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Post-1964 Legistlative Route Graphic

Former State Route 252

Click here for a key to the symbols used. An explanation of acronyms may be found at the bottom of the page.

Routing Routing

Former Rte 252No current routing.

Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

Post-1964 Legistlative Route Graphic ▸In 1963, Route 252 was defined as “Route 5 to Route 805 near the north city limits of National City.”

▸This routing was deleted in 1994 by AB 3132, Chapter 1220.

Rte 252 Freeway RoutingIn 1965, the CTC adopted a freeway alignment for Route 252 in its entirety in San Diego and National City. This 1.8-mile connecting link between I-5 and I-805 freeways proceeds easterly from I-5 at Wabash Boulevard (Route 103), approximately one block north of Beta Street, to 43rd Street
in San Diego. It then turns southeasterly to the adopted route for the future I-805 at Division Street in National City.

This was supposed to act as the north end of an I-5 bypass around National City and Chula Vista, utilizing I-805. According to Andy Field, the huge flyover and approach ramps at the I-805 43rd Street exit are the beginnings of this planned freeway, which was killed locally in 1980.

 The earliest public discussion of the freeway was at a meeting of the San Diego City Council on April 30, 1968. This is when three resolutions related to the freeway agreements with the Division of California State of California Highways covering the proposed development route were discussed. The state wanted to build Route 252 as an East/West link between I-5 and I-805. The route for the 252 was only 1.3 miles long , and it went right down the middle of South Crest. At this meeting , the city council was being asked to sign off on that route. At the meeting, the council voted unanimously to build the freeway. Councilman Leon Williams , San Diego's first black city council member, was appointed to the fourth Council District, which included South Crest, in 1969. He was one of the most vocal critics of Route 252. When Councilman Williams got on the council, he hired community organizers , recruited residents to serve as captains of their block to make sure everyone knew what was going on at City Hall. The concern was that this was one of the places where people of color could own their own homes and businesses. When the state went looking for where to build its freeways, communities like South Crest, where land values were relatively cheap , were easy targets. With the city's blessing , the state seized and demolished 280 homes for the Route 252 freeway. Hundreds of people had to leave with little help to relocate, and 66 acres of South Crest were cleared and left vacant. The ones who were the most affected emotionally and financially were the homeowners who had been there for a number of years. Once the state started clearing the right of way for Route 252, community organizing became key. In 1973, activists in Southeast San Diego founded the Black Federation, and stopping Route 252 was one of their main campaigns.  In 1975 , the city council revisited its support for Route 252, but the freeway opponents were no match for Jacob Dekama of Caltrans District 11 and the interest groups. The council voted 6 to 3 to stick with the plan of building the freeway. So in 1975, Caltrans got a renewed mandate from San Diego politicians to go ahead and build Route 252. The agency wasted no time and built the interchange with I-805 that year in anticipation of the full freeway getting built later. However, the change from the Reagan to the Brown administration led to a push for a more balanced transportation system. At the same time, the movement to stop Route 252 in Southwest was making some progress. It got the city council to revoke its support for the freeway in 1978 , but they still had to convince the state not to build it. Things stayed in limbo until 1986, when the State Transportation Commission took Route 252. That meeting in 1986 was the final nail in the coffin for Route 252. Caltrans was ordered to abandon the freeway and sell the land all 66 acres back to the city of San Diego. It took a lot longer to rebuild South Crest than it did to tear it down. But by the year 2000, the Rpite 252 corridor had been redeveloped with hundreds of new homes, new water and sewer pipelines, parks, restaurants and the community's first grocery store in more than 30 years.
(Source: KPBS "Freeway Exit" Podcast, Ep. 3, "The Freeway Revolts", 5/16/2023)

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the California Division of Highways acquired 66 acres of property in Southcrest to build Route 252. It would have been an east-west connector between I-5 and I-805. Decades of community opposition ultimately forced the state to abandon the freeway project and sell the land back to the city of San Diego, which gradually redeveloped it into housing, parks, a shopping center and an elementary school.
(Source: KPBS, 6/13/2023)

A redevelopment project later resulted in a grocery store (Northgate Market Plaza, as of 2020) at the terminus of the off-ramp. Behind this shopping area lies abandoned right-of-way that not been developed. Overgrown with weeds, this swath of land clearly shows the path Route 252 would have taken across the Southcrest community to meet I-5. These ramps were built around 1974-75, long before the rest of the California 252 project would have been started. These ramps still show up as part of Route 252 in the CalTrans Photologs in 2001. Several widened bridges and ramps at the I-15/Route 15 junction clearly show that future expansion for the Route 252 connection was envisioned.

At the center of Southcrest Trails Neighborhood Park sits a public art project inspired by the community's decades-long battle to stop the freeway. The circular plaza was designed by artists Ingram Ober and Marisol Rendón. The husband and wife duo were selected by the city's Commission for Arts and Culture to develop a public art installation for the park, which opened in 2018. Ober and Rendón learned the backstory of the battle through meetings with local residents. Those interviews inspired the artists to photograph residents pronouncing the various names their community has been known by — Southcrest, Shelltown, Chollas Creek and home. Those portraits were merged into composite images and turned to molds, which then produced roughly 380 concrete bas-relief sculptures. The end result is a chorus of community members reclaiming both their land and their neighborhood's identity.
(Source: KPBS, 6/13/2023)

Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

This was part of LRN 283, defined in 1959. It appears to have been near 8th Street.

Naming Naming

El Toyon Freeway, Southcrest Freeway

Other WWW Links Other WWW Links

Freeway Freeway

Originally to have been freeway; later deleted from SHC 253.1.

Pre-1964 Legislative Route Pre-1964 Legislative Route

In 1947, Chapter 1449 extended the definition of LRN 252 to include “the highway from San Leandro to Oakland via Alameda and the Posey Tube”, noting that this segment “is part of [LRN 252]”. However, the problem was that LRN 252 did not exist at the time. In 1949, Chapter 1422 repealed the erroneous section, and created the route as an extension of LRN 226.

The real LRN 252 was created in 1959 by Chapter 1062, with the definition “[LRN 69] near Nicasio to [LRN 1] near Novato”. This runs from present-day Route 251 to US 101, and is an unconstructed portion of Route 37.

Acronyms and Explanations:

Back Arrow Route 251 Forward Arrow Route 253

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