March 22: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1913:  Pacific Electric Railway extends the San Fernando Valley Line to San Fernando.


1938: Construction begins on the Arroyo Seco Parkway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena.

Rose Queen Cheryl Walker pulls the lever on a steam shovel to move the first earth for the first freeway in California.

Others in attendance included dignitaries from Los Angeles, Pasadena, South Pasadena, and the state of California.

The Parkway had been planned for over 20 years and cost $1,327,000 to construct. It was touted as one of the most modern in the nation, with “no grade crossings throughout its entire length.”

On December 30, 1940, another Rose Queen would cut the dedication ribbon for the first freeway.

It did not link up to the Hollywood, Harbor and Golden State Freeways at the “Four-Level Interchange” until 1953.

More information can be found in the April, 1938 issue of California Highways and Public Works.  Additional information on the Arroyo Seco’s construction and changes to it over time can be found on our 70th anniversary history of the Parkway.


1984:  The California Transportation Commission approves $361.2 million in state matching funds for Los Angeles’ Metro Rail.

This is an important initial step before filing a grant application with the Urban Mass Transit Association (now the Federal Transit Administration) to fund the Metro Red Line‘s initial downtown segment.

The subway project breaks ground two years later in 1986.


1991:  A promotional video for the Southern California Rapid Transit District and Los Angeles County Transportation Commission‘s electric trolley bus technology is released.

In 1992, the Southern California Rapid Transit District released this public outreach film further outlining the electric trolley bus project.