Carmageddon in L.A., An Exercise in Disaster Preparedness

Luxury amidst the rubble-Island Hotel's Carmageddon Gridlock Package.

For those who don't live around Los Angeles but only faintly remember the freeway traffic jams you experienced during a visit, the news that one of the most traveled freeways is being shut down during the upcoming weekend to demolish a bridge and do an earthquake retrofit is ho-hum. It doesn't really affect you one way or another. But like so many news items that are interesting or not, this one with a shelf life is being promoted with predictions of creating the mother of all freeway jam to hit L.A. in decades.

From July 15 through 17, the Southland's busiest freeway is slated to be closed for a ten-mile stretch in order for workers to make necessary road improvements. Travelers are being warned of impending chaos, with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa advising locals to go on vacation.

Media alerts from the Los Angeles International Airport press people and other such groups are asking journalists to spread the word of this impending mess. Some savvy flacks (public relations pros) are even capitalizing on the situation. Among the press releases is a hotel blurb offering deep discounts in what's called the L.A. Gridlock package. Rates start at $199 on Friday and Sunday nights, and at $225 on Saturday night, and include valet parking and daily breakfast for two offering up to a 35% savings. The luxury Island Hotel next to Fashion Island shopping mall and overlooking Newport Beach beaches & bays is close to Orange County Airport where you can fly in, unaffected by the freeway mess some 35 miles away. The offer is valid July 15-17, 2011.

If you're not taken in by sales pitches and still choose to remain clear of Los Angeles this weekend, you'll probably not see riots, though there will be news about Carmageddon after millions of locals and travelers survive it. The story has potential to be almost as big as impacts from an x-flare that some say surely will happen one day, knocking out satellite communications and electrical grids, rendering everyone's cell technology, wi-fi, and even electricity out of order.

Island Hotel Newport Beach, 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach
Tel: (949) 760-4920

Three nights: Friday, July 15 Sunday, July 17.


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