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Get Out Your Old Ford, the Arroyo Seco Parkway is Back

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In what has got to be a sop to the preservationists upset over work being done on the Pasadena Freeway, Caltrans is un-naming the road back to its original 1940s handle, Arroyo Seco Parkway. The Arroyo Seco was California's first freeway; six miles of it opened in 1940 (it was extended two miles into Downtown in the early fifties, which is when it was renamed to Pasadena Freeway). The original, according to the LA Times, was built for 27,000 cars a day, but it now handles about 122,000, so Caltrans is putting in safety improvements including new medians, barriers, and lighting, along with what Caltrans says are scenic improvements, like "Decorative concrete center dividers and rock-like side walls topped by fencing." Preservationists worry the changes are ruining the historic character of the stretch.

Caltrans will put up $650,000 worth of new signs to make the un-naming official--those'll go on the Five between the Two and First Street, on the 101 between Alvarado and Soto, and on the 110 between Wilshire and Pasadena over the next three months. The other improvements (totaling $17 million) are expected to be finished next spring. In the fun facts department, what's the specific difference between a parkway and a freeway? Merriam-Webster says a parkway is "a broad landscaped thoroughfare," and a freeway is "an expressway with fully controlled access." [Pictured: the Arroyo Seco Parkway in 1940]
· Pasadena Freeway getting a new look and a new name [LAT]
· Caltrans Tinkers with 110 Freeway as Preservationists Worry [Curbed LA]