🛣 Headlines About California Highways – April 2022

The last headline post was on April 1st, so I must confess that there was one falsehood in the post:  “Maybe the right answer is just to put a fake headline somewhere in the headline list, and see if anyone falls for the rickroll.” That was just a tease to get you to go through all the headlines. Nothing was false.

However, there was one near truth:

  • How about: I’ve heard a lot about the growth of podcasting. Maybe now is the time for me to do that podcast I’ve always dreamed about doing detailed Theatre Reviews. I could make 10s and 10s of dollars towards my retirement. Now that’s worth quitting my job for. Plausible, but… would folks really fall for it.

The real truth is that I am starting a podcast, but it isn’t on theatre reviews. Right, I’m doing it with Tom Fearer from Gribblenation, and we’ll be going route by route through all the numbered highways in California. Right now, we’ve got a teaser episode up, and a sample and first episode written. We’ll be getting more written in May, and recording the same and first few episodes. You can find the forever home of the podcast at California Highways: Route by Route (caroutebyroute.org); you can find the alternate route over on anchor.fm. Subscribe, and we hope to have the sample episode — exploring Route 105 — up sometime in May.  We are still looking for someone to donate a public domain theme for the podcast; contact daniel@caroutebyroute.org if this interests you. We will also (eventually) be looking for podcast donors and sponsors, but that isn’t set up yet.

I’m also still working on the March/April updates to Cahighways.org. The ✔ below means that I’ve gone through the headline for the pages; I still have to go through the Gribblenation updates, the AAroads updates, the legislative actions, the CTC and Coastal Commission minutes. I also will need to go through the updated STIP and SHOPP, as they were approved at the March meeting. So the March/April updates should be posted sometime in late May.

The headline list is much smaller this month. Perhaps there are more paywalls blocking things. Perhaps there are less articles of interest for my pages (there are loads of articles on transit, but few new roads or major road changes right now). But you take what you get. Still, there are a few things of interest.


[Ħ Historical information |  Paywalls, $$ really obnoxious paywalls, and  other annoying restrictions. I’m no longer going to list the paper names, as I’m including them in the headlines now. Note: For $ paywalls, sometimes the only way is incognito mode, grabbing the text before the paywall shows, and pasting into an editor. ]

Highway Headlines

  • ✔ Officials Approve $312 Million for 126 Highway Projects in California (Construction Equipment Guide). As part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s landmark $1.1 billion Clean California initiative, Caltrans is awarding $312 million for 126 projects along the state highway system. Designed to foster cultural connections and civic pride, the projects are expected to generate 3,600 jobs as part of the multiyear initiative led by Caltrans to upgrade interstates and beautify community gateways and public areas along highways, streets and roads while creating thousands of jobs for Californians. Ninety-eight percent of the projects will benefit historically underserved or excluded communities. […] Developed in close collaboration with tribal and local governments, non-profits and businesses, the 126 state beautification projects include art installations, green space and proposals that improve safety and promote community connections. Construction begins in April 2022. Some of the larger projects include: …
  • ✔ Public Feedback Wanted On Caltrans’ HWY 49 Project (myMotherLode.com). Caltrans and the Calaveras County Public Works Department want to hear from the public regarding a construction project on Highway 49 in San Andreas. The State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) construction project stretches from one end of town to the other along the highway. The town hall will give the public a chance to hear and see drawings of the project that will upgrade facilities to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards with curb ramps, sidewalks and crosswalks.
  • ✔ Caltrans to add 41 parking spaces in Downtown Ramona starting this month (Ramona Sentinel). After a year-long delay, Caltrans will start a project to create 41 parking spaces in Downtown Ramona as early as this week, Caltrans officials said Tuesday. The parallel parking project between Eighth and 10th streets on state Route 78 could be done a few weeks after it starts, said Caltrans Public Information Officer Cathryne Bruce-Johnson. The restriping will create parallel parking spaces for 21 vehicles on the westbound side of SR-78/Main Street, and 20 parking spaces on the eastbound side of the street in currently designated No Parking areas.
  • $$ Temecula ‘smart freeway’ project could improve 15 Freeway commute (Press Enterprise). Transportation officials are banking on technology to ease the frustrating 15 Freeway commute in southwest Riverside County. The Riverside County Transportation Commission is investing $18 million in a “smart freeway” pilot project that will target the northbound drive along 8 miles of the 15, from the San Diego-Riverside county line near Temecula to the 15-215 freeways split in Murrieta. In that section, where commuters returning from San Diego County jobs daily encounter delays, the agency plans to work with Caltrans to install an array of sensors to measure traffic flow, volume and speed at various points, said David Lewis, capital projects manager for the commission.
  • ✔ Southern Marin routes eyed for flooding relief (East Bay Times/Marin IJ). Officials are considering plans to raise portions of Highway 101 and Highway 1 to ease flooding in southern Marin. A proposed project along Highway 101 would elevate a portion of the southbound lane and offramp at the Marin City exit; construct a 700-foot floodwall between the highway and a stormwater pond; and install pumping mechanisms to increase flow from the pond into the Richardson Bay, according to Caltrans and state Sen. Mike McGuire. The project also includes an effort to raise Highway 1 north of the Manzanita commuter lot, which is closed routinely because of flooding. An automatic tide gate would be installed at the lot and drainage would be reconstructed. The Mill-Valley-Sausalito multiuse path also would be raised by about 3 feet.

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🎭 A Political Firebrand | “Ann” @ Pasadena Playhouse

Ann (Pasadena Playhouse)Back in February 2020, I was visiting my daughter in Madison WI. Tickets had just gone on sale for a show my wife really wanted to see, Ann, at the Pasadena PlayhouseAnn was a one-woman show that told the story of Ann Richards, Democratic Governor of Texas from 1991-1995.  Richards was a political firebrand known for speaking her mind, which was well demonstrated at the 1988 Democratic National Convention (where we first learned about her). It was Richards who came up with the line I’m sure you’ve heard: “After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”

We had been planning to see the show in May 2020. But then COVID happened. The show was cancelled; we had a credit at the Playhouse that we rolled into their new membership program. The new season was announced. Guess what was on the season? Yup. Ann was back.

We ticketed it as soon as we could, and coordinated the handicapped seating for my wife.

The story of the show’s origins is best described by the LA Times. It is a play that Holland Taylor (who folks probably remember best as the mother in Two and a Half Men, but whom I remember from It’s a Living) was compelled to write. Taylor was a regular on “Two and a Half Men” when the desire to write “Ann” seized hold of her. She dropped to a visiting role, and started to write and research (starting in 2006). She did extensive research, and seemingly channeled Richards. The play started its life at a venue we knew well, the NoHo Arts Center (the executive producer is married to James Mellon, who ran NoHo ACE). It played in Texas in 2010, on Broadway in 2013, and was recorded for Great Performances. Taylor has indicated this is the last time she’ll be putting on the wig and playing the role.

(and, yes, I’m writing this review a week late. Last Sunday was really busy with preparations for a new podcast I’m starting, and I didn’t get to the review)

The presentation of the show is simple, and best divided into three parts (it runs just under two hours, plus an intermission). It opens with Richards giving a graduation speech at a Texas university I didn’t recognize, where she reminiscences about her life and her origins, include her life with her parents, her marriage, and her entry into politics. It then transitions to the Texas Governor’s office, where we get to see Richards at work playing the political game. The third part is after she’s left office, talking about her post-governor life.

The show was laugh-out-loud funny, which isn’t a surprise given Richards opinions and lack of a filter. It was also a reminder of how politics has changed — especially in places like Texas. Texas used to be a Democratic stronghold — remember they gave us LBJ — and even their Republicans were often moderates (when you look back at the Bushes, you can see that). I’ll note Richard’s didn’t have a high opinion of Bush — she’s the one that said “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” She also said of Republicans, “You have to be against government interference in business until your oil company, corporation or Savings and Loan is about to go broke and you beg for a government bailout.” So her attitudes are refreshing, and very far away from where Texas is today. Texas really needs someone who can speak the truth and be listened to; which is very far from the current leaders who toe the Trumpublican line.  Perhaps Beto will be that person.

Hopefully the few Conservatives in Southern California can go to this play and enjoy it. But it really works well given the progressive nature of the area. We really enjoyed it.

Supporting Taylor, but not seen, was Julie White as the voice of Nancy Kohler (Richards’ office professional)

Turning to the production side: The production was directed by Benjamin Endsley Klein, who directed the show on Broadway and kept the pace lively and the performances believable. The simple scenic design (a podium in front of a drape; the governor’s office) was by Michael Fagin (no relation), who also designed the Broadway production. The production team connections with this show continued with the sound and light: Ken Huncovsky Sound DesignSarah Ec Maines Lighting Design. Costume design was by Julie Weiss; and Hair and Wig design was by Paul Huntley. This was probably one of Huntley’s last productions; he passed away in July 2021. Both costumes and wigs were simple but critical: a light blue pantsuit, and Richards’ signature Beehive hairdo. Projections were by Zachary Borovay. Other production credits: Kevin Bailey Executive Producer; Bob Tolaro Stage Manager; Kevin Bailey Asst Stage Manager; TJ Norton Production AssistantThere was no credit for a COVID safety officer. Although it wasn’t in the Playbill, writing this up I discovered that Bailey was in a production at the Pasadena Playhouse we fondly remember, Heartbeats.

Ann continues at the Pasadena Playhouse through April 24. Tickets are available through the Playhouse’s website. Discount tickets may be available through Goldstar or through TodayTix. It is well worth seeing.

Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre (or music) critic; I am, however, a regular theatre and music audience member (modulo the COVID break). I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted (or I’ll make a donation to the theatre, in lieu of payment). I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at Actors Co-op (FB), 5 Star Theatricals (FB), Broadway in Hollywood (FB), the Ahmanson Theatre (FB), and we have a membership at The Pasadena Playhouse (FB). We were subscribing at the Musical Theatre Guild (FB) prior to COVID; they have not yet resumed productions. We have also been subscribers at the Soraya/VPAC (FB), although we are waiting a year before we pick that up again. Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals). I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups. Note to publicists or producers reading this: here’s my policy on taking comp tickets. Bottom-Line: Only for things of nominal value, like Fringe.

Upcoming Shows:

For right now, we’re pretty much sticking with shows that come as part of our subscriptions or are of interest through our memberships. That may change later in 2022. Looking further into 2022: Next weekend brings the Southern California Renaissance Faire; and Tootsie at Broadway in Hollywood (FB). May brings Hadestown at at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB). June will see Come From Away at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) and Pretty Woman at Broadway in Hollywood (FB), as well as Tom Paxon at McCabes plus as much of the Hollywood Fringe Festival as we have the energy for. July brings Moulin Rouge at Broadway in Hollywood (FB) [Pantages], Dear Evan Hansen at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB), Newsies at 5 Star Theatricals (FB), and Freestyle Love Supreme back at The Pasadena Playhouse (FB). August is quieter, with just The Prom at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB). Lastly (for this look ahead), September brings Oklahoma the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) and Jagged Little Pill at Broadway in Hollywood (FB), although they are on the same day so I’ll be shifting one show. September may also bring Andrew Lippa’s version of The Wild Party at the Morgan Wixson Theatre. This was a show I had been planning to see before the COVID shutdown, so I’m putting it in the “part of our subscriptions” list. There may also be some Hollywood Bowl stuff, depending on how my wife is doing.

As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Better-LemonsFootlights, as well as productions I see on GoldstarOn Stage 411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves. Want to know how to attend lots of live stuff affordably? Take a look at my post on How to attend Live Theatre on a Budget (although I know it is outdated and need to update it). Want to learn about all the great theatre in Southern California? Read my post on how Los Angeles (and its environs) is the best area for theatre in the Country (again, I need to review this for the post-COVID theatre landscape)!


🛣 Headlines About California Highways – March 2022

April 1st.  April Fools Day. So what could I tell you that you would plausibly believe, but would be completely false?

  • How about: I’ve decided that the numbering naysayers are right, and I-238 is truly an abomination and they should complete the I-710 no matter what it takes. No, you would see right through that as well. I’m too neutral to take positions like that.
  • How about: I’ve decided that the vaccy naysayers are right, and I’m not going to get that 4th shot. Nah, you’d see right through that.
  • How about: I’m getting close enough to retirement. I’ve decided to chuck it all and go out for one gigantic roadtrip, traveling every road in California. Nah, I think I enjoy my real job too much, plus gas is far too expensive for anyone to believe that.
  • How about: After all this time, I’ve decided that music streamers are right, and I’m going to chuck my iPod Classics and stream away. Me? Never. They are my Precioussssssss.
  • How about: I’ve heard a lot about the growth of podcasting. Maybe now is the time for me to do that podcast I’ve always dreamed about doing detailed Theatre Reviews. I could make 10s and 10s of dollars towards my retirement. Now that’s worth quitting my job for. Plausible, but… would folks really fall for it.

Maybe the right answer is just to put a fake headline somewhere in the headline list, and see if anyone falls for the rickroll. That sounds good. So with that, let’s get to the roads.


[Ħ Historical information |  Paywalls, $$ really obnoxious paywalls, and  other annoying restrictions. I’m no longer going to list the paper names, as I’m including them in the headlines now. Note: For $ paywalls, sometimes the only way is incognito mode, grabbing the text before the paywall shows, and pasting into an editor. ]

Highway Headlines

  •  Who decides what roads and freeways get fixed next? (Daily Bulletin). Q: Rosie Shaw asked about road construction. Shaw, who lives in Riverside County, asked how it’s determined which roads and/or freeways are tabbed for construction work or repairs, including roads in small cities, and where the funding comes from.
  • State Route 26/Fremont Street Bridge Replacement Project (FB/District 10). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is preparing to begin a project that will improve vertical clearance for freight vehicles by replacing the State Route 26 (SR-26)/Fremont Street Overcrossing of State Route 99 in Stockton. Beginning February 28, 2022, crews will work during day and night shifts for approximately 200 days – Sundays through Fridays – with completion expected in late 2022. Roadside message signs will be placed on SR-26/Fremont Street and on SR-99 to alert motorists of scheduled highway and ramp closures.
  • State Route 99 Rehabilitation Project Through the City of Merced (FB/District 10). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is preparing to begin a project that will rehabilitate approximately 20 lane miles of State Route 99 (SR-99) between Franklin Road and Childs Avenue through the city of Merced. Construction will be done in phases and is scheduled to start on Sunday, March 6, 2022, with completion expected in August 2023.
  •  The Ghost of Harry Bergman’s Roadside Museum on Highway 371 (Esotouric’s Secret Los Angeles). Greetings from your friendly historic Los Angeles sightseeing tour company, now offering digital programming until we can again organize groups to gather and explore the city we love. For our latest post that’s hidden from the rest of the internet, we want to take you on a very short road trip along State Highway 371, the rural road between Aguanga (pronounced Ah-WAHN-ga, from the Luiseño word awáanga, meaning “dog place”) and Anza—or between Temecula and Palm Desert, to use more familiar destinations.
  • Opinion: Alien circles in downtown? (Madera Tribune). Some years from now, passengers in a low-flying airplane may report seeing “alien circles” right in downtown Madera. However, unlike the “crop circles” that are sometimes reported to exist in mid-West farmlands, the local phenomenon has a logical explanation. After years of prompting and procrastination, Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) is finally going to do something to improve State Route 145 through the City of Madera. After multiple meetings with city officials and stakeholders, the state has produced “State Route 145 Pavement Project and Complete Streets,” under the direction of John Liu, Deputy Director, Caltrans District 6 Maintenance and Operations. The plan consists of a “South Segment” along 3,020 feet of South Madera Avenue, from Avenue 13 to the East Madera Underpass Bridge; a “Downtown Segment,” including major modifications from E Street to Lake Street; and a “North Segment” from Lake Street to an area a bit short of the High-Speed Rail (HSR) underpass.
  • The US highway that helped break segregation (BBC Travel). Along US Route 40, African diplomats were routinely denied service at local establishments. But their treatment set off a civil rights struggle that led to outlawing segregation. Adam Malick Sow had a headache. He was several hours into his trip from New York to Washington DC, and after his limousine crossed into the state of Maryland, he asked his driver to find a place to stop. A few miles later, the newly appointed ambassador to the United States from the African nation of Chad stepped into a diner along US Route 40 and asked for a cup of coffee. The answer on a summer day in 1961 would change history.

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