Category: History

CARxR 1.06: Chronology – CEQA and RealityCARxR 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.

Here are some relevant links for the episode (I’ll likely edit this to add more links in later):

Here’s the link to the show:

And here’s the link on Anchor.FM:

Episode 1.07 will start our next background miniseries, which will look at numbering in the state. We’ll start off with an exploration of the patterns of state highway numbering and postmiles. We’ll continue with 1.08, which will explore US highway numbering; 1.09, which will explore Interstate numbering and all things Interstate; and 1.10, which will look at the County Sign Route system. As always, we’re looking for interviews for future episodes. If you have any leads, please contact us:

  • For 1.08: Someone familiar with AASHTO’s role in highway numbering.
  • For 1.09: Someone familiar with an interesting aspect of the Interstate Numbering process. This will be a short interview, as the episode itself looks to be long. We might talk to one of the maintainers of an Interstate website.
  • For 1.10: Someone familiar with the county sign route system, either from the Caltrans office that coordinates the program or the a county Public Works person.

We encourage you to explore our back catalog through this site or our Anchor.FM home.

CARxR Ep. 1.05: Chronology – The Great Renumbering and New FreewaysCARxR Ep. 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 District 7 Caltrans engineer and moderator of the Freeways of Los Angeles Facebook group.

Here are some relevant links for the episode (I’ll likely edit this to add more links in later):

Here’s the link to the show:

And here’s the link on Anchor.FM:

As always, we’re looking for interviews for future episodes. If you have any leads, please contact us:

  • For 1.06: Someone familiar with CEQA and its impact on the highway construction process; also the impact of regional transportation planning agencies
  • For 1.07: Someone familiar with California’s state highway numbering, and in particular, with how post miles are used in California.
  • For 1.08: Someone familiar with AASHTO’s role in highway numbering.

 

CARxR Ep. 1.04: Expanding the State Highway System after WWIICARxR Ep. 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.

Here are some relevant links for the episode (I’ll likely edit this to add more links in later):

Here’s the link to the show:

And here’s the link on Anchor.FM:


We welcome your comments on the episode. We’re also looking for someone to donate or provide more appropriate theme music. We’re also looking for interviews for future episodes; if you know a good person for us to talk to, drop a note to daniel@caroutebyroute.org. In particular, we’re looking for the folks to talk about the following:

  • For 1.05: Someone familiar with the Pat Brown era of road construction, who is also familiar with the impact on the state of the Great Renumbering (ideally, someone who remembers it first hand). We have a lead, but don’t have the interview scheduled … yet. Hopefully in the next day or so.
  • For 1.06: Someone familiar with the contracting and development process for highways today: How the CEQA has changed the process, and the increasing role of regional transportation agencies.
  • For 1.07: Perhaps someone to talk about California’s Post Mile system and its history.

 

CARxR Ep. 1.03: Building a State Highway System: The 1930sCARxR Ep. 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). You can write to Morgan at: Corporate Archivist; Automobile Club of Southern California; 2601 S. Figueroa St., MS H-118; Los Angeles, CA 90007.

Proposed Auto Club State Route Signage

Proposed Auto Club State Route Signage

Here are some relevant links for the episode:

Here’s the link to the show:

And here’s the link on Anchor.FM:

We welcome your comments on the episode. We’re also looking for someone to donate or provide more appropriate theme music. We’re also looking for interviews for future episodes; if you know a good person for us to talk to, drop a note to daniel@caroutebyroute.org. In particular, we’re looking for the folks to talk about the following:

  • For 1.05: Someone familiar with the Pat Brown era of road construction, who is also familiar with the impact on the state of the Great Renumbering (ideally, someone who remembers it first hand).
  • For 1.06: Someone familiar with the contracting and development process for highways today: How the CEQA has changed the process, and the increasing role of regional transportation agencies.

Episode 1.02: Building a State Highway System: The 1920sEpisode 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.

Here are some relevant links:

Here’s the link to the show:

Here’s a link to the show on anchor.fm:

We welcome your comments on the episode. We’re also looking for someone to donate or provide more appropriate theme music.

We’re looking for interviews for the remaining set of Season 1 episodes, as indicated. If you’ve got a lead on a speaker, please let me know.

  • 1.04: Building a State Highway System: Expanding the System: Someone to talk on the 1956 Interstate Highway Bill
  • 1.05: Building a State Highway System: The Great Renumbering and New Freeways: Someone to talk on the construction boom of the 1960s and/or the impact of the great renumbering.
  • 1.06: Building a State Highway System: CEPA and Reality: Someone to talk on the impact of budget cuts and the California EPA/EQA on highway construction
  • 1.07: Highway Numbering: State Highways: Someone to talk on how the state numbers state highways — in particular, anything official on numbering patterns, or the rules for signing things.
  • 1.08: Highway Numbering: US Highways: Here I’d like someone to talk on the role of AASHTO on numbering US highways
  • 1.09: Highway Numbering: Interstates: This is Interstate numbering, so again an expert on Interstates — either numbering, the federal aid highway acts, or the chargeable/non-chargeable distinction
  • 1.10: Highway Numbering: County Routes: This is numbering of county highways, so anyone from a county public works department on the signed route system
  • 1.11: The Naming of Highways: A state legislator on highway naming resolutions
  • 1.12: The Organizations of State Highways: Someone from the California Transportation Commission on the role of the commission.

Episode 1.01 – Before 1920 – Building a State Highway SystemEpisode 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:

Here’s the link to the show:

Here’s a link to the show on anchor.fm:

We welcome your comments on the episode. We’re also looking for someone to donate or provide more appropriate theme music.