The History of Southern California Freeway
The freeway era in Southern California started with the construction of the Arroyo Seco Parkway in 1940. This route, which was part of US 66, is now the Pasadena Freeway, Route 110. Since the creation of the route, regional planners have been working towards the goal of a comprehensive regional freeway and expressway system.
(Click on image for the full size map. Full-size image size: 174K.)
(Click on image for the full size map. Full-size image size: ~370K.)
|Figure 1-1. 1947 Master Plan of Metropolitan Los Angeles Freeway adopted by the Regional Planning Commission||Figure 1-2. 1949 Proposed Parkway Plan—Automobile Club of Southern California (ACSC)|
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|Figure 1-3. 1946 Proposed Parkway Plan—Los Angeles|
Figure 1-1 shows the 1947 Master Plan as developed by the Regional Planning Commission. Others also were preparing plans at this time; Figure 1-2 shows the proposed Parkway System developed by the Auto Club of Southern California. There was also a complete 1946 Report: "Interregional, Regional, Metropolitan Parkways in the Los Angeles Metro Area" This plan (Figure 1-3) recognized the upcoming freeway system. The interstates were referred to as the "United States Interregional Highway System", and included five Southern California routes:
|Route No.||Description||Length||Estd. Cost|
|1||San Bernadino Parkway and portions of Riverside Parkway and Los Angeles River Freeway||26.1 mi||$31,678,000|
|2||Ramona Parkway (excluding existing portions)||29.4 mi||27,800,000|
|3||Portions of Ventura (Riverside) Parkway and Hollywood Parkway (excluding existing portions of the latter)||39.0 mi||66,366,000|
|4||Santa Ana Parkway||12.8 mi||14,650,000|
|9||Portion of Santa Monica Parkway||11.0 mi||25,500,000|
The State Regional System was also acknowledged. It noted of the routes listed, 67 miles were included in the State Division of Highway's list of critical parkway projects needed in the immediate future:
|Route No.||Description||Length||Estd. Cost|
|5||Sepulveda Parkway||47.8 mi||$53,453,000|
|6||Arroyo Seco-Harbor Parkway||19.0 mi||44,305,000|
|7||Portions of Inglewood Parkway||6.0 mi||16,508,000|
|8||Portions of Hollywood Parkway||6.3 mi||9,450,000|
|10||Portions of Slauson Parkway||9.5 mi||15,775,000|
|11||San Bernardino (Colorado) Freeway and portions of Riverside Parkway||41.9 mi||60,480,000|
|12||Portion of Temescal Parkway||4.0 mi||4,000,000|
|13||Foothill Freeway||28.5 mi||32,500,000|
|14||Concord Parkway and portions of Los Angeles River Freeway||26.5 mi||39,750,000|
|15||Portions of Olympic Parkway||3.6 mi||14,890,000|
|16||Portions of Pacific Coast Parkway||12.0 mi||19,200,000|
The 1946 Plan proposed the following local routes:
As one can see, the plans were roughly similar, but had some distinct differences. Some of the routes on these plans correspond to existant highways today; some correspond to highways still on the books (as of 2000) but never constructed, and still others were only dreams of the planners. Even when planned, not all routes were in the state system. Here are some comments on how these plans compare to today's routes, as a baseline (alphabetical order):
Appian Parkway: from Long Beach to the Orange County line
Arroyo Seco Parkway. The first freeway, now the Pasadena Freeway, Route 110.
Eaton Canyon Parkway. This corresponds to the unconstructed Route 164.
Concord Parkway. The northern portion of this (i.e., N of Pasadena) corresponds to the I-210. The portion S of Pasadena corresponds to present-day I-710, the Long Beach Freeway (including the unconstructed I-710 portion between I-10 and I-210).
San Bernardino (Colorado) Freeway. No, this doesn't correspond to the present-day San Bernardino Freeway. Rather, this is the present-day Foothill Freeway, I-210. Note that, even back in 1947, the route was planned to continue to San Bernardino (the "new" I-210, "former" Route 30, portion)
Olympic Parkway. This is close to present-day I-10, until the merge with the Venice Parkway.
Venice Parkway. Although Venice Blvd is Route 187, it was never planned as freeway, so the parkway notion must have been a regional planner's idea.
Harbor Parkway. This corresponds to the present-day Harbor Freeway, I-110.
Inglewood Parkway. This was never constructed, and connected with the Slauson Parkway. This eventually morphed into I-105.
La Brea/Crenshaw Parkway. A parkway that would replace La Brea Boulevard between Hollywood and Inglewood. For the most part, this corresponds to the unconstructed portion of Route 170, which was originally planned as freeway down Laurel Canyon, La Break, and Crenshaw. The portion of this parkway between the Ventura Parkway (US 101) and the Hollywood Parkway (Route 170) was not on the state books.
La Habra Parkway. This corresponds to a planned Route 39 freeway that was never constructed as such.
Long Beach Freeway. This is the present-day Long Beach Freeway.
Los Angeles River Parkway. This coresponds to the portion of I-5 in downtown Los Angeles.
Los Coyotes Parkway. The correspondence of this route to a present-day state highway is unknown, although portions might correspond to Route 39.
Manhattan Parkway. Connecting Manhattan Beach to the Sepulveda Parkway (now I-405). Another parkway that was never constructed or added to the state highway system.
Marina Parkway. This correspodns to the present-day constructed portion of Route 90.
Normandie Parkway. A Midtown north-south connector along Normandie. This is another odd amalgam. Until it reaches the Harbor Parkway, this plausably corresponds to present-day unconstructed Route 258. However, Route 258 continued down to I-405, whereas this parkway merges into the Harbor Parkway. What's interesting is the 1963 map shows only the San Pedro to I-405 portion of Route 258 (LRN 291); the remainder, which shows on the 1996 map, appears not to have been on the books.
Ocean/Coast Parkway. This is a portion of the original planned Route 1 freeway (which would also have continued N up the coast).
Pacific Parkway. This appears to correspond to Route 107.
Rio Hondo Parkway. This was also part of the proposed Route 164 freeway.
Riverside Parkway. Based on the position on the map, this corresponds to present-day I-5.
Santa Monica Parkway. This one is confusing. For some of the route, it appears to correspond to the unbuilt Route 2 "Beverly Hills" Freeway. However, the western portion might correspond to present-day I-10. It appears that present-day I-10 was constructed between the Santa Monica Parkway and the Olympic Parkway.
Seaside Parkway. Present-day constructed Route 47.
Slauson Parkway. The Slauson Parkway ran from the Inglewood and Harbor Parkway (now Route 110) junction to the Santa Ana (Route 5) and Rio Honda (Route 164) junction. The Metropolitan Planning Commission had the route continuing to Yorba Linda. The roughly corresponds to today's Route 90. Never constructed.
Terminal Island Freeway. Present-day constructed Route 103, although at one time part of Route 47. The route also shows some unconstructed portions. Portions of this would have been the "Industrial" freeway.
Whitnall Freeway. Across the San Fernando Valley from Burbank to Chatsworth. This is still on the books as Route 64, but was never constructed. Note that this route turns south after the Hollywood Parkway and connects with the Normandie Parkway. There was also a continuation of the route to the west, and then south along Malibu Canyon, but this is not shown on the map.
Part 2 continues with how these routes morphed in the 1950s.
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