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Westwood Businesses, Streets Quiet Amid 405 Freeway Closure

WESTWOOD (CBS) — Business was slow and parking plentiful in Westwood Saturday as Angelenos avoided the area due to the much-anticipated closure of the San Diego (405) Freeway.

Restaurant patios were empty and parking meters were available on every street within Westwood Village. Most businesses were void of customers.

"We'll probably close early," said Lorena Quintero of London Cleaners on Gayley Avenue, noting that most of the shop's Saturday business comes from regulars.

"These customers came earlier in the week," she said. "We'll be fine."

Over at the Brandy Melville boutique, store clerk Lindsay Raquepo said it's been slow.

"On my ride here, there was no one on the road," Raquepo said of her drive from Venice to Westwood.

The typically packed Modern Parking Inc. lot on Broxton Avenue had just a few cars at 10:30 a.m.

Parking attendant Eyassu Adera said business was unusually light Friday night, selling out just one third of the lot.

"A lot of the (Westwood) employees -- they don't show up," he said. "Friday and Saturday are usually crazy but yesterday was slow."

Karl Johansson of the Westwood Newstand at Kinross Avenue and Westwood Boulevard said the threats of "Carmageddon" had not affected his business.

"I have all my customers as usual," he said.

Westwood businesses "have all their customers because 80 percent of our clientele is local so they don't (drive) on the weekends," Johansson added. "It was hyped up tremendously."

That hype prompted Brentwood resident Louise Olson to show up to the Westwood FlyAway at 10:30 a.m. for her 2 p.m. flight to Minneapolis.

"I think it was really good to get everybody ready," Olson said. "I think it really said a lot about the citizens of L.A. that everybody listened."

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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