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Author Topic: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield  (Read 3242 times)

Max Rockatansky

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CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« on: December 01, 2017, 07:44:32 PM »

Took a jog south onto CA 58 to clinch CA 204 in Bakersfield.  I was planning on CA 223 also but the fog on 43 had me held up and took up too much time:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsm9XTD3f
« Last Edit: April 22, 2021, 12:33:05 AM by Max Rockatansky »
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2017, 05:45:38 PM »

Finished my write up on CA 204 and Old US 99 in Bakersfield.  The routing of 99 wasn't quite as wacky as Fresno but pretty much everything else was.

http://surewhynotnow.blogspot.com/2017/12/california-state-route-204-former-us-99.html
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sparker

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2017, 05:27:06 AM »

CA 204 takes on additional significance as its northern "diagonal" section is now the main way to access CA 178 from CA 99 (and vice-versa) now that the segment through downtown between CA 204 and CA 99 has been deleted from the state system.   
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2017, 08:13:52 AM »

CA 204 takes on additional significance as its northern "diagonal" section is now the main way to access CA 178 from CA 99 (and vice-versa) now that the segment through downtown between CA 204 and CA 99 has been deleted from the state system.   

Hell, I thought that CA 178 ought to been realigned onto CA 204 to simplify things.  It would probably be an easier sell by Caltrans to relinquish the part south of CA 178 given that is surface grade versus the expressway portion to the north.
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Occidental Tourist

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2017, 03:55:26 PM »

CA 204 takes on additional significance as its northern "diagonal" section is now the main way to access CA 178 from CA 99 (and vice-versa) now that the segment through downtown between CA 204 and CA 99 has been deleted from the state system.   

Hell, I thought that CA 178 ought to been realigned onto CA 204 to simplify things.  It would probably be an easier sell by Caltrans to relinquish the part south of CA 178 given that is surface grade versus the expressway portion to the north.

Agreed.  Makes more sense than continuing to run it through town.

By the way, does anyone know how 58 will be routed to I-5 once the Westside Parkway to CA 99 connection is completed?
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TheStranger

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2017, 04:15:33 PM »


By the way, does anyone know how 58 will be routed to I-5 once the Westside Parkway to CA 99 connection is completed?

I've seen Stockdale Highway mentioned as such but don't have a source off the top of my head as a moment.
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Chris Sampang

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2017, 10:19:55 PM »

Hell, I thought that CA 178 ought to been realigned onto CA 204 to simplify things.  It would probably be an easier sell by Caltrans to relinquish the part south of CA 178 given that is surface grade versus the expressway portion to the north.

Damn fine idea! -- and one that should get over to District 6 sooner than later.  I'd retain the rest of CA 204 for the time being as a way to get 178 traffic down to 58 or even SB 99 -- at least until the indirect connecting ramps from NB 99 to SB 204 (and vice-versa) are signed as 99-to-178/178 to 99 access.  Not a particularly useful thing to leave a major interregional route such as CA 178 "hanging" in the middle of Bakersfield! 

By the way, does anyone know how 58 will be routed to I-5 once the Westside Parkway to CA 99 connection is completed?

I've seen Stockdale Highway mentioned as such but don't have a source off the top of my head as a moment.

It'll most likely be an alignment close to and parallel to Stockdale, probably situated to avoid as much improved property as feasible.  Haven't heard about any plans for interchange with I-5; but I'd expect a trumpet of sorts.
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oscar

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2017, 10:58:16 PM »

Hell, I thought that CA 178 ought to been realigned onto CA 204 to simplify things.  It would probably be an easier sell by Caltrans to relinquish the part south of CA 178 given that is surface grade versus the expressway portion to the north.

Damn fine idea! -- and one that should get over to District 6 sooner than later.  I'd retain the rest of CA 204 for the time being as a way to get 178 traffic down to 58 or even SB 99 -- at least until the indirect connecting ramps from NB 99 to SB 204 (and vice-versa) are signed as 99-to-178/178 to 99 access.  Not a particularly useful thing to leave a major interregional route such as CA 178 "hanging" in the middle of Bakersfield!

A check of GMSV indicates there is signage on SB 99, directing traffic to 178 via both 204 and 24th St.  Also, GMSV indicates -- and I recall seeing, when I drove through Bakersfield this summer -- that there still are reassurance markers on the relinquished part of 178 in the 24th St. corridor. Ditto the relinquished part of CA 58 west of 99 (per GMSV -- I haven't driven that lately, took the Westside Pkwy to Stockdale Hwy to I-5 instead). Bakersfield might be taking more seriously than usual the typical legal requirement that it maintain some form of route signage for relinquished segments, so that travelers aren't left "hanging" by the relinquishments.

My interest in this is I'm trying to figure out what to do about these and other relinquishments in the draft California state route set for the Travel Mapping project -- preferably in a way that avoids chopping up routes (especially in the Los Angeles area) into little tiny pieces. Sometimes that's hard to avoid, especially where local jurisdictions blow off the "continuation signage" requirement, making it hard for travelers to follow a relinquished route segment to get to an unrelinquished segment at the other end. The Bakersfield relinquishments, I'm not so sure about, since the city is not only required to but apparently actually does treat its relinquished segments for some purposes as if they were still part of the state highway system, even if technically they aren't.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2017, 09:23:13 AM »

I seem to recall there is signage at the western end of the CA 178 Freeway directing traffic to CA 99, as states above the surface route signage is definitely there on the GSV.  I was under the impression that the Rosedale Highway was still under Caltrans maintenance as CA 58 until the Centennial Corridor was complete?...it certainly is signed as 58 still. 
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2021, 12:32:52 AM »

I'm working on an update for this blog, to that end I'm through the 1924-1936 CHPWs thus far.  There has been a substantial find, there are two maps which show US 99 on 19th Street and not 18th Street.  For those that don't know 18th Street is signed as the historic route of US 99 within the City of Bakersfield, there appears to be incorrect.  The 1930 Division of Highways Map City Insert shows 19th Street as does December 1931 CHPW:

https://www.gribblenation.org/2017/12/california-state-route-204-former-us-99.html

So essentially this is an open call for any maps or photos that show US 99 on 18th Street.  I've been digging around all night and I have found nothing to substantiate anything other than 19th Street until 1933.  It seems that US 99 was moved onto an interim alignment on California Avenue between Union Avenue and Chester Avenue to make way for the 1935 Union Avenue Subway.  I'm having to this blog updated with the 1936-67 CHPWs by the end of tomorrow and re-publish it with all newly available information pertaining to US 99 in Bakersfield.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2021, 08:16:15 PM »

I'm getting a bunch of confirmations that 18th Street is off the mark so I'm rolling with 19th....

The City of Bakersfield for over a century has a been a hub of transportation through the heart of California.  Present day California State Route 204 on Union Avenue and Golden State Avenue is aligned over a corridor which was historically occupied by; US Route 99, US Route 399 and US Route 466.  The West Bakersfield Freeway was opened to traffic in summer of 1963 which saw US Route 99 realigned out of downtown Bakersfield and was the start of the decline of the US Route System in the City.   

We originally published our blog regarding California State Route 204 in late 2017.  Since that time several new sources of information such as the California Highways & Public Works and AASHO Database have reemerged.  This article new includes what we believe to be the full story of the US Route System in the City of Bakersfield. 

https://www.gribblenation.org/2017/12/california-state-route-204-former-us-99.html
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mrsman

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2021, 02:39:43 PM »

This is all interesting.  Based on your research, you have determined that the original 99 corridor was Chester Ave to 19th streeet to Union.  Essentially, forcing a turn in the middle of Downtown Bakersfield.

Chester goes right through the heart of Bakersfield, and Union is a good ways to the east and makes a decent first-level bypass, which is what eventually happened once the Golden State Ave diagonal route came to be.  Not only does that bypass avoid the heart of downtown, you also avoid two 90 degree turns, in favor of more gradual turns along the diagonal.

When looking at a map of today's Bakersfield, one sees that Chester Ave actually goes diagonally to the southeast to meet Union Ave near the municipal airport.  This roadway seems to have come about far later than any of the old US 99 alignments discussed in your article.  Does anyone have any idea as to what could have promped this connection?  A desire to force a business route directly through Chester that will meet the original 99 well south of town?  A definite curiosity.

While not knowing the true reason behind the historic society saying that 18th (rather than 19th) was the crosstown connector between Chester and Union, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that 18th is two-way and 19th is one-way.  Obviously, those traffic controls came about long after  99 left 19th, but if one wanted to retrace the old road in some way, perhaps it is easier to do so on a two-way road.  Or perhaps, as the linked article did mention, the city preferred long distance traffic on 18th to avoid the trolley that was on 19th.

We had a great thread here a couple years ago discussing how frequently 101's alignment through central Los Angeles was changed: 7th street, 2nd street, and Macy street were all at different times the 101's main pre-freeway routing.  Many of the routes changed from year to year.  Also, the north-south connectors on the west side of town to reach Sunset and the east side of town to reach Beverly, Whittier, or Telegraph also changed pretty frequently. 

See: https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=23727.msg2425478#msg2425478

I could imagine similar considerations affecting Bakersfield.  Until the Golden state ave bypass was constructed, the city authorities (with or without Caltrans permission) could have decided that 18th was better than 19th and changed the on the road signage, even though the official state maps all had 19th.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2021, 02:52:57 PM by mrsman »
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2021, 02:45:42 PM »

Regarding 19th and 18th.  I think you hit on the problem, traffic control has changed over time pertaining to 19th.  Through the modern lens if you didnít have access to a bunch of old CHPWs and DOH maps it would appear that 18th was the only logical corridor in the 1920/early 30s.  19th also lines up far more cleanly with Grove Street and early LRN 58 which is even more evident in early Bakersfield maps.  But then again there is a CSAA and ACSC map out there that shows 18th in use as 99 at one point?

This isnít too dissimilar to the issues I found myself facing trying to replicate the original alignment of US 101 in San Francisco.  It was possible to replicate southbound but wasnít in a northbound direction.  San Francisco, Los Angeles and Fresno all had regular interactions between street cars on signed highways so I donít that as being any different for Bakersfield.

What I would love to see is how 99 would have looked passing by the Beale Memorial Clock Tower (17th and Chester) on the interim route used in 1933.  I doubt photos of such a short lived alignment actually exist, but one can always hope. 
« Last Edit: April 25, 2021, 02:54:16 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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ClassicHasClass

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2021, 11:12:35 PM »

Always loved the "FREEWAY ENTRANCE" signs on the ramp to CA 204 from SB CA 99 ... which is, also, a freeway.  :pan:
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2021, 11:55:53 PM »

Always loved the "FREEWAY ENTRANCE" signs on the ramp to CA 204 from SB CA 99 ... which is, also, a freeway.  :pan:

Thatís part of why I think itís amusing the CTC would put 204 up for relinquishment.  Why would the City want to accept an ancient freeway and a massive railroad underpass?
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TheStranger

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2021, 03:48:25 AM »

The most intriguing map inset from the blog post:



Not just the concepts of I-5 and US 99 as parallel freeway corridors by 1959, but also wondering if this means Route 178 was supposed to follow today's 204 freeway west to 99! I know at one point 204 was considered to be incorporated as part of the Centennial Corridor/Westside Parkway project (to link 178 to 99) too.
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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2021, 07:34:00 AM »

There is a definite need to connect the 178 freeway to 99 as a freeway in some way or fashion.  Perhaps a connection to the already existing 204 freeway stub would mean cheaper construction and less homes taken by eminent domain.

With today's construction of the westside parkway, there is some merit to connecting it to that as well, but the practical will be difficult as there are too many homes and businesses to take.  Looks like 178 will always be an orphaned freeway.
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sparker

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2021, 04:27:36 PM »

There is a definite need to connect the 178 freeway to 99 as a freeway in some way or fashion.  Perhaps a connection to the already existing 204 freeway stub would mean cheaper construction and less homes taken by eminent domain.

With today's construction of the westside parkway, there is some merit to connecting it to that as well, but the practical will be difficult as there are too many homes and businesses to take.  Looks like 178 will always be an orphaned freeway.

Perhaps an interim arrangement would be to simply sign CA 178 over the northern/diagonal part of CA 204, with full BGS treatment both NB and SB from the CA 99 freeway.  Fortunately there are ramps from SB 204 to EB 178 and vice-versa to expedite such signing.  Obviously there will be some surface street cross traffic on present 204 and a connection to and from southward CA 99 that's a bit awkward -- but at least there would be a direct connection from 99 to 178.  Actually extending the 178 freeway to dovetail with the diagonal 204 alignment might be problematic and require quite a bit of property taking, not to mention the rebuilding of the Oildale overpass and the Kern River bridges (and hopefully direct connections to CA 99 south).  Even though much of the funding for the project was locally sourced, the Westside connection property taking is still resonating locally; it might be a bit much to even suggest a 178 freeway extension for some time to come.   If I were the D6 chief engineer, I'd seriously consider the "base line" approach of relocating 178 as suggested above; the remainder of 204 south of there could be readily relinquished -- if the city of Bakersfield were willing to assume ownership and maintenance (and that's a big if). 
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 204; former US 99 through Bakersfield
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2021, 08:37:14 PM »

There is a definite need to connect the 178 freeway to 99 as a freeway in some way or fashion.  Perhaps a connection to the already existing 204 freeway stub would mean cheaper construction and less homes taken by eminent domain.

With today's construction of the westside parkway, there is some merit to connecting it to that as well, but the practical will be difficult as there are too many homes and businesses to take.  Looks like 178 will always be an orphaned freeway.

Perhaps an interim arrangement would be to simply sign CA 178 over the northern/diagonal part of CA 204, with full BGS treatment both NB and SB from the CA 99 freeway.  Fortunately there are ramps from SB 204 to EB 178 and vice-versa to expedite such signing.  Obviously there will be some surface street cross traffic on present 204 and a connection to and from southward CA 99 that's a bit awkward -- but at least there would be a direct connection from 99 to 178.  Actually extending the 178 freeway to dovetail with the diagonal 204 alignment might be problematic and require quite a bit of property taking, not to mention the rebuilding of the Oildale overpass and the Kern River bridges (and hopefully direct connections to CA 99 south).  Even though much of the funding for the project was locally sourced, the Westside connection property taking is still resonating locally; it might be a bit much to even suggest a 178 freeway extension for some time to come.   If I were the D6 chief engineer, I'd seriously consider the "base line" approach of relocating 178 as suggested above; the remainder of 204 south of there could be readily relinquished -- if the city of Bakersfield were willing to assume ownership and maintenance (and that's a big if).

Conceptually it makes sense given there isnít a ton that would need to be done to Golden State Avenue to make it fully limited access between 99 and 178.  Such a conversion could in theory be a carrot to dangle in front of the city of Bakersfield to take back what the remaining segment of Union Avenue which is CA 204.  Route continuity isnít an issue anymore given 178 through downtown is relinquished and 58 will soon be moved from Rosedale Highway.

That said the Union Avenue Underpass is a really big remaining structure which could be a problem getting momentum towards a relinquishment.  Hell CA 225 (about 0.09 miles) only still exists at all in Santa Barbara as a similar underpass structure which the City apparently didnít want to take back. 

Interestingly though there is precedent for a former freeway segment of 99 being relinquished.  Golden State Boulevard north of Church Avenue in Fresno is a short locally maintained freeway stub which connects to the current 99 freeway. 
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 08:41:53 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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