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L.A. drivers take to Twitter to complain of #ObamaJam traffic

Road Transportation
L.A. drivers take to Twitter to complain of #ObamaJam traffic
Some Westside drives longer with streets closed for Obama visit to L.A.
Obama visits L.A. to accept award, attend fundraiser

Los Angeles police said Wednesday evening that rush-hour traffic was delayed on the Westside as President Obama's motorcade maneuvered along several major thoroughfares that had been shut down.

The president arrived at Los Angeles International Airport around 4:30 p.m. He left LAX in his Marine One helicopter, which landed a short while later at Cheviott Hills Park.

The president was on the city's Westside to accept a humanitarian award at a gala event and attend fundraisers.

The motorcade wound its way toward Bel-Air along Beverly Glen Boulevard. There were huge crowds along the route at several intersections, as well as a few onlookers on their lawns in the residential neighborhood of Beverly Glen, according to a local pool report.  

Police said it was difficult to gauge how much worse the traffic situation was because major Westside surface streets are always congested during the evening rush hour.

City real-time traffic maps showed some streets adjacent to closed thoroughfares clogged with traffic that was creeping at 10 mph or less.

Some drivers took to to Twitter using an #ObamaJam hashtag to voice their frustrations.

One woman said it took 2 1/2 hours to drive from Beverly Hills to Santa Monica. Another woman complained that a normal 20-minute commute had turned into a 2-hour ordeal. 

The traffic situation "is tragic right now," one person tweeted. "But, still, welcome back, Mr. president!"

From 4 to 6 p.m., areas near Motor Avenue and Pico Boulevard, and then Beverly Glen Road, were shut down. Santa Monica Boulevard was also affected.

From 6 to 8 p.m., the areas near Sunset Boulevard and Beverly Glen, and Santa Monica Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars, were affected by the closures.

After disembarking at LAX, the president was met by Mayor Eric Garcetti and stopped to pose for pictures with a group of about 20 teenagers and young adults who were waiting for him on the tarmac.

Obama had changed out of his Arkansas outfit -- khakis, white and blue checkered shirt, and brown shoes -- and was wearing a suit and tie.

He arrived at the home of Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and Horn's wife, Cindy, just before 5:30 p.m. for a joint fundraiser to benefit the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to the pool report. 

Tickets for the event cost from $10,000 to $64,800, a Senatorial Campaign Committee official said. Among those expected to speak were House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet, and hosts Cindy and Alan Horn.

The president was also planning to attend the USC Shoah Foundation's 20th anniversary dinner, affecting a large swath of the Westside. Obama was scheduled to accept the Ambassador for Humanity Award, the foundation's top accolade, at a ceremony led by Steven Spielberg, a USC trustee and the founder of the institute.

The president will continue his visit with events that will take him as far as San Diego. He is set to depart before noon Thursday.

On Thursday, the area near Santa Monica Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars will be affected by closures from 9 to 11 a.m. 

As a result of a hard closure along Santa Monica Boulevard between Wilshire Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars, transit officials warned riders about closures on bus routes 4, 16, 316, 704, 20 and 720. They urged commuters to contact Metro in advance for alternatives.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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