July 31: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1923:  Los Angeles Railway releases its Report on Some of the Problems of Operation of the Los Angeles Railway.

The report details how the transit system can benefit from optimizing routing and schedules, and eliminating unnecessary service.  It also explores the takeover of city lines of Pacific Electric, as well as Los Angeles’ comparatively small street grid compared in relation to its rapidly growing population, and parking.


1932:  For the first time in Los Angeles Railway history, a car house is closed down when Division 2 ceases operation.

This original Division 2 was located at East 53rd Street and South Park Avenue (now Avalon Boulevard).

Construction began on the original Division 2 in August, 1903 and it was officially opened as a rail division on February 1, 1904.

Division 2 was assigned the first steel cars acquired in 1922, and the first home-built car (#1501) rolled out in July, 1923.

The Division was replaced by the “new” Division 2 at the 16th Street Garage.


1937:  Governor Frank F. Merriam dedicates road VII-Ora-176-A through Yorba Linda as part of the “Imperial Highway” from El Segundo to the Imperial Valley near the Mexico border.

The Imperial Highway Association comprised of civic boosters from Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside Counties wanted to connect the rich farmlands of the Imperial Valley with the growing markets of Los Angeles County, following the tracks of the Pacific Electric Railway.

According to the Orange County Historical Society, the Goodyear Blimp drops orange juice on the new roadway to christen it.


1971:  Future Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO begins work as a bus operator for Southern California Rapid Transit District.

Arthur T. Leahy (right) at Griffith Park Travel Town with brother and father, ca. 1953

The 22-year-old from Highland Park had been “born into transit,” as both of his parents were streetcar operators for Los Angeles Railway.

His wife and brother later worked for public transit agencies.

Leahy eventually rises to the head of operations for SCRTD, managing the local transit response to the 1984 Olympic Games, 1992 civil disturbances and 1994 Northridge earthquake.

He would later become CEO of both Minneapolis’ Metro Transit and the Orange County (Calif.) Transportation Authority prior to returning to Los Angeles.