Just east of San Diego in the Sherman Heights neighborhood, northbound 19th Street approaches Market Street. Proceed ahead on 19th Street for the connection to California 94/Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway east to Lemon Grove, El Cajon, Jamul, Campo, and Tecate. Photo taken 07/25/14.
California 94 is an east-west route between San Diego and Boulevard via Jamul and Campo, coming close to the international border with Mexico several times. Most of the state route is two lanes, with the section between Tecate Junction and San Diego part of the National Highway System. While traffic counts are lower in the eastern sections of the state route, traffic steadily increases as one travels west. The section of California 94 between Rancho San Diego and downtown San Diego is a freeway.
Despite its length and importance, California 94 does not leave San Diego County for its entire journey.
Starting as a freeway near downtown, California 94 is also known as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway between Interstate 5 and California 125. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway has more signs bearing the name of the slain civil rights leader than any other in Southern California. This is due to a major sign replacement project that occurred in 1998-1999 and brought the first reflective overhead guide signs to San Diego. California 94 was one of the first freeways in San Diego to receive reflective signs, because the newer signs meet the new Caltrans signing standard for reflective signage.
It is also one of the few freeways to be as well known by its name as well as its number. According to a San Diego Union-Tribune article from April 25, 1999, the freeway was designated as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway in 1989, approximately ten years prior to the major sign installation. At that time, then-Senator Waddie Deddeh indicated that private contributions (not tax funds) would cover the cost of any sign installations with the Martin Luther King, Jr. name. However, in September 1998, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) authorized the expenditure of $1.4 million by the city of San Diego from its share of a half-cent, countywide sales tax.
As a side note, a companion effort in the mid-1980s to rename east-west Market Street in San Diego as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way was implemented for a time (by City Council vote) and later rescinded (after a public vote) due to local opposition. More on this brief renaming of Market Street can be found at The Starting Line - Looking Back on When San Diego Said 'No' to Honoring Martin Luther King. As a result, California 94 is the longest road in San Diego to be named in honor of Dr. King.
The following list provides the opening dates for the California 94 freeway, courtesy of C.J. Moon:
- Interstate 5 to 22nd Street - Circa 1963
- 22nd Street to 32nd Street - Circa 1959
- 32nd Street to California 15 - Circa 1959 (widened January 13, 1972)
- California 15 to Las Chollas Creek - Circa 1951 (widened Circa 1958)
- Las Chollas Creek to Interstate 805 - Circa 1957 (widened September 17, 1969)
- Interstate 805 to Euclid Avenue - Circa 1957 (widened January 29, 1974)
- Euclid Avenue to Federal Blvd On Ramp - Circa 1956 (widened June 4, 1980)
- Federal Blvd to College Grove Way - Circa 1956 (widened September 17, 1969)
- College Grove Way to College Avenue - Circa 1956 (widened September 23, 1971)
- College Avenue to Broadway On Ramp - Circa 1956 (widened September 17, 1969)
- Broadway On Ramp to Grove Street - Circa 1957 (widened September 17, 1969)
- Grove Street to California 125 - Circa 1957 (widened September 21, 1989)
- California 125 to Campo Road - September 21, 1976
- Campo Road to Bancroft - September 21, 1976 (widened December 21, 1988)
- Bancroft to Kenwood Drive - Circa 1963 (widened July 24, 1970)
- Kenwood Drive to Sweetwater Springs - July 24, 1970
- Sweetwater Springs to Avocado Boulevard - July 24, 1970 (widened October 31, 1984)
California 94 Highway Guides
- San Diego County: San Diego to Rancho San Diego
- San Diego County: Rancho San Diego to Tecate
- San Diego County: Tecate to Boulevard
Page Updated August 4, 2014.