January 21: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1900:  Twelve men are buried when the west end of the 3rd Street Tunnel caves in during construction.  Ten are rescued, but a city inspector, the night foreman, and another individual do not make it out alive.  Among the dead is Major W.T. Lambie, who had previously served as Chief Engineer on the San Fernando Tunnel project.

The tunnel’s origins begin on July 3, 1893 when residents and taxpayers present a petition to the Los Angeles City Council asking that a tunnel be created to connect those who lived in the Crown Hill neighborhood with the business district on the side of Bunker Hill.

Tunnel construction funding was approved for both the Third Street tunnel and the Broadway tunnel in an election held on July 6, 1898.

 

Third Street tunnel, 1901. Note the recently completed Angels Flight to the left. Image courtesy of Security Pacific National Bank Collection within the Digital Collections of the Los Angeles Public Library. (Click for more information)

More information can be found in the Early Los Angeles City Views (1900-1925) image collection of the Water and Power Associates.

 

 

1930:  Los Angeles’ Board of City Planning Commissioners convenes a “Conference On The Rapid Transit Question” in the Hearing Room of the Board of Public Works in City Hall.

The city’s population had grown approximately ten-fold since 1900 and by 1930, personal automobile ownership has become increasingly commonplace.

Board President Donald M. Baker states in his introductory paper that “seven or eight years ago, automobile congestion became serious” and that “one of our problems is to determine in the planning of our city to take care of its future millions.”

Several prepared statements are delivered, including analyses of the present problem, an interpretation of city charter provisions governing rapid transit, and what kind of traffic connections neighboring cities want and need.

 

 

1972:  Governor Ronald Reagan and U.S. Secretary of Transportation John A. Volpe officiate at groundbreaking ceremonies for the the world’s first bus rapid transit station in El Monte.

Southern California Rapid Transit District president Dr. Norman Topping and State Secretary of Business and Transportation Frank J. Walton are also on hand at the site located near the Gibson Overhead adjacent to the westbound San Bernardino Freeway.

(Click for more information)

 

The station is described as “space age,” with a “21st Century look” due to its circular shape providing easy access for buses from both directions.

 

(Click for more information)

More information can be found in the January 14, 1972 issue of RTD Flyer, the Southern California Rapid Transit District employee news magazine and the January 28, 1972 issue of RTD Flyer, the Southern California Rapid Transit District employee news magazine.