California Highways: Route by Route
By Daniel Faigin
California Highways: Route by RouteMay 28, 2023
CARxR 1.11: Highway Naming
In our penultimate episode of the season, we explore highways and their names. Tom and Daniel discuss how highways got their names in the past, as well as how highways are named today through the legislature. You'll see a discussion of historical names, destination-based names, and memorial names. We'll also explore auto trail names, as well as some of the more notorious names that highways have been given. Lastly, listen until after the end credits for a discussion about an aspect of naming that people often forget.
Our last episode in the season will explore the organizations related to the state highways. We'll then have a short hiatus while we write season two, and then we'll start exploring the California state highway system, route by route.
More information at https://caroutebyroute.org/2023/05/28/carxr-1-11-highway-naming/
CARxR 1.10: Highway Numbering: County Signed Routes
In this episode, we complete our exploration of numbering of state highways by turning our attention to the County Signed Route system. This system, started in 1959, uses a blue pentagon with yellow numbers, and applies to significant routes at the county level. It is the last episode in a four part miniseries on highway numbers in California. In this episode we talk about the history of the County Signed Route system, how the routes are numbered, some significant county signed routes, and what is happening with the system today.
There is no interview. We're going to move the interview segments into separate bonus episodes, owing to the difficulty of obtaining and scheduling the interviews.
There are two episodes left in the season: one exploring highway naming, and one exploring the organizations related to the state highways.
CARxR 1.09: Highway Numbering: Interstate Highways
In this episode, we continue our exploration of numbering of state highways by turning our attention to the Interstate Highway system. This system, started in 1956, uses the red, white, and blue shields. It is the third episode in a four part miniseries on highway numbers in California. In this episode we talk about the history of the Interstate Highway system, how the Interstate Highways are numbered, the history of California’s chargable interstates (i.e., highways that counted towards the federal 42,500 mile limit), the history of California’s non-chargeable interstates, some interstate submissions that were never approved, and we opine about some of the most common questions about California interstates.
There is no interview. We’re going to move the interview segments into separate bonus episodes, owing to the difficulty of obtaining and scheduling the interviews.
The remaining episode in this miniseries will explore the numbering of and the history of California’s signed county route system.
See the full episode notes, including links, at https://caroutebyroute.org/2023/03/25/carxr-1-09-highway-numbering-interstate-highways/
CARxR 1.08: Highway Numbering: U.S. Highways (Part I)
In this episode, we continue our exploration of numbering of state highways by turning our attention to the U.S. highway system. These are the white shields with black numbers. It is the second episode in a four part miniseries on highway numbers in California. In this episode we talk about the history of the US highway system, how the US highways are numbered, how things have changed in the post-Interstate era, and we wax rhapsodic on the nostalgia of US highways. The remaining episodes in the miniseries will explore the numbering of and the history of California's Interstates, and the signed county route system.
Our interview for this episode was to be with Jim McDonnell of AASHTO on AASHTO's role in assigning US and Interstate numbers. But we've run into scheduling difficulties and haven't been able to coordinate a recording time by our scheduled drop date. So consider this Part I of the episode. When we can get things coordinated with Jim we'll record and release Part II.
CARxR 1.07: Highway Numbering: State Highways and Post Miles
In this episode, we explore numbering systems in state highways. It is the start of a four part miniseries on highway numbers in California. Specifically, this episode explores the rhymes and reason for the assigning of signed route numbers to highways with the state shield. This includes looking at the patterns in those numbers, and how the numbering system stands today after the Great Nenumbering. The subsequent episodes in the miniseries will explore the numbering system of US Highways, the numbering of and the history of California’s Interstates, and the signed county route system.
The episode also explores another numbering system on state highways: Post Miles. As opposed to sequential mileage numbers as is found in other states, California uses a system called post miles that identifies points along a highway using a combination of a county and a mile point from the southern/western county line, possibly with clarifying prefixes or suffixes. We discuss this system is good detail.
Our interview is with Andy Richardson, who retired from Caltrans as a Subject Matter Expert in Geographical Information Systems, Linear Referencing Systems, and Postmiles. Andy worked as a GIS specialist for the State of California since 1988, including Caltrans between 2001 and his retirement in 2021. In his last years at Caltrans, he implemented the Department’s current Linear Referencing System.
For more information and links for further explortion, visit the show page on CARoutebyRoute.
CARxR 1.06: Chronology – CEQA and Reality
In this episode, we conclude our exploration the history of the State Highway System with the last episode in this 6-part miniseries. This episode focused on the post-1969 era in the stat highway system: the changes in the highway system after 1969; the impact of the environmental quality acts, and the growing involvement of the regional transportation agencies. We also explore the changes in governance of state highways.
Our interview is with Gary Ruggerone, who was the Caltrans District 5 Environmental Branch Chief from June 1980 until December 2010 when he retired from Caltrans. He started as as an Environmental Planner in D7 in March 1979, one of 5 environmental planners hired off the very first Environmental Planner Civil Service Exam. He was directly involved with Caltrans during the early days of CEQA and NEPA and is joining us to provide valuable insight on the impact of the CEQA. Gary is currently the Owner/Principal Environmental Planner of Piedra Environmental Consultants, a local environmental planning firm specializing in CEQA and NEPA analysis and regulatory permit compliance for transportation-related projects. A life-long resident of California, Gary earned a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, and a Master of Arts in Population Aquatic Biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
For additional information and links, visit https://caroutebyroute.org/2022/12/24/carxr-1-06-chronology-ceqa-and-reality/
CARxR 1.05: Chronology - The Great Renumbering and New Freeways
In this episode, we’re continuing to explore the history of the State Highway System, focusing on the construction boom in the 1960s under the administration of Pat Brown. This period saw the great renumbering, as highways were unified under a combined legislative / sign route system (as opposed to the separate systems that existing previously). It also saw a tremendous expansion of the freeways as construction worked hard to meet the construction deadlines. The period ended with the passage of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the election of Ronald Reagan, and the Freeway Revolts.
Our interview is with Arturo Salazar, a retired Distrct 7 Caltrans engineer and moderator of the Freeways of Los Angeles Facebook group.
CARxR 1.04: Expanding the State Highway System after WWII
In this episode, we’re continuing to explore the history of the State Highway System, focusing on the period as WWII was ending, the Interstate system was emerging, and the construction boom was starting. This is part of our first season of California Highways: Route by Route, where we are exploring the background needed for our route by route journey. In this episode, we see the birth of the Freeway System in California, starting with the Collier-Burns act increasing state funding for highways, and State and Federal recommendations for higher-capacity systems. We see the growth in cities and urban areas pushing demand for the same, leading to the definition of the Freeway and Expressway System. We cover the passage of the 1956 Interstate Highway Act, and the subsequent freeway conversion and construction boom. Our guest interview is with Dr. Jonathan L. Gifford of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is also the director of the Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy. His doctoral dissertation examined the history and development of the interstate highway system from its origins in the 1930s through its design and deployment in the 1960s and beyond.
CA RxR 1.03: Building a State Highway System: The 1930s
In this episode, we're continuing to explore the history of the State Highway System, focusing on the 1930s and the early 1940s. This is part of our first season of California Highways: Route by Route, where we are exploring the background needed for our route by route journal. In this episode, we'll see the establishment of the legislative route system, the creation of state sign routes and the signage by the auto club, a major expansion of the state highway system, and continuing growth on the Federal side, laying the groundwork for the eventual interstates. This episode also features an interview with Morgan Yates, Archivist of the Auto Club of Southern California. During his interview, Morgan shared a picture of alternative state routing signs proposed by the ACSC (included here thanks to the auto club).
For more details on the episode, including links, see https://caroutebyroute.org/2022/09/15/carxr-ep-1-03-building-a-state-highway-system-the-1930s/
CA RxR 1.02: Building a State Highway System: The 1920s
This first season of California Highways: Route by Route establishes the background listeners will need for our subsequent route by route podcasts. We’re starting with a history of the state highway system. In Episode 1.01, we discussed how the highway system started and got through the first three bond acts that created a large number of today’s routes. This second episode explores the 1920s: the start of the gas tax, the Melville Act that allowed the state to take over traversable highways through small cities that cannot afford them, as opposed to just rural highways between cities, the impact of the Breed Bill, and the establishment of the Division of Highways (today’s Caltrans). We’ll go over some of the major highways added during this time period, and most importantly, we’ll discuss the start of the Federal Highway system, better known today as the US Highways. We’ve got a special interview related to that subject: Joel Windmiller, President of the California Chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association.
Additional inofrmation on the episode, including links, may be found at https://caroutebyroute.org/?p=130
CA RxR 1.01: Before 1920 – Building a State Highway System
Welcome to the first season of California Highways: Route by Route. This first season will be establishing the background listeners will need for our subsequent route by route podcasts. We'll start with a history of the state highway system. We'll then explore how highways are numbered in the state. Lastly, we'll look at how highways are named, and some of the organizations involved with state highways.
This first episode explores the start of the state highway system. We'll start with the humble beginnings with the first routes defined by the legislature, and then go into the routes defined by the first three bond acts. We'll also explore the Good Roads movement, and we'll have a special interview with Adam Prince of Gribblenation.
Here are some relevant links:California Highways - Chronology: Phase I: A Highway System is Established (1897-1914) California Highways - Chronology: Phase II: Early Growth (1915-1932) Good Roads: Origins of the California Highway System, 1890s-1910 (SCVHistory)
CA RxR 0.02 Route 105 - It Only Takes a Century (Sample Episode)
This is a sample episode to show what the Route by Route format will be, as we don't expect to start exploring routes until the second season. The first season will be mostly background: The history of the California State Highway system, explorations of how highways are numbers, exploring how highways are named, and the entities you'll be hearing about in the episodes, such as the CTC. But we know you want the routes, so we decided to do a sample one for you. This episode focuses on Route 105.
The episode covers the following topics:Legislative Route 105 1965-1968 Interstate 105 Post 1968 Interstate 105 - The Century Freeway Why I-105 doesn't end at I-5 The construction and the consent decree Names on the Highway Significant Problems Major Current Projects
For more information:California Highways: Route 105 | Route 42 | Route 10
Gribblenation Blog: Former California State Route 42 and Former California State Route 10 | Interstate 105 In Our Path. This is a site dedicated to showing the effect of the construction of I-105 in Los Angeles. There is a photo essay and other features. Interstate 105: The Fight for a Changing Los Angeles Access Magazine: The Century Freeway: Design by Court Decree California @ AARoads: I-105
CA RxR 0.01 Welcome to California Highways: Route by Route (Teaser)
California Highways: Route by Route is a podcast exploring California's state (and county) highway system, starting with the history and proceeding route by route through all highways in the state. This episode introduces you to the podcast, giving you a taste of things to come.