Monday, 7 March 2011

Pasadena Freeway - History and Accident Rate

A wonderful article about one of the first freeways in the nation – the Pasadena Freeway turning 70 years old was published on line today. This freeway, running from the south end Arroyo Parkway Blvd in Pasadena, passing the 5 freeway, then snaking by Chavez ravine and dropping into downtown Los Angeles – is also know as the Arroyo Seco Parkway or the 110 freeway.

Being built without much experience to rely upon, a few things are lacking compared to modern freeways. There is no shoulder, and on/ramps and well as off ramps are short, requiring quick acceleration and deceleration in addition to timing and a keen awareness of traffic. Indeed, the Los Angeles Times Article quotes Caltrans' deputy district director for operations as saying that the freeway has a high rate of accidents, even the the posted speed limit is slower than other freeways.

If you have ever driven this freeway, you know the twisty, bumpy experience that it offers. With three lanes and a 55 mph speed limit, it gets congested fast. As mentioned, it is a magnet for freeway accidents in Los Angeles, and the steel and concrete barriers have plenty of scars, cracks, bends, and crumbles to show for it.

Currently there is much contention about extending a nearby freeway, the 710, through Pasadena to connect to the 134/210. This will alleviate some congestion, but many communities are worried about bringing commercial traffic routes through area and the impact. Even an underground tunnel has been proposed!

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