- Los Angeles, CA
- Site Type:
- Infrastructure and Utilities, Roads, Bridges, and Tunnels
- New Deal Agencies:
- Work Relief Programs, Public Works Funding, Public Works Administration (PWA), Works Progress Administration (WPA)
- C. H. Purcell, S. V. Cortelyoy
Both the WPA and the PWA along with a number of local agencies were involved in the construction of the Arroyo Seco Parkway which was mostly completed by 1940. It is 8.2 miles long with 18 bridges.
“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. The approximately six-mile initial stage of the 8.2-mile roadway, completed in 1940, was envisioned as both a scenic road traversing the Arroyo and a vital traffic conduit linking the expanding cities of Pasadena and Los Angeles. Engineers and planners attempted to blend landscaping and native plants into the overall design while implementing safety features appropriate for high-speed travel. Construction proceeded alongside the installation of the federally assisted Arroyo Seco Flood Control Channel, necessary to ameliorate seasonal flooding. As road construction proceeded southward towards downtown Los Angeles in the early 1940s, the road began to more closely resemble a high-speed freeway. As a prominent example of the evolution from recreational parkways to more utilitarian high-speed freeways, the Arroyo Seco Parkway marks an important stage in the history of American transportation engineering.”
Pictured here are a few particular sections of the parkway: a pedestrian underpass tunnel under the Arroyo Seco parkway for a jogging path that parallels Arroyo Dr.; the Grand Ave. Bridge; Orange Grove Ave. Bridge and Arroyo Drive Bridge.
Source notesThomas F. Reese and Carol McMichael Reese. Residential Los Angeles and Pasadena: The Growth and Development of a Suburban Landscape, 1886-1988, (available online). THE HISTORIC AMERICAN ENGINEERING RECORD: ARROYO SECO PARKWAY. HAER No. CA- 265: https://www.arroyoseco.org/HAERASP.pdf
Contribute to this Site
We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal site.Submit More Information or Photographs for this New Deal Site