Sorry for the delay in getting this posted. The end of September has been busy. Combine the end of the government fiscal year (meaning work is busy), with a large number of theatre reviews to write up, with working to get Episode 1.04 of the California Highways – Route by Route podcast (Anchor.FM Home, with links to most major podcatching services) edited, with having ear surgery to remove a cholesteotoma that had developed, with working on the updates to the highway pages …. and, whew! So the headlines are a few days late. My apologies.
As I noted, I’ve been doing a lot of work on the podcast. One of the hardest parts is scaring up interviews. For the upcoming episodes, I’m looking for someone who is willing to talk for 30 minutes or so on the following:
- For 1.05: The Pat Brown era of highway construction in California, and the rationale behind, and impact of, the 1964 “Great Renumbering” on the traveling public.
- For 1.06: The impact of CEQA on road construction in California — including the process both before and after CEQA — as well as the impact of the growing importance of regional transportation agencies on the State Highway System.
If you or someone you know would be interested in helping this project, please contact me. Thanks to Jonathan Gifford of George Mason University for being our interviewee for Episode 1.04. Episode 1.04 should be posted around October 15.
With respect to the main highway pages: I’ve started work on incorporating the August headlines. That will be interrupted for the November 2022 ballot analysis, which should take 5 posts to complete (national/state officers, local officers, judges, measures, and a summary) as well as weekly theatre). Once I’m past the election post, I’ll finish up August and start the September headlines. The goal will be to have those updates done by November. Podcast scripts are written through 1.10; all that remains is the naming and transportation organizations episode.
Enough of this shameless self-promotion. Here are the headlines that I found about California’s highways for September:
[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.]
California Highways: Route by Route Podcast
- CARxR 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.
- California Senate Passes Safe Roads Bill, Putting Statewide Wildlife Connectivity Within Reach (Center for Biological Diversity). The California Senate passed the Safe Roads and Wildlife Protection Act on Monday in a 35-0 vote, paving the way for more wildlife crossings across the state’s roadway system. Assembly Bill 2344 now awaits approval from the governor after a concurrence vote in the Assembly, which it passed in May. “California lawmakers agree that it’s unacceptable for animals to be slaughtered on highways due to a lack of wildlife crossings,” said J.P. Rose, policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Urban Wildlands program. “Wildlife crossings work, and mountain lions, desert tortoises and kit foxes deserve safe passage over the barriers we’ve created.” A.B. 2344 would require Caltrans to identify barriers to wildlife movement and prioritize crossings when designing new roads or making road improvements. The proposed legislation prioritizes crossing projects, which can be overpasses, underpasses, culverts and other infrastructure improvements, to prevent deadly wildlife-vehicle collisions.
- Rio Vista Bridge back open after malfunction leaves it stuck in up position (CBS Sacramento). Highway 12 was blocked in both directions over the Sacramento River in Rio Vista after the bridge malfunctioned on Tuesday. According to Caltrans District 10, the bridge became stuck in the up position. The Rio Visa Fire Department tweeted that the bridge suffered a mechanical issue and that drivers would need to seek an alternative route. A ship had to anchor just north of the bridge because it too couldn’t get by. Operators say it costs owners $20,000 for every day that a vessel sits idle.
- Metro’s 60 Freeway Ramps Expansion Project in Hacienda Heights Is on Hold (Streetsblog Los Angeles). An on-/off-ramp project in Hacienda Heights meant to preface future widening of the 60 and 605 Freeways has been postponed by Metro since the early pandemic. Metro deemed the Hacienda Heights SR-60/7th Avenue project beneficial to drivers and not overly adversely impacting adjacent residents, but if and when the project and the freeway widening are set in motion again, construction could come very close to homes. So what’s holding it back?
- Metro FY23 Budget: Those Freeways Metro Plans to Widen (Streetsblog Los Angeles). Metro is spending more and more money widening freeways. Last year, Metro increased its annual freeway expansion budget by a whopping eighty percent. This year, the agency has proposed another 33.5 percent increase, on top of last year’s. At a time when equity, housing, and climate crises are bearing down on Angelenos, Metro is planning to worsen these crises by doubling down on freeway widening – growing its annual Highway Program budget from $264 million (in FY21) to a proposed $634 million in the year ahead (FY23).
- Cosumnes bridge project along SR-99 wraps up two years early (ABC 10). The Cosumnes bridge replacement project on State Route 99 is complete. It started in fall 2019 and construction finished two years ahead of schedule, despite supply chain issues. The $208.3 million project received nearly $106 million from Senate Bill 1, and more than $102 million came from the State Highway and Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP). State and local governments worked together to replace the Cosumnes River bridge and Overflow bridge with two new ones. They also replaced the McConnell overhead and made improvements to the Dillard Road overcrossing.