Saturday, January 2, 2010

Freeway Time Travel

On the Interstate-5 Freeway in Los Angeles and Anaheim CA: September 6, 2009

You might think that I took these while driving. Nope, too busy texting on my cell phone! Mireya is our guest photographer this time.

Seriously, folks, I never text on my cell phone while driving.

We’ve taken this route through L.A. County to Orange County several times and I’ve noticed how drastically the freeway environment changes between counties. 5 miles north of the county line, you see this old bridge below.

In LA County, the shoulders are small and the freeway feels boxed in by the walls on the left and right.

However, crossing over HWY 91 entering Orange County is like fast-forwarding through 40 years in about 5 minutes, which is the opposite of how I felt during some of my meetings this week, but I digress.

Suddenly the freeway is wider, the bridges are modern and you get a feature that I saw for the first time on this route way back in 2002: dedicated HOV lane on/off ramps between freeways. You don’t have to leave the HOV lane and shift to the right through 6 lanes of impatient traffic to make your exit. Although, I was once a passenger in a Cairo taxi that cut off 5 lanes of traffic to complete a left turn from the far right of a monster boulevard. When he got me to the Cairo museum, unscathed, to see the King Tut collection, I didn’t know whether to withhold my tip in protest for risking my life or to tip him extra for sparing me. I think I gave him a reasonable tip and then calmly walked away from the cab.

Today, there are a few of those HOV off/on ramps in the Bay Area, for example where the 85 meets the 101 at both its north and south endpoints.

Those palm trees mark the northern boundary of Anaheim, home of Disneyland and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball club. Scroll up two photos and look at the difference in the freeway design. Those two photos are not more than 10 miles from each other on the same freeway.

Copyright © 2009 David G. Kelly

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