Aircraft Beat Carmegeddon, But Bikes Beat All

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Jet Blue's 29-mile, $8 "microflights" between Burbank and Long Beach during last weekend's shutdown of the 405 freeway sold out within two hours, but a group of bicycle advocates proved they had an even better alternative -- they beat the airline's door-to-door travel time by more than a half hour. Dubbed the "Tour de Carmageddon," six members of the Wolfpack Hustle biking club started from a Burbank sidewalk as a passenger left for the airport, pedaled for 40 miles to  downtown Long Beach, and had a good time doing it. Other residents, however, found that chartering a helicopter was the best way to get around the crowded cityscape. "It's the only way to travel," Kevin Norris told the L.A. Times, after paying $150 to fly by helicopter from Van Nuys to LAX in 14 minutes, to catch a flight to France.

Jet Blue flew its Airbus A320s on the 12-minute microflights, and never climbed above 5,000 feet, offering passengers a close-up view of the closed freeway. A company spokesman said the airline has no intention to make the local flights a regular route. Panic over the freeway closure in crowded L.A. made the national news, but in the end most drivers stayed home and the predicted traffic jams never materialized.