clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

LA is getting Obama Boulevard—but what happened to Obama Highway?

New, 29 comments

State officials still haven’t put up signs

134 freeway sign
The California legislature last year approved renaming part of the 134 freeway after Obama.
Michael Gordon | Shutterstock

Rodeo Road will be renamed after President Barack Obama, city leaders decided this week. But it’s not the first roadway in LA that lawmakers agreed to name after the 44th president.

In 2017, the state legislature approved a resolution to designate the stretch of the 134 freeway that runs between Pasadena and Eagle Rock as the President Barack H. Obama Highway.

A year later, however, there’s little evidence of that decision.

There are no signs pointing drivers to the Obama Highway, and Google Maps still labels the segment of the 134 between the 210 and 2 freeways as the Ventura freeway.

That’s because State Sen. Anthony Portantino is still raising money to pay for the new signs, says press secretary Yvonne Vasquez .

Portantino proposed renaming the freeway after Obama in 2016, pointing out that the president used the route in the early 1980s, when traveling to classes as a student at Occidental College.

Part of Portantino’s resolution calling for the name change indicates that the new signs will be paid for through “nonstate” donations. Vasquez says plenty of offers have come in from “all over the country,” but that Portantino is looking for more local funding sources.

Caltrans spokesperson Tim Weisberg told the Eastsider in March that the signs would cost around $5,000 to make and install.

Portantino is planning a fundraiser next month, says Vasquez.

LA residents will also have to wait a while to travel down Obama Boulevard.

The name change was proposed by Councilmember Herb Wesson in honor of Obama’s first campaign rally in Los Angeles, held at Rodeo Road’s Rancho Cienega Recreation Center. But street signs won’t be unveiled until Presidents Day 2019, Wesson spokesperson Vanessa Rodriguez tells the Los Angeles Times.