Ah, Los Angeles 110

Ah, The 110.  Ah, moving.  Moving is clearly one of the modern seven deadly sins.  It’s suggested that by the time children now in high school reach thirty-eight, they will have changed jobs an ungodly fifteen times.   Although that doesn’t promise a move every time, it suggests the possibility.  Moving is bad.   If you didn’t have to move your stuff, moving wouldn’t be all that bad.  The stuff causes the problems.  Therefore, stuff is bad.   Is that how Karl Marx got started?

You move from the groove and grit of Silver Lake to the outland wilds of Monterey Hills.  It’s a place most Agelinos have not heard of which gives it the cache of mystery but still, it’s on the east side.

Silver Lake has a mystique and urban panache that, upon hearing, westsiders nod in a kind of, “well if you’ve got to live somewhere over there…” approval.  Monterey Hills bears none of that chic.  It’s easier to say South Pasadena–blocks away.  Many blocks away but, using fingers and toes, you can count the distance in blocks.  Saying South Pasadena not only gives friends and acquaintances an ability to locate you but also a feeling that you’re still safe to be seen with.  Even though it’s over “there.”  On the wrong side of the 110.

The 110 is also known as the Pasadena Freeway or Harbor Freeway depending on which way you’re going.  Monterey Hills sits off the Arroyo Seco part of the freeway from Downtown to South Pasadena that has quite a history.  Officially, “The Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway) was the first divided-lane, high-speed, limited-access road in the urban western United States and the first stretch of road for what would become the extensive Los Angeles freeway network.”  That’s from the Historic American  Engineering Record, which should know.

Unofficially, before highways were ever thought of, the Arroyo Seco was a flood plain although a dry one evidently.  Somewhere in the early years of the last century, Pasadenans thought a large bicycle path between their craftsmen homes and downtown would be a good thing.  They built part of it until the wealthy people with automobiles thought that the arroyo would make a perfect place for them to let their hair down and drive their amazing machines like the wind — a twenty mile an hour wind but a wind never the less.

In 1938, the divided lane highway now known as the 110 was born.  The problem is that the entrances and exits for this stretch of freeway were  built for those early cars and bicycles and not for modern cars.  Some of the exits are like residential street turns with no turn lane.  The entrances give you about ten feet to accelerate to 65 to keep up with the traffic bearing down on you.   It’s white knuckle time on the east side.  While entering or exiting this part of the freeway,  you find yourself softening your voice, adding a hint of Southern drawl and doing your best Blanch Dubois:  “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”


2 Responses to “Ah, Los Angeles 110”

  1. barbara Says:

    Ah the 110. Philip always said you take the 101 to the 110 to the 10 to get to the dessert. Whatever happened to getting yours kicks on rt. 66. My kind of road.

  2. Kimberly Says:

    The Arroyo Seco dry flood plain! Funny!

    Having changed jobs – or should I say “sources of income” – as well as dwellings, probably more than 15 times in far less than 38 years, what can I say but yes, that is an ungodly number of times. And yes, moving would be fab if it weren’t for all that stuff. Its alarming, for this state of affairs can truly have one feeling rather Karl Marxesque…

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