December 20: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

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1951:  The Hollywood Freeway opens through the Civic Center.

At the time, Highway Commissioner Harrison R. Baker states that:

This is a short but vital link of the Hollywood Freeway — in fact it is probably the most important link in the entire system of freeways.  Not only does this link complete the five miles from Western Avenue but it gives a connection with the Ramona and Santa Ana Freeways. In addition, this link gives a good distribution of traffic from these three freeways into Downtown Los Angeles.

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Dedication ceremonies at 11:00 a.m. are sponsored jointly by the Downtown Business Men’s Association, Central Business District Association and the Los Angeles Traffic Association.

Baker also notes that:

“The opening of this relatively short portion of freeway today is important because it directly affects about 100,000 people daily, about a half million people daily indirectly, and about four million people with a vision of things to come.”

He concluded his remarks by explaining that:

The succes of this freeway, where it’s so sorely needed and can be so sorely tested, will insure the building of other freeways, throughout Los Angeles.”

Among the speakers were Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron; Roger Jessup, Chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors; Harold Henry, President of the Los Angeles City Council; Paul Harding, Assistant State Highway Engineer in charge of District VII; Robert Mitchell, President of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Traffic Association; Postmaster M.D. Fanning; Los Angeles City Engineer Lloyd Aldrich; Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce President Oscar Trippet; Los Angeles Police Chief William Parker and others.

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The complete story on the opening of the Hollywood Freeway through the Los Angeles Civic Center can be found in the January-February 1952 issue of California Highways and Public Works.