It's sounding like President Obama will arrive at LAX on Monday afternoon about 4:40 p.m., then fly above afternoon traffic by helicopter to the Veterans Administration campus near Brentwood. From there, judging by a notice to the media from Councilman Bill Rosendahl's office, Obama will be driven up Barrington Avenue to Sunset Boulevard, then east to the House of Blues on Sunset Strip for his first fundraiser of the evening. This keeps Obama off Wilshire and Santa Monica, the boulevards that have gotten smacked hard the last couple of times he has visited to raise money, and it affords him that nice view of mansions and the Beverly Hills Hotel (he could even wave in the direction of the Playboy Mansion as he sails through Holmby Hills.) This route, though, puts the motorcade in direct conflict with the afternoon crush headed from the Westside, UCLA and Beverly Hills across Sunset to West Hollywood and beyond — and the cross-traffic traversing the mountains via Beverly Glen or Coldwater Canyon. It could be ugly, no way around it. Sorry. But at least it should be over quickly. Rosendahl says the plan is to reopen Sunset by about 5:15.
Will things be better in West Hollywood? No. WeHo sheriffs are warning of traffic closures on these streets:
* Sunset Boulevard (from Doheny Drive to Sweetzer Avenue)
* Santa Monica Boulevard (from Doheny Drive to La Cienega Boulevard)
* Olive Drive (from Sunset Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard)
* Holloway Drive (front Sunset Boulevard to La Cienega Boulevard)
* La Cienega Boulevard (from Sunset Boulevard to Rosewood Avenue)
* Fountain Avenue (from La Cienega Boulevard to Sweetzer Avenue)
* Delongpre Avenue (from Fountain Avenue to Flores Street)
It sounds as if part two of the night's Obamajam will focus along La Cienega, apparently the route the president will take to Fig & Olive on Melrose Place for the high-roller dinner. Rosendahl's alert says La Cienega will be closed for about two hours, during the stretch between 7:15 and 10 p.m. That might create the biggest traffic mess of the whole night, with commuters spilling over onto Fairfax, Crescent Heights and Robertson or diverting through residential streets.
I haven't seen any word on where Obama is spending the night — and I'm not sure I'd say specifically even if I knew. But plans are being made for Tuesday morning traffic as well. West Hollywood is closing San Vicente between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue from 6 a.m. Monday until noon Tuesday. Rosendahl says Sunset will be impacted from Rodeo Drive west to Barrington between 9:30 a.m. and 10:05 a.m. So yeah, I guess that strongly suggests some Beverly Hills impact at the end of the night on Monday.
Anyway, be careful — and patient — out there. Presidential visits (of both parties) typically create the most intense surface street traffic jams most of us ever see in L.A., but they tend to be localized and avoidable if you can plan ahead. (If you don't have to get, you know, home.) Above all, remember it's a high security situation for the authorities. It's not unknown for the routes to change and some streets to be closed as diversions and alternates.
* Addendum Turns out there are barriers up around the Beverly Wilshire, and nearby tenants are being advised to expect traffic on Wilshire Boulevard at Rodeo Drive tonight and in the morning.