Lakers parade will close wide swath of downtown Monday


A parade celebrating the Lakers’ NBA championship will begin Monday at 11 a.m., starting at Staples Center on Figueroa Street and traveling south toward USC.

Street closures will begin Sunday evening around midnight, forcing some commuters Monday morning to find alternative routes into downtown Los Angeles.

After the Lakers’ championship win last year, the 110 Freeway near USC was so jammed that some passengers hopped out of cars to head to the celebration on foot.

The team has promised to reimburse the city for the police and transportation workers needed to staff the parade, as well as the installation of barricades along the route. The estimated cost for those services is more than $1.5 million, said David Beltran, a spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“The Lakers will be funding the cost of the parade 100%,” said team spokesman John Black.

Unlike last year, there will be no rally at the Coliseum, which filled up so quickly that police had to turn people away before the event started.

The best bet for fans will be to line up along the two-mile parade route on Figueroa between 11th Street and Jefferson Boulevard.

Hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to attend.

The players will stand atop a flatbed float, instead of waving to fans aboard buses as was the case last year, Black said. Spero Dedes, the Lakers’ radio play-by-play announcer, will interview players aboard the float, which will be broadcast to fans by loudspeaker.

A number of open-air buses and other vehicles carrying the Laker Girls, coaches and staff will follow.

Fans should avoid driving to the parade. Authorities suggest taking the Metro Blue Line light-rail train, exiting at the Pico or Grand station, or taking the Red Line or Purple Line subways, exiting at the 7th Street/Metro Center station.

The parade is expected to last about an hour, but Black pointed out that such celebrations “don’t always go as scripted.”

The following streets are expected to be closed: Figueroa between Olympic and Jefferson boulevards; Chick Hearn Court (a stretch of 11th Street) between Figueroa and Cherry streets; Cherry Street between Olympic and Pico boulevards; Flower Street between Washington and Jefferson boulevards; Jefferson Boulevard between Figueroa and Hoover streets; and all intersections along the parade route.

To sign up for up-to-the-minute parade information, text LAWINS to 888777, a service of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.