Coming to a commute near you at 9:00 this Friday night, the so-called "Rampture" will close the westbound Wilshire Boulevard to northbound 405 on-ramp (think UCLA-to-the-Valley) and the northbound 405 to westbound Wilshire Boulevard off-ramp (think South Bay-to-the-VA) until late September.
These two ramps are just the first of eight Wilshire ramps (see this slideshow, page 3) that will close for 24/7 reconstruction over the next year in an effort to speed traffic up in the area — get the full details in UCLA Today's earlier story. The Los Angeles Country Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and UCLA Transportation have three reminders for commuters on how to cope:
Plan ahead. Adjust your travel times. Share the ride.
"This isn't like Carmageddon, where we could tell everyone to stay away," said Metro community relations officer Kasey Shuda at a recent question-and-answer session on campus. "Especially that first week, I would give myself double the amount of time it usually takes. The second week, things will calm down as people find their routes and find out how long it takes them ... We're asking that, if possible, you work with your employers to adjust your in-and-out time. If you can get in earlier and leave earlier, that would be great."
Driving detours are below, but first, it's time to ask yourself: Do you really need to drive? UCLA Transportation has a guide to surviving the Rampture and offers lots of ways Bruins can help reduce the number of cars on the road.
Check out UCLA Transportation's ridesharing and biking page, where you can find driving buddies through a carpool-matching program, get subsidized bus fare with six public transit agencies, join the UCLA vanpool program or get information on bike racks, routes and special promotions.
Metro plans to keep a close eye on bus ridership and will consider adding more buses if necessary.
"We'll take surveys for a couple of weeks to see what's needed," Shuda said. "And we will have buses stationed on either side of the Sepulveda Pass in case people can't get through."
Metro will also position teams of traffic officers at 14 intersections (see this Metro slideshow, page 13), with one roving team for quick response, to keep traffic moving.
Check this Rampture calculator to see how many days the ramps you take will be out of commission.
Now, for the detours.
During this first closure, you can expect traffic delays all around Wilshire and the 405, but the main headache for UCLA drivers will be getting around the closure of the westbound Wilshire-to-405 North on-ramp in the evening.
Metro recommends taking the next closest on-ramps by heading south to Santa Monica Boulevard, or north to Sunset Boulevard or Moraga Drive.
The Sepulveda Way path from Sunset Boulevard to Sepulveda Boulevard will be closed, but Metro has installed a temporary light on the Sunset overpass, which will allow drivers traveling west on Sunset to turn left onto the northbound 405 on-ramp.
Drivers can also take Sepulveda Boulevard north to the Moraga Drive entrance, where Metro has added a second left-turn lane onto the on-ramp. The carpool lane on the Moraga on-ramp will be open to all cars during construction to increase the traffic flow, and the metering light will let extra cars through. To prevent residential streets from becoming overwhelmed, Metro isn't detouring drivers onto streets like Montana Avenue or Church Lane, which many UCLA drivers use to get to Sepulveda.
Metro will also set up a detour down southbound Sepulveda to the Santa Monica on-ramp, but that ramp will remain at its current reduced capacity.
Remember to plan ahead. Know which roads are closed and plan more than one detour. Check live traffic conditions online, on TV or on the radio to help you decide which detour to take.
Road closures and conditions
Metro's list of closures (updated daily)
Real-time traffic info from go511.com
Live freeway conditions from SigAlert.com
UCLA Transportation: Guide to surviving the Rampture
UCLA Transportation: Be A Green Commuter blog
UCLA Transportation: Ridesharing and biking programs information
UCLA Transportation: Memo about the Rampture
Metro: News release
Metro: Slideshow on the project
Metro: Wilshire ramps page
Metro: PDF explaining the project