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Author Topic: Original US 101 Alignment in the Los Angeles Area  (Read 646 times)

stevenliu96

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    • The 101 Historic and Current
Original US 101 Alignment in the Los Angeles Area
« on: October 01, 2018, 04:12:48 AM »

I know this question has been asked before, but AAA has recently released their 1926 Los Angeles to San Diego map and I have been wanting to know the original alignment of US 101 in the Los Angeles area. However, the 1926 AAA maps do not match up with what I read on https://www.aaroads.com/california/us-101hd_ca.html.

I believe this very first alignment of US 101:
(Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/NpkAbX4KM5t)
> NORTH on Harbor Blvb
> WEST on Whittier Blvb
> NORTH on Pickering Ave
> WEST on Beverly Blvb
> WEST on 3rd St (Pl)
> WEST on 4th St (Pl)
> NORTH on Alameda St
> WEST on 2nd St
> WEST on Beverly Blvb
> NORTH on Virgil Ave
> WEST on Santa Monica Blvb
> NORTH on Cahuenga Blvb
> WEST on Ventura Blvb
However, I have not found any maps (including the 1926 AAA map) that actually has the above alignment for US 101.

Sometime in the 1930s, US 101 was rerouted away from the main commercial districts of the cities that it passed through:
(Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/tPD9GWxChTU2)
> NORTH on Harbor Blvb
> WEST on Whittier Blvb
> NORTH on Boyle Ave
> NORTH on Pleasant Ave
> WEST on Cesar Chavez Ave (Sunset Blvb)
> NORTH on Cahuenga Blvb
> WEST on Ventura Blvb
This is the alignment that is shown on historic maps before the freeway was built.

So this makes me wonder what is the real original route of US 101 in the Los Angeles area? And just for comparison, here's the freeway version of the route on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/352JLsurd4C2)
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sparker

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Re: Original US 101 Alignment in the Los Angeles Area
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2018, 02:46:51 AM »

^^^^^^^^^
Actually, I'm the one who wrote up the original pre-1929 routing of LRN 2 for Andy Field; until both Whittier Blvd. was completed as a 4-lane arterial and Sunset Blvd. was extended along its current alignment east from Hollywood to downtown L.A., the series of streets cited in the AARoads article constituted the original routing.  The Pinkerton-Beverly-4th (with a short couplet with 3rd)-Alameda-2nd-Beverly-Virgil alignment was always intended to be temporary; those streets formed the highest-capacity more or less direct route until the "straightline" routes were completed.  That write-up was done back about 2004; the information was derived from both back-issues of CHPW, archival maps in the Caltrans HQ library, and local city records from Whittier, Montebello, and L.A. itself.   The latter included pictures of standard "ACSC" signage directing traffic to the various cities along the streets cited.  The earliest US 101 signage circa 1931 occurred after LRN 2 was moved to the Whittier/Boyle/Pleasant/Macy/Sunset alignment and out of downtown Whittier, Montebello, and central L.A.  According to local pictures, prior to the 1929 reconstruction Whittier Blvd. was simply a 2-lane street west of the Washington Blvd./Pinkerton Ave. intersection in Whittier.  Apparently there was something of a controversy regarding just how LRN 2 would enter central L.A. from the southeast, with the City of L.A. preferring Washington Blvd. as the route; that would have continued clear to Figueroa St., at which point it would have turned north on what later would become LRN 165 to 2nd Street, then west from there.  But the Division of Highways preferred the eastern Beverly Blvd. through Montebello, since it segued into 4th Street, which was planned as the artery east to the Whittier Narrows and on to La Puente (later LRN 172); it was already under state maintenance.

After 1929-30, when LRN 2 was moved to its 2nd and final all-surface-street iteration (and correctly described in the second part of the listing above), there still was plenty of controversy, particularly regarding the decision to detour north from Whittier Blvd. on Boyle and Pleasant Avenues.  Boyle was and is a 4-lane facility as far north as Brooklyn St. (the eastern extension of Macy and now part of Cesar Chavez Ave.); it would have been simple enough to take LRN 2/US 101 north and then turn left on Brooklyn, also 4 lanes.  But the Boyle Heights merchants bristled at heavy truck traffic through their midst, so the "cutoff" along the top of the Boyle Bluffs (the current US 101/Santa Ana freeway sits at the base of the bluffs), Pleasant Ave. -- always a 2-lane residential street -- was "drafted" into service (an alignment that served until 1947, when LRN 2 was rerouted onto the nascent Santa Ana Freeway).  A war of words between Boyle Heights merchants and the residents along Pleasant Ave. commenced, but the status quo remained and heavy trucks rolled down a residential street for 17 years.

The 2nd Street alignment of LRN 2 dictated that both the US 66 (on LRN 165) and US 60 (then on LRN 77) routes extended past Macy St. and into the heart of downtown L.A.  To date (and I'll admit I stopped looking once I left SoCal almost six years ago) I haven't located any pictures of shield assemblies for the downtown junctions (which would have been, respectively, at the corners of 2nd and Broadway and 2nd and Main Street); of course, after 1930 they moved north to the Macy St. alignment of LRN 2/US 101.  L.A.-based posters are more than welcome to take up the gauntlet and seek out pictures or even more data -- I'd recommend looking at L.A. city street records or the equivalent for L.A. County (although one would have to go down to Norwalk, where such things are kept, for the latter).  Best wishes & good luck for anyone continuing the quest!   

 
P.S.:  In reference to the "ACSC" signage, this refers to the small-to-medium rectangular black-on-white signs that served as directional indicators between and within cities, suburbs, and outlying towns until BBS's took over after WWII, and themselves replaced by MGS's and BGS's after that.
   
 
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 02:54:30 AM by sparker »
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mrsman

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Re: Original US 101 Alignment in the Los Angeles Area
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2018, 03:29:55 PM »

Was there any time when the routing through Los Angeles used Whittier-Soto-7th-Vermont-Sunset-Cahuegna?  I seem to recall reading that, specifically for the time when US 66 ended in Downtown LA, it ended at the intersection of US 101 at Broadway and 7th.

It seems to me that the original alignment is as Steven proposes, generally utilizing 2nd through Downtown and then heading out Beverly-Virgil-SM-Cahuenga.  But I believe that Whittier Blvd was widened before the alignment went north to Sunset thru Downtown LA.  At that point, US 101 traffic stayed on Whittier as far as it went.  Before the 6th street viaduct, traffic used Soto to connect to 7th and continued along those lines.

Also, as we now consider Sunset-Cesar Chavez as one street, before the Macy Street viaduct was built, Sunset - Macy  - Brooklyn was not a continuous corridor.  In fact, Sunset ended right at Union Station, where LA St meets Alameda.

Don't forget also that at some point, the corridor along the eastside of LA shifted from Whittier/Harbor to Telegraph/Lakewood/Manchester as a more direct routing to Santa Ana.  I believe this occurred before the construction of the freeway started.

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sparker

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Re: Original US 101 Alignment in the Los Angeles Area
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2018, 09:16:30 PM »

^^^^^^^
East of Figueroa, Sunset Blvd. was a western portion of Macy Street until the late 1930's, when the Union Station complex (which included the big USPS sorting facility north of the station) was under development.  When the stub-end station tracks were built, the cut-and-cover tunnel that still exists was placed in service.  In 1939, the street was renamed Sunset Blvd., with that name following a cutoff east of Main Street that crossed Alameda Street and ended in a small traffic circle at the Union Station front door.  US 101/LRN 2 stayed on the original Macy St. alignment through the new tunnel, and continued to Pleasant, where the state highway turned south.

LRN 2 and US 101 never used the 6th Street viaduct, which was built by the L.A. traffic bureau -- largely because the Division of Highways didn't want to assume maintenance of the structure -- which is why the route turned north on Boyle, at the east end of the viaduct, rather than extend directly toward downtown. 

As far as the Whittier/Telegraph situation went, when the initial 1947 section of the Santa Ana Freeway extended from the Aliso Street bridge over the L.A. River, its eastern terminus was Indiana Ave., which was the eastern boundary of the City of Los Angeles.  Prior to the freeway's extension, US 101 "split" at Indiana Ave.; US 101 itself (LRN 2) turned north a couple of blocks to Whittier Blvd., where it turned east onto its 1934-era alignment through Whittier and La Habra.  Also in '47 Bypass US 101 was established; it turned south on Indiana Ave. to East Olympic Blvd., and followed that street (aka SSR 26 and LRN 173) east to Telegraph Road, which was LRN 166.  Both SSR 26 and Bypass 101 turned SE on to Telegraph Road; they multiplexed on that street to Lakewood Blvd. in Downey (SSR 19/LRN 168).  At that point SSR 26 continued east on Telegraph, while Bypass 101 turned south with SSR 19; this multiplex extended to Firestone Blvd. (SSR 10/LRN 174).  At that point Bypass 101 turned east to multiplex with LRN 10; this continued all the way to the intersection of Manchester Ave. and Los Angeles street in Anaheim, where all routes (SSR 10/Bypass 101/LRN 174) terminated and US 101/LRN 2 continued on Manchester into Santa Ana.
As the Santa Ana Freeway was constructed further and further southeast, Bypass 101 was signed over it until it extended past Lakewood Blvd. circa 1956.  When it reached Pioneer Blvd. in Norwalk,  the "bypass" banners over the US 101 shields on the freeway were removed, and US 101 signage was removed from the Whittier/Harbor/Los Angeles Ave. LRN 2 routing.  US 101 temporarily extended down Pioneer Blvd. to the 5-way intersection of Firestone Blvd. and San Antonio Ave (aka SSR 35/LRN 170); it then subsumed former SSR 10 and Bypass 101 all the way into Anaheim; SSR 10 was truncated back to the Firestone/Pioneer intersection.  That arrangement lasted only about a year and a half; the freeway was constructed around downtown Norwalk and merged with Firestone Blvd. east of that city -- and was built right on top of that street all the way to the Orange county line.  SSR 10 was then restored to the connecting section of Firestone Blvd.   Once all that was done, the Division of Highways considered the largely parallel SSR 26 redundant and removed signage east of the Olympic/Telegraph intersection by the end of 1957. 

 
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mrsman

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Re: Original US 101 Alignment in the Los Angeles Area
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2018, 09:05:14 AM »

^^^^^^^
East of Figueroa, Sunset Blvd. was a western portion of Macy Street until the late 1930's, when the Union Station complex (which included the big USPS sorting facility north of the station) was under development.  When the stub-end station tracks were built, the cut-and-cover tunnel that still exists was placed in service.  In 1939, the street was renamed Sunset Blvd., with that name following a cutoff east of Main Street that crossed Alameda Street and ended in a small traffic circle at the Union Station front door.  US 101/LRN 2 stayed on the original Macy St. alignment through the new tunnel, and continued to Pleasant, where the state highway turned south.

LRN 2 and US 101 never used the 6th Street viaduct, which was built by the L.A. traffic bureau -- largely because the Division of Highways didn't want to assume maintenance of the structure -- which is why the route turned north on Boyle, at the east end of the viaduct, rather than extend directly toward downtown. 

As far as the Whittier/Telegraph situation went, when the initial 1947 section of the Santa Ana Freeway extended from the Aliso Street bridge over the L.A. River, its eastern terminus was Indiana Ave., which was the eastern boundary of the City of Los Angeles.  Prior to the freeway's extension, US 101 "split" at Indiana Ave.; US 101 itself (LRN 2) turned north a couple of blocks to Whittier Blvd., where it turned east onto its 1934-era alignment through Whittier and La Habra.  Also in '47 Bypass US 101 was established; it turned south on Indiana Ave. to East Olympic Blvd., and followed that street (aka SSR 26 and LRN 173) east to Telegraph Road, which was LRN 166.  Both SSR 26 and Bypass 101 turned SE on to Telegraph Road; they multiplexed on that street to Lakewood Blvd. in Downey (SSR 19/LRN 168).  At that point SSR 26 continued east on Telegraph, while Bypass 101 turned south with SSR 19; this multiplex extended to Firestone Blvd. (SSR 10/LRN 174).  At that point Bypass 101 turned east to multiplex with LRN 10; this continued all the way to the intersection of Manchester Ave. and Los Angeles street in Anaheim, where all routes (SSR 10/Bypass 101/LRN 174) terminated and US 101/LRN 2 continued on Manchester into Santa Ana.
As the Santa Ana Freeway was constructed further and further southeast, Bypass 101 was signed over it until it extended past Lakewood Blvd. circa 1956.  When it reached Pioneer Blvd. in Norwalk,  the "bypass" banners over the US 101 shields on the freeway were removed, and US 101 signage was removed from the Whittier/Harbor/Los Angeles Ave. LRN 2 routing.  US 101 temporarily extended down Pioneer Blvd. to the 5-way intersection of Firestone Blvd. and San Antonio Ave (aka SSR 35/LRN 170); it then subsumed former SSR 10 and Bypass 101 all the way into Anaheim; SSR 10 was truncated back to the Firestone/Pioneer intersection.  That arrangement lasted only about a year and a half; the freeway was constructed around downtown Norwalk and merged with Firestone Blvd. east of that city -- and was built right on top of that street all the way to the Orange county line.  SSR 10 was then restored to the connecting section of Firestone Blvd.   Once all that was done, the Division of Highways considered the largely parallel SSR 26 redundant and removed signage east of the Olympic/Telegraph intersection by the end of 1957.

So this means that I was mistaken about the 7th street alignment of US 101?

Was there a time when US 66 terminated at 7th and Broadway?  If so, did this mean that US 66 did not end at US 101 (which passed by Broadway along either 2nd street or Macy Street) but continued further into Downtown LA to terminate in the heart of Downtown?

There is a sign at the corner of Broadway and 7th denoting the one-time terminus of US 66:

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.0452603,-118.25342,3a,75y,214.88h,86.79t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s7Hb7IrO9UIh-knYKCFa_-Q!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo1.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3D7Hb7IrO9UIh-knYKCFa_-Q%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D111.47028%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i16384!8i8192

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sparker

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Re: Original US 101 Alignment in the Los Angeles Area
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2018, 03:43:03 PM »

Post was getting a bit long, so "bypassed" 7th Street alternative.  Post the shift off the 4th Street/Beverly Blvd. alignment out toward Montebello southward to Whittier Blvd. circa 1929-30, LRN 2 (NB) was temporarily shifted south one block on Boyle to 7th (the 6th Street viaduct was still U.C.), taking 7th all the way to Figureroa before turning north.  At that time, Macy St./Sunset Blvd. was still under construction, and both the city of L.A. and the Division of Highways wanted to remove the state highway from the Alameda Ave./2nd Street alignment; the city to get trucks out of the Civic Center, and the state to shift maintenance of the 2nd Street tunnel to the city.  Until Macy and Sunset were completed as through routes, LRN 2 used the 7th/Figueroa to 2nd before turning west on the pre-Sunset Blvd. alignment.  LRN 165/US 66/SSR 11 was extended south on Broadway to 7th, where prior to 1935 US 66 terminated.  SSR 11 turned west on 7th to Figueroa, where as LRN 2/US 101 turned north, SSR 11 and the continuation of LRN 165 turned south toward San Pedro.  US 60/LRN 77 paralleled the Broadway alignment and had its temporary terminus at the corner of Main Street and 7th (1929-35). 

Once Sunset Blvd. was finished between Hollywood and the Civic Center circa 1934 -- and Macy Street (Sunset's eastern extension) was widened to accommodate the increased state highway traffic, LRN 2 & US 101 were removed from the 7th/Figueroa/2nd Street/Beverly/Virgil route onto the new (at that time) multilane "superstreet" (Sunset was fashioned by connecting segments of several existing streets and widening to 4 through lanes).  The Boyle/Pleasant combination was pressed into service through Boyle Heights as a connector to Whittier Blvd.  At that time, both US 60 and US 66 were truncated back to their host streets' intersections with Macy (later Sunset).  When the Figueroa Tunnels under Elysian Park were opened in 1936, US 66/SSR 11/LRN 165 was rerouted through them and the state highway removed from the Broadway alignment; correspondingly, when the Ramona Parkway was extended to Mission Street about the same time, US 60 was removed from its Main Street routing and relocated to the parkway (which eventually became the San Bernardino Freeway).  US 60 turned north on Mission St. about a block from the parkway's western end and terminated at the corner of Mission and Macy.  US 99, which prior to the completion of the Figueroa Tunnels used Avenue 26 and Daly Street to reach US 60 and Main St., where it originally turned east on its multiplex with that route, was rerouted to go through downtown L.A. by simply multiplexing US 66 and SSR 11 south through the tunnels to Sunset/Macy (the original street name division point was at Figueroa until Union Station was opened in 1939), then turned east on Macy with SB US 101/LRN 2 to Mission, where it assumed the multiplex with US 60 (US 70 joined the crowd a couple of years later).  In 1935 the extension of Santa Monica Blvd. to Sunset (US 101) was completed in eastern Hollywood; at that time US 66 was extended over US 101 to this point before turning west on Santa Monica Blvd. to its namesake city.  The corner of Figueroa/Sunset/Macy became the focal point of downtown L.A.'s state highway network; US 6 was added to the mix by 1938. 

The only thing both the city of L.A. and the Division of Highways could agree on in those days was that the main state highway conduit needed to be removed from downtown; precisely where it would go was a matter of constant argument; originally the city wanted a southerly bypass via Washington Blvd -- but the Division preferred the northern path over Whittier Blvd. that was eventually deployed (both Whittier and Montebello wanted to rid their downtown areas of interregional traffic).  But since that corridor was completed in segments over a 6-year span, with the Whittier Blvd. facility being the first to open in 1930 -- and Macy, which threaded between L.A.'s Civic Center and Chinatown areas, was pretty much torn up until 1935 (that was a massive rebuild with 6 lanes of traffic -- ironically about a mile had to be torn up a year after opening for construction of the Union Station underpass).  But the city of L.A. whined enough to get US 101 routed over the 7th Street routing and off 2nd Street during the construction period.  Local lore has it that the "back-and-forth" about the various state alignments in the area prompted L.A. to come up with its original freeway plan well in advance of anything the state was working on save the Arroyo Seco and Ramona parkways.  Seems that both parties wanted to get the freeways into operation ASAP if for no other reason -- besides consolidating commercial and through traffic onto facilities other than city streets -- than to shut each other up!   
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mrsman

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Re: Original US 101 Alignment in the Los Angeles Area
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2018, 11:35:08 PM »

Thanks. That history was remarkable. 



Nexus 5X

EDITED TO ADD:  When I was growing up in the '70s and 80's, if we traveled back home to West Hollywood from Disneyland we would generally use I-5 to US 101 to Melrose Ave.  However, at really busy times like weekday afternoons, I suggested exiting US 101 at Spring Street, taking that exit and utilizing 2nd street as a relatively quick way to bypass a few Downtown traffic signals and avoiding the rush hour backups from the 4-level and the US 101 heading to the Valley.  (The Santa Ana Fwy was not a problem as in the afternoon, traffic was largely in the opposite direction.)

Our route took us off the freeway, following Spring - 2nd - Beverly and then into our neighborhood just west of La Brea Ave.  No idea at the time that the 2nd and Beverly routing was actually part of the original 101.

I also find it interesting that of the many east-west streets transversing Downtown, 2nd is the narrowest -- the last one that I would have though to ever host a major route like US 101.  (Although to be fair, probably in the 20s and 30s all the streets were just as  narrow and that the wider one-way thoroughfares between 3rd and 9th (except 7th) were widened as a result of Bunker Hill development in the 60s.)  But your history does make sense.  2nd was chosen to host 101 because of the tunnel under Flower-Olive becoming the quickest way to reach Figueroa and the neighborhoods to the west.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 12:04:59 AM by mrsman »
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sparker

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Re: Original US 101 Alignment in the Los Angeles Area
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2018, 12:36:37 PM »

^^^^^^^^^^
There are a few things that give away the Beverly/Virgil alignment as the former LRN 2:  artifacts of Division of Highways-style concrete pavement down the center of those streets that was there back in the late '60's when I was doing my research about this sort of thing (subsequently repaved circa 1990).  Also:  2nd Street skirted the lower end of L.A.'s Civic Center public-building "campus"; like Van Ness Ave. in S.F. and L Street in Sacramento, the Division of Highways had a marked tendency to route many of the original major highways past physical seats of government, particularly ones like that civic center, which concentrated federal, state, and local agencies in one compact zone. 
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