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Pasadena Freeway

July 18, 2008 |  7:30 am

A map from 1912 shows the plans for the Arroyo Seco Parkway. Note the Silver Lake Parkway, which was not built. The Arroyo Seco Parkway was actually proposed even earlier, as part of Charles Mulford Robinson's "City Beautiful" project of 1906-7. (He also advocated realigning Spring Street and putting City Hall there ... and he proposed planting jacarandas along the city's streets).
Los Angeles Times file photo

This photograph of the Arroyo Seco Road, dated 1921, shows a pleasant country lane between Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles.
Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

Construction on the river channel next to the Pasadena Freeway, July 1, 1935.
Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

Construction is nearly finished, Oct. 17, 1940.
Los Angeles Times file photo

Rose Queen Sally Stanton, Gov. Culbert Olson and Highway Patrol Chief E. Raymond Cato at the ribbon cutting of the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway), Dec. 30, 1940. This is in the general location east of Fair Oaks Avenue in South Pasadena where the sinkhole opened July 16, 2008.
Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

And in a matter of months (Feb. 4, 1941) after the opening, the southbound Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway) is backed up at the Figueroa Tunnels. If you ever wondered what a 67-year-old traffic jam looks like, this is your answer.
Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

Emergency turnouts are added to the Pasadena Freeway in 1950 to ease congestion and prevent accidents.
Photograph by Gil Cooper / Los Angeles Times

Workers install center dividers on the Pasadena Freeway, June 15, 1961. If you have ever seen the beating that these guardrails take from accidents, you can imagine what it was like when there was nothing but perhaps a little landscaping to keep cars from plunging into oncoming traffic. Email me

Below, the Orange Grove Avenue off-ramp on the southbound Pasadena Freeway via Google maps' street view.

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