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Author Topic: The Torrance Freeway would have changed the face of the South Bay  (Read 1024 times)

bing101

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http://blogs.dailybreeze.com/history/2018/11/24/the-torrance-freeway-would-have-changed-the-face-of-the-south-bay/

It was proposed to be on CA-107 and near Hawthorne Blvd. Also the Pacific coast freeway was another proposed route in the Torrance and Lomita Areas.
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sparker

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Re: The Torrance Freeway would have changed the face of the South Bay
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2019, 11:48:11 AM »

http://blogs.dailybreeze.com/history/2018/11/24/the-torrance-freeway-would-have-changed-the-face-of-the-south-bay/

It was proposed to be on CA-107 and near Hawthorne Blvd. Also the Pacific coast freeway was another proposed route in the Torrance and Lomita Areas.

While the Lomita-Torrance segment of the Pacific Coast/Hawthorne freeway system was rife with controversy, it was the CA 1 segment east of there traveling through Wilmington and Long Beach that attracted the most attention as well as negative sentiments and subsequent comments, since it tore up a number of old-stock houses and commercial structures by passing through an arguably historic district immediately north of downtown Long Beach (more or less along 10th Street).  Unlike the Torrance section to the west, this one had been formally adopted, with the ROW "set in stone", since the early '60's.   Its eastern end segued onto CA 22 on East 7th Street, which fed directly east into the I-405/605 interchange.  By the beginning of '75 Caltrans had acquired about half of the required ROW west as far as the west limits of the adopted section, at Western Ave. in Harbor City; construction, slated to start in late '78 or early '79, was to proceed east to west.  With the advent of the decidedly anti-freeway Gianturco regime at Caltrans at the beginning of 1975, a review of urban freeway mileage -- whether formally adopted or simply future corridor concepts -- was underway as the beginning of a major "purge".  The Long Beach section, since even within its advanced planning stages was the subject of localized protests against its development, stood out -- and became the well-publicized "poster child" for the program of eliminating as much unbuilt urban freeway mileage as possible.  So by mid-'76 the plans had been shelved, the adoption rescinded, and the ROW put up for sale; the last state-owned property had been disposed of by 1980.  Of course the Torrance extension, which had been on indefinite hold since '74, was itself formally rescinded at the same time -- so the full CA 1/107 "loop" from the east side of Long Beach to I-405 in the Lawndale vicinity was off the books after that.   And with the Coastal Commission having, after 1977, effective "veto power" over projects within the shoreline watershed (which decidedly included the territory traversed by that loop), the entire notion of a freeway approximating that original concept would be D.O.A. from that point forward.
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mrsman

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Re: The Torrance Freeway would have changed the face of the South Bay
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2019, 02:53:15 PM »

http://blogs.dailybreeze.com/history/2018/11/24/the-torrance-freeway-would-have-changed-the-face-of-the-south-bay/

It was proposed to be on CA-107 and near Hawthorne Blvd. Also the Pacific coast freeway was another proposed route in the Torrance and Lomita Areas.

While the Lomita-Torrance segment of the Pacific Coast/Hawthorne freeway system was rife with controversy, it was the CA 1 segment east of there traveling through Wilmington and Long Beach that attracted the most attention as well as negative sentiments and subsequent comments, since it tore up a number of old-stock houses and commercial structures by passing through an arguably historic district immediately north of downtown Long Beach (more or less along 10th Street).  Unlike the Torrance section to the west, this one had been formally adopted, with the ROW "set in stone", since the early '60's.   Its eastern end segued onto CA 22 on East 7th Street, which fed directly east into the I-405/605 interchange.  By the beginning of '75 Caltrans had acquired about half of the required ROW west as far as the west limits of the adopted section, at Western Ave. in Harbor City; construction, slated to start in late '78 or early '79, was to proceed east to west.  With the advent of the decidedly anti-freeway Gianturco regime at Caltrans at the beginning of 1975, a review of urban freeway mileage -- whether formally adopted or simply future corridor concepts -- was underway as the beginning of a major "purge".  The Long Beach section, since even within its advanced planning stages was the subject of localized protests against its development, stood out -- and became the well-publicized "poster child" for the program of eliminating as much unbuilt urban freeway mileage as possible.  So by mid-'76 the plans had been shelved, the adoption rescinded, and the ROW put up for sale; the last state-owned property had been disposed of by 1980.  Of course the Torrance extension, which had been on indefinite hold since '74, was itself formally rescinded at the same time -- so the full CA 1/107 "loop" from the east side of Long Beach to I-405 in the Lawndale vicinity was off the books after that.   And with the Coastal Commission having, after 1977, effective "veto power" over projects within the shoreline watershed (which decidedly included the territory traversed by that loop), the entire notion of a freeway approximating that original concept would be D.O.A. from that point forward.

IMO, I don't really miss not having a CA-107 freeway, since its only purpose would be in giving the South Bay a better connection to the freeway system.  Its lack of building did not adversely affect the freeway system as a whole, since it was on the coastal side of I-405.  I feel differently about other freeways that should have been built, like 710 to Pasadena, as it is so needed for connectivity within the existing system as it was south of I-210.

Slightly off-topic, but since you brought up Gianturco, sparker- could you tell us why 710 stayed on the books through this anti-highway period even though for my recollection there was a lot of protests in South Pasadena?  Of course, the protests prevented the highway from being built, but 710 was only officially demapped in 2017.
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sparker

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Re: The Torrance Freeway would have changed the face of the South Bay
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2019, 06:38:01 PM »

Slightly off-topic, but since you brought up Gianturco, sparker- could you tell us why 710 stayed on the books through this anti-highway period even though for my recollection there was a lot of protests in South Pasadena?  Of course, the protests prevented the highway from being built, but 710 was only officially demapped in 2017.

Now, that's a damn good question!  Wish I had a definitive answer; all I can think of is that back in the period she was Caltrans director ('75-'83), that freeway -- since it wasn't proposed as an Interstate until after she was out of office (although the CA 11-to-I-110 conversion did occur on her watch in '81-'82) -- possibly either wasn't on the chopping-block radar -- or, more likely, enough folks in D7 bitched like hell about removal of what they at the time considered a vital piece of the central L.A. metro network.   Alternately, since various South Pasadena parties (including a family friend who lived right in the proposed freeway's path) had essentially frozen the then-CA 7 planning process via a combination of personal and class-action litigation, Gianturco & company might have reasoned that the issue would resolve itself to their satisfaction even without their having to take official action.  In any case, since those lawsuits were still active by mid-'83 (according to that friend), Gianturco had left office with the routing intact (then still a surface facility straddling Fremont St., where my friend resided) but the prospects for development uncertain.   Once the successor Caltrans management was in place under governor Deukmejian and his penny-pinching ways, the prospect of having actual construction of a very costly project on the books -- particularly one with litigation hanging over its head -- wouldn't have been considered cost-effective, so the project was "back-burnered" until the various issues could be worked out (which obviously has never occurred!).  Besides, the various Caltrans districts had a "backlogged" agenda of projects that had laid dormant during the previous eight years (including the "missing US 101 freeway link" from Morgan Hill to San Jose, among others) that were let one after another during '83-'84 -- but often "scaled down" in regards to capacity to save money.  So funding-wise, a major urban connector just wasn't in the cards during that timeframe.  Nevertheless, D7 had purchased quite a bit of property along the ROW; most of it in Pasadena itself south of the 7/710 "stub", but some in South Pasadena and Alhambra from property owners who obviously hadn't joined in the litigation; most of that wasn't sold off until quite recently.     
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mrsman

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Re: The Torrance Freeway would have changed the face of the South Bay
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2019, 10:52:03 AM »

Thank you sparker.  I always imagined given the two stub ends being already constructed that would be a much harder pull to simply remove the project.  A case like the Torrance freeway never even been constructed in the first place could simply be removed without significant consternation.  The projects that were somewhat completed obviously have a constituency like caltrans engineers who would want to see it being finished.  Also given the construction of the gaps there is a very clear traffic need to close the gaps.  If the Long Beach freeway were never constructed north of the Santa Ana freeway there wouldn't be as much traffic trying to head due north Pasadena.  That traffic with dissipate amongst many corridors (Atlantic Garfield San Gabriel rosemead) and not all head up Fremont as is the case today.

The Beverly hills freeway was also removed during this time period.  While this was a continuation of the Glendale freeway it wasn't gap closure since the stub was only on one end.  Plus of course given Beverly hills having very powerful people in their midst caltrans listened to their concerns right away.

As an interesting side note, I grew up in a house in West Hollywood that was on The Beverly hills freeway right of way.  My parents bought the house in a caltrans auction when I was 3 years old.

Nexus 5X

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sparker

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Re: The Torrance Freeway would have changed the face of the South Bay
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2019, 04:41:29 AM »

Thank you sparker.  I always imagined given the two stub ends being already constructed that would be a much harder pull to simply remove the project.  A case like the Torrance freeway never even been constructed in the first place could simply be removed without significant consternation.  The projects that were somewhat completed obviously have a constituency like caltrans engineers who would want to see it being finished.  Also given the construction of the gaps there is a very clear traffic need to close the gaps.  If the Long Beach freeway were never constructed north of the Santa Ana freeway there wouldn't be as much traffic trying to head due north Pasadena.  That traffic with dissipate amongst many corridors (Atlantic Garfield San Gabriel rosemead) and not all head up Fremont as is the case today.

The Beverly hills freeway was also removed during this time period.  While this was a continuation of the Glendale freeway it wasn't gap closure since the stub was only on one end.  Plus of course given Beverly hills having very powerful people in their midst caltrans listened to their concerns right away.

As an interesting side note, I grew up in a house in West Hollywood that was on The Beverly hills freeway right of way.  My parents bought the house in a caltrans auction when I was 3 years old.

Nexus 5X



I do know a little bit about houses sitting in a proposed freeway ROW.   Back in early 1959, my great-aunt and her husband lived in my home town of Glendale at the corner of Fairmont and Kenilworth -- directly in the path of one of the options -- the northern one -- being considered then for the Ventura (then-SSR 134, now simply CA 134) freeway.  The other "southern" option swung south of Colorado St. before turning east, continuing across Glendale and Eagle Rock a couple of blocks south of the existing highway -- and my grandfather's residence at the time was a couple blocks south of Colorado on the hill between Glendale & Eagle Rock -- and would have been taken by that option!  So no matter which route the state highway commission eventually selected, one of my relatives would have been displaced.  As it turns out, the northern route was chosen near the end of that year, and my great-aunt moved to a house over near the Glendale/Burbank city line in 1961, when ROW was acquired.  Ironically -- my grandfather had moved into his particular residence earlier in '59; a couple of years later his former residence in Eagle Rock near the intersection of Fletcher & Verdugo found itself in the path of the Glendale/CA 2 freeway, which didn't start construction on that segment until the late '60's.   Even though I was a budding roadgeek at that time, incidents like this started my interest in the behind-the-scenes activities regarding how facilities are planned and the political machinations behind the process.  It was about that time that I discovered California Highways & Public Works at my local library, devouring every issue I could lay my hands on (they apparently didn't carry the publication until about 1953, so stocked back issues only went back to that time).  When I got to UCR in '67, I found they had every issue back to 1936 in the "stock bins" -- and microfiche back to the publications' inception in '26.  Now that was the "mother lode"!   
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