Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Not-So-Golden State Freeway

Each freeway in LA has its own personality, and if you don’t believe me, try driving on the 710 (Long Beach Fwy.) towards the Port of Los Angeles versus the 210 (Ronald Reagan Fwy.- a regrettable name) near Hansen Dam. Yes, they’re in different parts of the county, but when a freeway was built, and who uses it the most, has a lot to do with your riding experience.

The 5 (Golden State Fwy.) was the first freeway, opening in 1940. Known then as the
Arroyo Seco Parkway
, it went from Downtown to Pasadena. It is a narrow little roadway- and as it grew and headed south, it remained (by today’s standards) narrow. When it hits Orange County, it gets wider, because O.C. spent the money to widen it for all those cars headed to the Mouse House.

The 710, as noted above, is full of heavy trucks headed south towards the ports- and then north after pick up, full of cargo. The weight takes a toll on the quality of the road itself. Because of this, and the fact that it is full of these trucks, I loathe driving on it. By contrast, the 210 out in the Valley is relatively new, very wide, and free of trucks.

The 10 shifts and changes- no car pool lanes, then car pool lanes, then none again.

The most unusual is the 90, which is the shortest- it goes from Marina del Rey to Culver City. It was called the Richard M. Nixon Freeway from 1971 to 1976. (Hmm, I think his resignation in 1974 had something to do with the name change.) Go to it will give you more information than you’d ever want to know about the roads in California.

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