From the evening of July 15 to the morning hours of July 17, ten crucial miles of the 405 Freeway, also known as the primary lifeline of the west side of Los Angeles, will shut down for construction. Aptly nicknamed “Carmageddon,” what should be a peaceful July weekend has already filled automobile-dependent Angelenos with major earthquake levels of anxiety.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa warned concerned citizens of the gravity of the situation, which will essentially paralyze the city. “If you think the 405 is gridlocked during the week, you haven’t seen anything yet,” he told the New York Times. “My message is to stay home. Or go on vacation. Walk. Go on a bike. But do not get in your car and go anywhere near the West Side. It’s going to be a mess.” Villaraigosa’s message is an important one, but alerting the citizens to an event of this magnitude is no task for local politicians or law enforcement. Instead, the Los Angeles Police Department has turned to the city’s most trusted source of information: celebrities. On their Twitter accounts.
The LAPD announced on June 29 that they would be asking celebrities with large Twitter followings to spread the word, and it’s only fitting that the king of all social media, Ashton Kutcher, would be the first to respond to the urgent call to action. However, his service to the LAPD comes at a steep price. On June 30, the actor tweeted “LAPD askd me 2tweet: 405 fwy btwn 10 & 101 will b closed July 16-17. In xchange I would like a free pass on that stoplight tickt IT WAS YELLOW.” No news yet on the status of Kutcher’s ticket, but his message was heard loud and clear by his roughly 7 million followers.
William Shatner tweeted the same day, and managed to add a plug for his latest project, a self-produced documentary airing on the Epix Cable Network. “LA friends have you heard about Carmegeddon? The 405 will close on July 16 & 17. Stay at home preparing for The Captains on 7/21 on Epix.”
Kutcher’s wife Demi Moore was next, taking time out of her holiday weekend to tweet the news of impending doom to her 3.7 million followers. She even suggested a safe alternative! “Avoid frustration Twitter Peeps who live in the LA area, the 405 freeway will be closed July 16 & 17. Plan ahead. Weekend getaway perhaps?”
Bride-to-be Kim Kardashian is the latest to respond, warning her 8.2 million followers in a July 6 tweet that was short, sweet, and to the point. “Make sure you stay away from the 405 Fwy the weekend of July 16 & 17, it will be closed between the 10 Fwy and 101 Fwy North & South!”
The currently traveling Lady Gaga is yet to respond to the LAPD’s request, but let’s hope that the rest of the celebrities have done enough tweeting to save the city from certain traffic-related doom.