December 17: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1939:  The required date for completion of the grade-separated reconfiguration of Figueroa Street at Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Construction under Temple Street to link Figueroa Street to Sunset Boulevard. Note Los Angeles Railway streetcar on Temple Street overhead (Click for more information)

The construction coincides with preparation for the completion of the Arroyo Seco Parkway in 1941 which will feed traffic into downtown from the area’s first freeway.

The entire story of the reconstruction can be found in the November, 1939 issue of California Highways & Public Works.

1995:  The CBS television network airs an episode of 60 Minutes featuring a segment on problems plaguing construction of the Metro Red Line subway.

A December 19, 1995 Los Angeles Times article states that:

“The broadcast raised no new issues for local viewers who have become accustomed to bad news from the MTA.  But it weaved the history of cost overruns, ground sinkages and other problems at the agency into a damning portrait of bureaucratic ineptitude, suggesting that the subway has joined riots and earthquakes among the ranks of Southland disasters.”

That same day, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce hold separate news conferences to outline their contention that the portrayal of the subway construction and management was unfair.

In anticipation of the airing, Franklin White released his December 4, 1995 CEO Report which explained to staff how the interviews were conducted and paraphrased 60 Minutes’ questions and his responses.  He notes that the interviews were conducted prior to November 17, 1995, when a panel of geotechnical experts presented its findings that geological conditions in the Los Angeles area are clearly compatible with safe and economical underground construction.

Two days after the December 19th Los Angeles Times article, the newspaper reports that the Metro Board of Directors terminates the contract of CEO Franklin White.

60 Minutes episode, part 1:

60 Minutes episode, part 2: