor, and the city's campaign of fear-mongering before the shutdown was so effective that people largely just stayed home. The project even got finished 16 hours early. Still, that didn't keep Southern Californians from their traffic puns. In subsequent months, headlines referred to impending freeway-ramp closures as the "Rampture."