Preservationists Unhappy About Pasadena Freeway Upgrades

The old Arroyo Seco Parkway, a.k.a. the Pasadena (110) Freeway, is the unlikely target of a preservation effort by those concerned that planned upgrades by Caltrans will strip the curvy, picturesque roadway of its historic character.

Already the freeway is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. But some preservationists aren't happy that the eight-mile route from downtown to Pasadena is getting upgrades that include concrete barriers, lighting and the removal of its center-median curbs, according to Associated Press.

The 1940 passage is believed by many to be the precursor to the modern freeway, but its lack of shoulder space, quick-right-turn on- and off-ramps, and lack of crash barriers make it dangerous by today's standards. The freeway has a higher-than-normal accident rate, and California Highway Patrol officers sometimes have nowhere to stop when they pull over speeders.

Caltrans has $17 million in upgrades in the works, but some who praise the freeway's flowing, old-school character aren't pleased.

"This is where we come from, this is where our freeways evolved from," preservationist Nicole Possert told AP. "This was a testing ground for what was to become the California freeway system."

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