Michael Jackson's last ride through Los Angeles

Michael Jackson StarMichael Jackson, the King of Pop took his last ride through Los Angeles today, starting early this morning with a funeral caravan from his family's home in Encino, California, escorted by police guards across the 101 freeway to a private service held at Forest Lawn cemetery in Hollywood Hills. The ceremony was intended to be a solemn event for close family and friends, but was surrounded by paparazzi and news crews on the ground and in as many as 20 helicopters above.

Traffic was affected throughout Los Angeles during the morning rush hour, and through the remainder of the day. Many of the streets around the Staples center have been shutdown or re-routed today to handle the expected onslaught of giant crowds. In addition to those holding tickets to be allowed inside the venues, officials are expecting hundreds of thousands of others to make their own pilgrimage to the surrounding downtown areas. According to LAist.com,   "The area around Staples Center will be shut down to traffic and controlled by about 1,400 LAPD officers assigned to manage the crowds." Police surrounded the Staples Center in cars, on foot, by Segway, and on horseback to manage the crowds, which respectfully gathered to attend the public memorial service, and who mingled in the surrounding areas to pay their last respects to the popular singer.

Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson, John Mayer, Queen Latifah, the Andrae Crouch Choir, and Brooke Shields were scheduled to participate in the public event held at Staples Center in Los Angeles. An online lottery was held over the weekend for 17,500 free tickets for the memorial services: 11,000 at Staples Center and 6,500 tickets for the Nokia Theatre, where the event was simulcast on large video screens. The event was also be broadcast on NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC and E! Entertainment.

The Los Angeles Metro transportation system has re-routed numerous bus lines on because of street closures around the Staples Center. Commuting Metro patrons are expecting delays to all downtown area bus lines and needed to plan for additional travel time. According to LAist ""We're going to run the blue line until told not to," explained Metro Spokesman Rick Jager. "The biggest impact is the busses because they've cornered off a large area." Over 50 bus lines will be re-routed (details below). "We're really urging people to plan ahead... There will probably be a lot of delays," said Jager.

If you're a Los Angeles area commuter and need assistance figuring out how your route has been affected, Metro has posted affected route schedules at www.metro.net saying "Due to the proximity of the event area, Metro Blue Line passengers should note that the Metro Blue Line Pico Station may have to be closed or service may have to be suspended north of the Metro Blue Line Grand Station for unknown periods of time on Tuesday, July 7. Metro will make every effort to maintain Metro Blue Line service in this area throughout the day. Metro Blue Line patrons are asked to plan accordingly. Metro Rail services will be operating on regular weekday schedules."

Most locals understand this is the typical situation in a city like Los Angeles, where cars are such a focus.  The already bad traffic can so easily be brought to a standstill. Be patient out on the roadways and on public transportation today, folks.

Rest in peace, Michael.

Jody DeVere, AskPatty.com President and CeoJody DeVere
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