BEVERLY HILLS—On Monday, August 16, residents and commuters across West Los Angeles found themselves either creeping at a snail’s pace or gridlocked altogether as President Barack Obama’s motorcade made its way down Olympic Boulevard. The president was attending fundraising events for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee located in the Hancock Park area where major traffic jams were being reported beginning at around 5 p.m. All roads leading to Olympic Boulevard between Century City and Hancock Park were closed between the times Obama traveled to and from the events, between Century Park East and Western Avenue, totaling over four hours of closures. Some staff members of Canyon News were also stranded by the traffic, where Dan Hernandez took a video of the motorcade.
The president was transported down the San Diego Freeway to Westwood Boulevard, then onwards to Hancock Park at the home of TV producer John Wells and his wife Marilyn, where the fundraisers were being held. Upon requesting more specifics for street closures, a Beverly Hills Police Department Information Officer reported that the Secret Service ordered most specific closures remain undisclosed while the president made his travels, citing “security purposes,” but all lanes of Olympic Boulevard were completely shut down. Parts of the 405 Freeway were closed temporarily during his transport as well.
President Obama arrived via Air Force One earlier in the evening and was transported to the Beverly Hilton on Marine One, where he would stay for the night. As the president’s motorcade prepared its journey through West Los Angeles, both before and after the fundraisers, users on Twitter traveling through the closed-off areas began rapidly reporting heavy traffic and inconveniences. Between 5 and 9 p.m., scores of affected residents around Beverly Hills filled Twitter with their dissatisfaction with the road closures; some users even posted pictures of end-to-end traffic lined up on multiple side streets leading to Olympic Boulevard.
Resident Joe Rosensteel, who found himself trapped at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Doheny Drive, reported on his account at 7:43 p.m., “President Obama has grid locked Beverly Hills”¦Took 37 minutes to go 0.8 miles.” While David Parks tweeted to Canyon News, “The Monday Obama road closures made a 30-minute commute from Beverly Hills to Brentwood into a 90-minute adventure.”
The fundraiser, which attracted multiple Obama-supporting celebrities, successfully collected over $1 million for the Democratic Party. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was also scheduled to speak at the event, with ticket prices ranging from $2,500 to $30,400 for a co-host meal and a chance to take a picture with President Obama. According to U.S. Law, this is the maximum amount an individual may donate to a party committee per year.
The president departed Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, prompting more short-term street closures, but residents began reporting clear traffic after 10 a.m.