Traffic alert: Biden, Obama will appear at downtown L.A. fundraiser Saturday evening

SANTA MONICA - CA - MARCH 12, 2015 - President Barack Obama arrived at 440 20th St. to attend a fund raiser for Democrats in 2016, March 12, 2015. (Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)
Then-President Obama arrives at a Santa Monica fundraiser in March 2015. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

President Biden arrived in Los Angeles early Saturday for a star-studded fundraiser expected to break records by bringing in more than $28 million from thousands of supporters. But many more Angelenos are likely to be affected by the presidential visit — because of traffic.

The gathering — featuring former President Obama, actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts and other celebrities — is scheduled to take place Saturday evening at the Peacock Theater in downtown Los Angeles. At least one protest is planned outside.

Roads and street parking in the area, including the L.A. Live entertainment complex that is home to the theater, will be blocked at times, and heavy traffic is expected. Additionally, it’s unclear where Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and Obama will be staying during their time in Los Angeles, but freeway closures should be expected when their motorcades carom around town.

Los Angeles transportation and police officials referred questions about road closures to the U.S. Secret Service, which declined to provide details but warned of potential congestion.

Read more: 'Not a happy election': Why this star-studded Hollywood fundraiser is so crucial for Biden

“The U.S. Secret Service works closely with our local law enforcement partners to minimize disruptions to the public while ensuring the highest level of safety and security,” said Melissa McKenzie, a spokesperson for the Secret Service. “For security reasons, we are unable to release specific motorcade routes in advance, but the public can expect intermittent road closures and parking restrictions as part of the visit.”

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation was more blunt.

“Travelers should anticipate delays in the downtown area and plan accordingly,” said spokesperson Colin M. Sweeney.

While nothing is scheduled Saturday at Arena, next to the Peacock Theater, the Dodgers are playing a 6:10 p.m. game against the Kansas City Royals a few miles away at Dodger Stadium.

The Federal Aviation Administration has restricted airspace for "VIP Movement" over a swath of the region from 4:45 a.m. Saturday to 3 p.m. Sunday for pilots who are not flying presidential, passenger, cargo, military, law enforcement or air-ambulance aircraft.

Traffic jams prompted by presidential visits are not surprising given the enormous security resources needed to protect the leader of the free world, particularly when he is not in a secure site such as the White House or an event space that has been thoroughly prescreened.

But in Los Angeles, the ensuing traffic jams are also legendary. They were so bad during Obama’s tenure that the phrases “Obamajam” and “Obamageddon” became part of the local vernacular.

Read more: What was the worst Obama traffic jam in recent years?

“Mr. President, I elected you to be in the White House, not on the 405,” one commentator wrote on Twitter during a 2012 Obama visit to Los Angeles for a fundraiser at George Clooney’s Studio City house. “There are times other than rush hour during which you can visit L.A.”

Obama’s handlers clearly learned from such experiences, increasingly using helicopters to ferry the president around the city to reduce road and highway closures.

Biden has also created traffic jams when he has visited the region, such as when parts of the 405 Freeway were shut down during a weeknight rush hour so the president could travel from Century City to media mogul Haim Saban’s sprawling Beverly Park estate for a fundraiser in February.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.