1st Freeway in the West | SR-110 opened 12/30/1940. Happy 74th! #LAHistory #CaltransDist7
The beautiful and historic Arroyo Seco Parkway (State Route 110), formerly known as the Pasadena Freeway, marked an important transitional moment in the history of American freeway engineering and transportation.
The Arroyo Seco Parkway opened to the motoring public in 1940. At the dedication ceremony, California Governor Culbert L. Olso declared the Arroyo Seco Parkway to be the "first freeway in the West." It was hailed both as a "modern" and "novel" road by state highway engineers due to its safety features. A 1945 study pointed to these safety features as an explanation for the remarkably low ration of traffic accidents that the parkway enjoyed in comparison to other major highways with similar traffic volumes. Residents of the region described it as the "hanging gardens" of the Arroyo, or more simply as "picturesque."
The historic Arroyo Seco Parkway was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in February 2011, designated a National Scenic Byway by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation in 2002, and designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1999 by the American Society of Engineers.