Hoping to see the Shuttle travel through South L.A. this weekend?
While not “mission impossible,” getting a good view of it may require some careful plotting on your part.
Downgraded from the “mother of all parades,” the Endeavour’s journey from LAX to the California Science Center this weekend will happen along what officials seem to hope will be largely empty streets. At least, within the L.A. leg of the trip.
The Shuttle’s 78-foot wing span means that it will reach sidewalk to sidewalk in many places, posing a danger to observers.
Under normal circumstances, the average person might be able to be trusted with dodging the Shuttle’s wing tips as it meandered along at speeds between 1 and 2 miles per hour.
Factor in the crush of people anticipated to want a glimpse of it, however, and you could have a recipe for disaster. People might see the wings coming at them, but not be able to move out of the way.
So, sidewalks will be closed along much of the route.
As trees and light poles have been coming down to make way for the Shuttle, signs have been going up along Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvds. listing blocks of time residents and observers could expect sidewalks to be off limits.
If well-armed with knowledge of the route, however, an intrepid Angeleno could manage to catch the Shuttle at several different spots on Friday and Saturday.
Thus, we present you with the best information we could dig up about the Endeavour’s whereabouts:
After leaving the hangar at LAX at 2 a.m. Friday morning (Oct. 12), it will move along Northside and Westchester Pkwys before taking a break at a parking lot located on the east side of the intersection of La Tijera Pkwy and Sepulveda Blvd. around 4 a.m.
The Shuttle will chill in the lot for the next 9 hours or so, as crews remove power lines and prepare the streets along the rest of the route. You likely won’t be the only one who thinks that it might be a good spot to ogle the vehicle, so be prepared to battle crowds and to not be able to get too close — it will be heavily guarded. There are a few spots you might be able to see the Shuttle in motion before it reaches that lot, along Westchester (between Northside and Emerson) and where it turns north onto La Tijera (around 3:30 a.m.). See map below for details. A link to the pdf of the map is here.
Around 2 p.m., the Shuttle will hit the road, continuing along La Tijera before turning on right onto Manchester Blvd. and moving into Inglewood around 3 p.m.
It will be parked along Manchester (between Glasgow Ave. and La Cienega Blvd.) between 4 and 11 p.m. According to the map (below), the public will be able to view the Endeavour at the Manchester/La Cienega intersection.
From there, it will continue to roll along Manchester Blvd. through Inglewood, stopping again a couple mile later to rest for the night between Cedar and Inglewood Aves. Although parked for a number of hours (1:15 a.m. til 7 a.m.), there will be NO public viewing, apparently. (A link to the map is here.)
Saturday morning, the Shuttle is expected to wake up feeling a little sassy.
It will cruise past Inglewood’s City Hall (Grevillea Ave.) at 8 a.m. on its way to the Forum, where throngs of adoring fans undoubtedly will be waiting. It will pass a viewing area at a Vons along the way (between Hillcrest Blvd. and Spruce Ave.) around 8:30 a.m. where it will be met with fanfare by the Inglewood High School band and students from A-MAN Inc., who will escort it to the Forum. At the Forum (located at the intersection of Prairie and Manchester), there will be a formal program of activities beginning around 9 a.m. On hand to speak will be Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts and Astronaut William Cunningham from the Apollo 7 mission, among others. The Shuttle will hang out at the Forum for about half an hour before air-kissing Inglewood good-bye and rolling its way into L.A. by 11:30 a.m.
Given the size of the Forum, it may be your best chance for viewing the Shuttle. But you may need to get there early to stake out a spot. The site will open at 4 a.m. for those feeling so inclined. A link to the pdf map for Saturday’s Inglewood stay is here. Need more information about the Inglewood leg of the journey? Check here.
The Shuttle will make its way up Crenshaw Blvd., most of which appears to be closed to pedestrians.
According to a news release from the LAPD, “sidewalk closures along the route may be opened as determined by the Unified Command based on street width, fixed obstacles, and public safety issues on a block-by-block basis” (emphasis mine). In other words, it is possible that some of Crenshaw could be open to the public for viewing, but that likely won’t be known ahead of time.
The map below shows that there may be some opportunity for the public to gather on the east side of Crenshaw, between 46th and 57th Sts. (in the service lanes running parallel to Crenshaw).
The big party, however, will happen around 1 p.m. in front of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza at the intersection of Crenshaw and King Blvds. Organizers had originally intended to put bleachers in place so that the public could have a better view of the speeches by elected officials and the performances directed by choreographer Debbie Allen. Realizing that there was not much opportunity for the public to participate as the Shuttle moved up Crenshaw, they decided to remove the bleachers in favor of allowing more people to be present.
Still, it won’t be easy to get a spot for the half-hour long program. So, plan on getting there very early.
Your last chance to get a good look at the Endeavour will be along Bill Robertson Ln. as it pulls into its new digs at the Science Center. There don’t appear to be places for public viewing along King Blvd. Parking will be limited in Exposition Park (in lots along Vermont Ave.). So walk, bike, or take the Metro if you want to see the Shuttle arrive at its new home.
It won’t arrive at the Center until around 8:30 p.m. Saturday night, but crowds will surely be gathering beforehand. So, bring snacks, water, sunblock (or maybe an umbrella) and be prepared to wait.
Oh yeah, and get there EARLY.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) will begin closing streets as early as 10 p.m. on Thursday, October 11 to prepare for the transport of the Endeavour. It lists the following street closures on its website.
Closed from 10/11/12 10:00 p.m. to 10/12/12 6:00 a.m.:
• Northside Parkway from Westchester Parkway to Lincoln Boulevard
• Westchester Parkway from Lincoln Boulevard to La Tijera Boulevard
• La Tijera Boulevard from Westchester Parkway to Sepulveda Boulevard
Closed from 10/12/12 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.:
• La Tijera Boulevard from Sepulveda Boulevard to Manchester Avenue
Closed from 10/12/12 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.:
• Manchester Avenue from La Tijera Boulevard to Aviation Boulevard
Closed from 10/13/12 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.:
• Crenshaw Boulevard from 80th Street to Vernon Avenue
Closed from 10/12/12 8:00 p.m. to 10/13/12 8:00 p.m.:
• Crenshaw Boulevard from Vernon Avenue to Martin Luther King Boulevard
• Martin Luther King Boulevard from Crenshaw Boulevard to 4th Avenue
Closed from 10/13/12 4:00 p.m.to 10:00 p.m.:
• Martin Luther King Boulevard from 4th Avenue to Bill Robertson Lane
• Bill Robertson Lane from Martin Luther King Boulevard to Exposition Park
Did we mention get there early?