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Arroyo Seco Parkway
Society
Main Category
Sub Category
Era
Date Created
Location Country
us
Coordinates
4.09592, -118.205135
Address1
Pasadena to Los Angeles
Address2
Arroyo Seco Pkwy
City
Los Angelos
State
Country
Creator

With its landscaped embankments, limited access, and depressed roadway, Arroyo Seco Parkway (now known as the Pasadena Freeway) became the prototype of the Los Angeles freeway system. Motorists enjoy a scenic drive featuring landscaped embankments lush with native chaparral. The curving alignment traverses a chain of small parks shaded by sycamores and eucalyptus and exposed views of the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains. The experience gained by observing traffic operations on the parkway confirmed the value of acceleration/deceleration lanes and the minimum practical width for planted medians. The prohibition of cross-traffic provided additional driving safety and convenience. Facts 1. This 6.7-mile-long parkway was the first urban freeway to be built in the United States west of the Mississippi River. 2. Asphalt and portland cement concrete pavements were installed side-by-side for comparison purposes. 3. Despite having to carry over four times its projected design-year traffic, the parkway has remained in almost the same configuration as when it was opened in 1940.

"[I]t takes courage to do a thing the first time, no matter how simple and obvious it may appear after it is done. And this, fellow citizens, is the first Freeway in the West."
- California Govenor Culbert Olson at the freeway's dedication
Image Credit
Courtesy Flickr/prayitno (CC BY 2.0)
Image Caption
Arroyo Seco Parkway (also called the Pasadena Freeway) as it is seen today by thousands of commuters
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