Because of “Carmageddon,” this weekend may actually be the healthiest time to take a trip to Los Angeles. According to UC Berkeley researchers, the closure of the 405 freeway may reduce the equivalent of approximately 4.7 million pounds of carbon dioxide. That would make for a perfectly clear weekend to hike the Santa Monica Mountains.

Realistically speaking, though, the carbon emissions would only be reduced that much if the estimated 500,000 cars that travel the 405 on a mid-July weekend would drive 9.9 miles less (equivalent to the area of the 405 that will be closed) or just quit driving all together.

While many are treating this closure like it’s an apocalyptic alien invasion and will probably stock up on supplies and barricade themselves in their homes all weekend, 500,000 drivers not using their cars seems highly unlikely. This in turn may cause more harm than good.

According to William Eisenstein, executive director of UC Berkeley’s Center For Resource Efficient Communities, the closure may cause an increase in carbon emission if people continue to drive using other routes that will likely take longer.

Others who have chosen not to drive will still be doing their part in destroying our hopes for good quality air, as JetBlue has reported sold-out flights from Burbank to Long Beach this weekend.

So, while Los Angeles is about 15 degrees warmer than Berkeley, you’re probably better off sticking around than dealing with the nightmare that is (pause for suspenseful music) — “Carmageddon!”

Image source: Pranav Bhatt under Creative Commons
‘Carmageddon’ Could Curb Carbon Dioxide Emissions — Or Cause Them To Climb [Huffington Post]

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