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Author Topic: Questions on the 101 exit to Haskell Ave in Sherman Oaks  (Read 1196 times)

mrsman

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Questions on the 101 exit to Haskell Ave in Sherman Oaks
« on: February 15, 2021, 06:13:27 PM »

OK, I was following a local reddit on LA topics and the discussion led to people's opinions on the worst intersection in LA.  One person mentioned the US 101 exits onto Haskell where both the offramp from NB 101 and SB 101 allow traffic to turn in both directions.  The sign was so unique that I posted it on the Unique/Odd/Interesting thread in the Traffic Control forum.  The ensuing discussion led to some questions about the history of the exits onto Haskell that I know some people here could also address.


Both lanes may turn both ways:

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.1640019,-118.4749181,3a,75y,262.9h,76.1t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s6dkxuUqko1_haPlhLk31Gw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

US 101 exit onto Haskell Ave in Sherman Oaks, CA (Los Angeles).  Both NB and SB exits bring you to the same point.  For LA, this is one of the lowest volume exits on a freeway, probably the lowest in the SFV.  Still, this could be somewhat dangerous.  It seems as though they should probably remove one of the exits.

Whoa, trippy!

Also at that intersection, There is signage for both US-101 NORTH and US-101 WEST!

This is an unusual configuration—I've never seen something like this before.

The bigger question to me is that these ramps are right in the middle of a clearly residential area. So why do any of the ramps exist in the first place? It seems like you wouldn't want to have freeway ramps exit right into a neighborhood, especially since it's over half a mile (with several stop signs at that) to the nearest major road, Ventura Blvd. I can kinda see that maybe it's a way for I-405 SB traffic to get to Ventura Blvd—there's a slip exit on the SB US 101 to SB I-405 merge that is I-405 SB is blocked from using—but that doesn't seem to be signed in any way. Maybe there's historical context I'm not aware of...

I'll try to answer as best as I can, but there are some real experts on CA highway history who frequent the Pac SW forum may have additional information.

First, the direction of US 101.  US 101 nationally, as well as statewide in CA, is N/S and officially it is N/S.  Caltrans signs will use north/south exclusively.  US 101 is also known as the Ventura Freeway.  The Ventura Freeway is basically E/W in compass direction.  CA 134 is also part of the Ventura Freeway and the full Ventura Freeway from I-210/CA-134 interchange in Pasadena to the city of Ventura is absolutely E-W.  So it is also appropriate to note the on-ramp as being an on-ramp to the westbound Ventura Freeway, and historically there were signs that said this, but would largely leave out the 101 shield since it would be confusing (WB Ventura Fwy, but NB US 101?). 

To my chagrin, and probably many other CA-native roadgeeks, Caltrans is deemphasizing the historic names of the freeways and replacing the names with the numbers alone.  So they (generally) do not refer to the freeway as the Ventura Fwy, but rather solely as the 101.  The use of the definite article "the" is absolutely a common idiom in Southern CA, and it makes sense as a direct replacement of "the Ventura Freeway" with "the 101".  (This idiom does generally irk people who are not native to SoCal.  As I now live in MD, I am pretty good in not using "the" for some of the local highways like I-95 and I-270, but US 101, will always be "the 101" to me.)

OK, so if you have some signs with Ventura Fwy west, and you take away "Ventura Fwy" you are left with just west.  What do you replace it with?  US 101 of course!  So you do get to see plenty of signs that also say US 101 East/West, most of those are created by the city of Los Angeles.  You will see plenty of those signs around:

Example:

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.1592295,-118.4486466,3a,75y,203.42h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sFp4XYHYvaIeBtmrYkgiemw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

(IIRC the US 101 shield was added later to the sign, but it clearly uses E/W directions)

Second issue Hartsook Street.  At one time, Hartsook St did connect to this intersection.  THe white posts and the trees were designed to prevent thru traffic from the off ramps into the neighborhood.  When that occurred and waht the old directions were on the off-ramps, I do not recall.

Third issue residential neighborhood.  There are plenty of off-ramps and on-ramps on residential streets in the LA area.  The ramps were put in where it was feasible to put them in, and probably to reduce right of way acquisition.  In fact, there was also a nearby on-ramp as well to the US 101 SB, but that was removed years ago.

See:  https://cahighways.org/wordpress/?p=8768

Here's an example of an existing off-ramp to Melrose Ave from US 101 SB.  It dumps you onto a residential street, Ardmore Ave.  No plans to close this exit, to my knowledge.

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.0851165,-118.3016886,3a,75y,181.51h,78.93t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sfaqoowSP04kluyh7mXSwCg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

My guess is that this interchange was place here due to the 405 construction.  The 101 is the older of the two freeways.  There are currently EB on ramp and WB off ramps to Sepulveda Blvd, but likely there was a full diamond here prior to the construction of I-405. 
I suppose the Haskell onramps and offramps were constructed to maintain access to the 101 (especially WB) for the local area.  As it is, given the current configuration of ramps, SB I-405 traffic cannot easily reach Ventura Blvd.  Only EB US 101 traffic to the 405 SB transition road can reach the exit onto Ventura Blvd and SHerman Oaks Ave near the Marriott.  If you are on SB 405, I guess you take US 101 west to Haskell and take that to Ventura.  Unfortunately, the presence of this exit and entrance means that you have very little distance if you take that SB 405 to WB 101 ramp to actually merge onto the 101.  It is too short for such an important freeway to freeway move.
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sparker

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Re: Questions on the 101 exit to Haskell Ave in Sherman Oaks
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2021, 02:59:09 AM »

^^^^^^^^^^^
While the full construction of the US 101/Ventura Freeway (E/W) across the San Fernando Valley did precede the completion of I-405/San Diego Freeway (1959 vs. 1963), the interchange itself was one of the first structural facilities opened on either route in the Valley, dating from the end of 1957.  When the interchange opened, neither freeway ventured far from it; the San Diego/405 only extended north to Burbank Blvd. and south to the Sepulveda Blvd. undercrossing about a half-mile south of Ventura Blvd.  The Ventura Freeway itself only extended west to Balboa Blvd. until early 1959; notably it did not extend east until the section from I-405 to Laurel Canyon opened in late 1959.  At the time it was opened US 101 remained signed on Ventura Blvd. and wasn't realigned onto the Ventura Freeway until the section described above plus the remainder of the freeway west of Balboa Blvd. was connected to a previously opened section in Woodland Hills, also in late 1959, at which time "BUSINESS" banners were erected atop the existing US 101 reassurance signs on Ventura Blvd, most of which were the older small shields including the state name, albeit the last version of such featuring button copy on the numbers.   

Curiously, during its first year of operation traffic on the EB Ventura Freeway entering at the temporary end at Balboa Blvd. was directed to the Haskell exit to return to the existing Ventura Blvd. route. -- although there was no mention of US 101 on the freeway itself until the full cross-Valley segment was opened in the fall of 1959.  Kudos to my dad, who insisted on going out and driving the sections of freeway as they opened, and who brought me along for the ride; these particular segments were no exception!  BTW, the entire Ventura Freeway across the Valley had Big Black Signs, including the I-405 interchange; in retrospect, I wish I had been into photography at the time and gotten pictures of I-405 shields on black porcelain; these lasted until 1963, when I-405 was extended south then north; the interchange signage was changed to green at that time; the rest of US 101 changed over gradually until the last black overhead sign was gone circa 1970.  Also, the original US 101 reassurance signs were the 1953-spec larger shields omitting the state name and division line but finished in bright white enamel.  The current standard off-white reflecting shields replaced these in the '70's.   
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RZF

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Re: Questions on the 101 exit to Haskell Ave in Sherman Oaks
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2021, 06:50:01 PM »

Why did they get rid of the SB 101 entry onto Haskell? That wouldn't make any sense for residents in the neighborhood to have to go south on Haskell, turn left on Ventura Blvd, turn left on Sepulveda, and then reach a southbound 101 entrance (or alternatively, take Ventura Blvd west to Hayvenhurst).
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sparker

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Re: Questions on the 101 exit to Haskell Ave in Sherman Oaks
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2021, 06:57:30 PM »

Why did they get rid of the SB 101 entry onto Haskell? That wouldn't make any sense for residents in the neighborhood to have to go south on Haskell, turn left on Ventura Blvd, turn left on Sepulveda, and then reach a southbound 101 entrance (or alternatively, take Ventura Blvd west to Hayvenhurst).

Simple -- that ramp effectively merged with the RH offramp from SB US 101 to both directions of I-405; to directly access the SB 101 carriageway, one would have to cross two lanes of 405-bound traffic in a couple hundred yards -- not the safest thing in the world!  Also, it was a very short ramp; not enough distance to build up speed in any case -- even though later on it was signed for I-405 access only to discourage folks from trying to cross the ramp lanes -- which eventually were physically separated from the SB 101 carriageway.  Basically, its location and configuration made it a very unsafe ramp, so it was ultimately eliminated. 
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Mark68

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Re: Questions on the 101 exit to Haskell Ave in Sherman Oaks
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2021, 07:12:18 PM »

OK, I was following a local reddit on LA topics and the discussion led to people's opinions on the worst intersection in LA.  One person mentioned the US 101 exits onto Haskell where both the offramp from NB 101 and SB 101 allow traffic to turn in both directions.  The sign was so unique that I posted it on the Unique/Odd/Interesting thread in the Traffic Control forum.  The ensuing discussion led to some questions about the history of the exits onto Haskell that I know some people here could also address.


Both lanes may turn both ways:

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.1640019,-118.4749181,3a,75y,262.9h,76.1t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s6dkxuUqko1_haPlhLk31Gw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

US 101 exit onto Haskell Ave in Sherman Oaks, CA (Los Angeles).  Both NB and SB exits bring you to the same point.  For LA, this is one of the lowest volume exits on a freeway, probably the lowest in the SFV.  Still, this could be somewhat dangerous.  It seems as though they should probably remove one of the exits.

Whoa, trippy!

Also at that intersection, There is signage for both US-101 NORTH and US-101 WEST!

This is an unusual configuration—I've never seen something like this before.

The bigger question to me is that these ramps are right in the middle of a clearly residential area. So why do any of the ramps exist in the first place? It seems like you wouldn't want to have freeway ramps exit right into a neighborhood, especially since it's over half a mile (with several stop signs at that) to the nearest major road, Ventura Blvd. I can kinda see that maybe it's a way for I-405 SB traffic to get to Ventura Blvd—there's a slip exit on the SB US 101 to SB I-405 merge that is I-405 SB is blocked from using—but that doesn't seem to be signed in any way. Maybe there's historical context I'm not aware of...

I'll try to answer as best as I can, but there are some real experts on CA highway history who frequent the Pac SW forum may have additional information.

First, the direction of US 101.  US 101 nationally, as well as statewide in CA, is N/S and officially it is N/S.  Caltrans signs will use north/south exclusively.  US 101 is also known as the Ventura Freeway.  The Ventura Freeway is basically E/W in compass direction.  CA 134 is also part of the Ventura Freeway and the full Ventura Freeway from I-210/CA-134 interchange in Pasadena to the city of Ventura is absolutely E-W.  So it is also appropriate to note the on-ramp as being an on-ramp to the westbound Ventura Freeway, and historically there were signs that said this, but would largely leave out the 101 shield since it would be confusing (WB Ventura Fwy, but NB US 101?). 

To my chagrin, and probably many other CA-native roadgeeks, Caltrans is deemphasizing the historic names of the freeways and replacing the names with the numbers alone.  So they (generally) do not refer to the freeway as the Ventura Fwy, but rather solely as the 101.  The use of the definite article "the" is absolutely a common idiom in Southern CA, and it makes sense as a direct replacement of "the Ventura Freeway" with "the 101".  (This idiom does generally irk people who are not native to SoCal.  As I now live in MD, I am pretty good in not using "the" for some of the local highways like I-95 and I-270, but US 101, will always be "the 101" to me.)

OK, so if you have some signs with Ventura Fwy west, and you take away "Ventura Fwy" you are left with just west.  What do you replace it with?  US 101 of course!  So you do get to see plenty of signs that also say US 101 East/West, most of those are created by the city of Los Angeles.  You will see plenty of those signs around:

Example:

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.1592295,-118.4486466,3a,75y,203.42h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sFp4XYHYvaIeBtmrYkgiemw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

(IIRC the US 101 shield was added later to the sign, but it clearly uses E/W directions)

Second issue Hartsook Street.  At one time, Hartsook St did connect to this intersection.  THe white posts and the trees were designed to prevent thru traffic from the off ramps into the neighborhood.  When that occurred and waht the old directions were on the off-ramps, I do not recall.

Third issue residential neighborhood.  There are plenty of off-ramps and on-ramps on residential streets in the LA area.  The ramps were put in where it was feasible to put them in, and probably to reduce right of way acquisition.  In fact, there was also a nearby on-ramp as well to the US 101 SB, but that was removed years ago.

See:  https://cahighways.org/wordpress/?p=8768

Here's an example of an existing off-ramp to Melrose Ave from US 101 SB.  It dumps you onto a residential street, Ardmore Ave.  No plans to close this exit, to my knowledge.

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.0851165,-118.3016886,3a,75y,181.51h,78.93t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sfaqoowSP04kluyh7mXSwCg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

My guess is that this interchange was place here due to the 405 construction.  The 101 is the older of the two freeways.  There are currently EB on ramp and WB off ramps to Sepulveda Blvd, but likely there was a full diamond here prior to the construction of I-405. 
I suppose the Haskell onramps and offramps were constructed to maintain access to the 101 (especially WB) for the local area.  As it is, given the current configuration of ramps, SB I-405 traffic cannot easily reach Ventura Blvd.  Only EB US 101 traffic to the 405 SB transition road can reach the exit onto Ventura Blvd and SHerman Oaks Ave near the Marriott.  If you are on SB 405, I guess you take US 101 west to Haskell and take that to Ventura.  Unfortunately, the presence of this exit and entrance means that you have very little distance if you take that SB 405 to WB 101 ramp to actually merge onto the 101.  It is too short for such an important freeway to freeway move.

Wouldn't this problem be solved by installing a 3-phase traffic light? One phase for Haskell, one for SB 101 offramp and one for NB 101 offramp.
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Re: Questions on the 101 exit to Haskell Ave in Sherman Oaks
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2021, 10:39:32 AM »

Wouldn't this problem be solved by installing a 3-phase traffic light? One phase for Haskell, one for SB 101 offramp and one for NB 101 offramp.

I mean, it could be. But I'm not so sure that a signal would meet warrants there.
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sparker

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Re: Questions on the 101 exit to Haskell Ave in Sherman Oaks
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2021, 04:32:11 PM »

Wouldn't this problem be solved by installing a 3-phase traffic light? One phase for Haskell, one for SB 101 offramp and one for NB 101 offramp.

I mean, it could be. But I'm not so sure that a signal would meet warrants there.

That is probably one of the quietest and most isolated neighborhoods in that part of the Valley.  It's likely that there wouldn't be a significant number of conflicts with the "dual-dual" turn indicators, since much of the incidental/non-local use would be for drivers attempting to get off US 101 because of congestion (a regular feature in the area) -- but that would largely be directional -- EB(SB) in the morning rush and WB(NB) during the afternoon.  The signage, while a bit counterintuitive, probably doesn't create a lot of problems in a real-world setting.
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Re: Questions on the 101 exit to Haskell Ave in Sherman Oaks
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2021, 09:03:20 PM »

Wouldn't this problem be solved by installing a 3-phase traffic light? One phase for Haskell, one for SB 101 offramp and one for NB 101 offramp.

I mean, it could be. But I'm not so sure that a signal would meet warrants there.

That is probably one of the quietest and most isolated neighborhoods in that part of the Valley.  It's likely that there wouldn't be a significant number of conflicts with the "dual-dual" turn indicators, since much of the incidental/non-local use would be for drivers attempting to get off US 101 because of congestion (a regular feature in the area) -- but that would largely be directional -- EB(SB) in the morning rush and WB(NB) during the afternoon.  The signage, while a bit counterintuitive, probably doesn't create a lot of problems in a real-world setting.

Agreed.  ramp traffic low.  Haskell Ave traffic is low.  A bad design that for all intents and purposes is not a real problem because the usage is so low.

So while there is a possibility of cars making conflicting turns here, everyone is going slow and generally low traffic that it is workable.
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Re: Questions on the 101 exit to Haskell Ave in Sherman Oaks
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2021, 09:03:51 PM »

It seems like another possible fix could be a roundabout. I think there's enough pavement to fit a roughly 60-foot [mini?] roundabout. Both off-ramps would feed into a single circulating lane.

Given that it would simply be placed directly on top of what currently exists, the westbound off-ramp would feed into the roundabout slightly before the eastbound off-ramp, slightly dampening the capacity of the latter off-ramp. But as has been said before, the area is lowly-trafficked anyways, so I doubt it would matter much.
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