Category: History

CARxR 1.08: Highway Numbering: U.S. Highways (Part I)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.

Here’s the link to the show:

And here’s the link on Anchor.FM:

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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’s the link to the show:

And here’s the link on Anchor.FM:

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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’s the link to the show:

And here’s the link on Anchor.FM:

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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’s the link to the show:

And here’s the link on Anchor.FM:

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CARxR Ep. 1.03: Building a State Highway System: The 1930sCARxR Ep. 1.03: Building a State Highway System: The 1930s

Proposed Auto Club State Route Signage

Proposed Auto Club State Route Signage

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.

Here’s the link to the show:

And here’s the link on Anchor.FM:

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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’s the link to the show:

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

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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’s the link to the show:

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

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