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robertogreco : freeways   18

The Harsh Beauty and Banality of the 110-105 Interchange – L.A. TACO
[See also: https://www.instagram.com/110_105/ ]

"The 110-105 interchange holds a unique place in the psyche of Los Angeles. I’ve always called it The Cathedral, because it feels like you’re inside one when you’re driving under the towering, chapel-like crests of the ramps connecting the highways. The sounds of speeding engines in trucks and cars amplify against the network of massive concrete pillars sustaining the bridges, so it almost sounds like voices singing from a hymnal.

At all levels the thing is intense. Driving overhead, it almost feels like you’re about to fly through the sky into the downtown skyline when you’re changing from the 105 West to the 110 North. And way underneath, at traffic-lane level, for commuters using the Metro bus and rail transit hub to get around, the setting is stark: extreme noise, exposure to harmful exhaust, and views of encampments in the concrete shadows.

But there are also wondrous aspects to the interchange. Its history is an epic read shaped by a protagonist federal judge named Harry Pregerson, who eventually redefined the process of bringing a massive government works project to an economically depressed and dense urban area, like the South Figueroa Street corridor was in the 1970s. The interchange had starring roles in 1994’s Speed (when the bus leaps over a gap in an unfinished overpass) and last year’s La La Land (the big opening dance number). And for photographer Lindsey Mysse, who began to regularly use the 110-105 transit station on a commute, the interchange offered a window into a side of Los Angeles he never thought he’d get to know.

Mysse is an artist and software developer by day, and in his free-time a devoted documentarian of the interchange with the IG account 110_105. In it Mysse captures the light, colors, and faces he sees in the soaring chapel of the interchange.

I spoke to him recently over the phone about the project. Below is a sample of some of his photos.

All photos by Lindsey Mysse

L.A. TACO: Tell us how the project got started.

Mysse: The specific Instagram account started earlier this year. … Well, really what happened was that I had just come back from New York City, had been dumped by a girl, and my art career had kinda fallen apart. Everyone was pissed at me, and I just needed to get a real job.

I live in San Pedro and I got a job in El Segundo, so I started commuting from San Pedro to El Segundo — the bus, from San Pedro, to get on the Green Line to get to El Segundo — and it was just this ugly, ugly place to me. It represented a defeat in life. It felt like the world was making fun of me. It actually started as a joke. I’d check-in at the 105-110 freeway, and start taking photos of it …

What is this place like, for someone who hasn’t been to the transit station?

It’s very loud, it’s very dirty, because the cars: there’s just chain-link fence between you and the highway. But you also kinda have the people there, they’re just getting to their jobs, there’s that sort of day-to-day negotiation of, How you get around, right?

Last week the trains broke down — it’s the Green Line, the trains are always breaking down — people were negotiating, like, My boss is stricter than your boss, and so on, negotiating who could get on the train because the trains were packed. And it’s democracy in action. That’s how the city works.

It’s one of the most hostile places in L.A. to humans, isn’t it?

I think so. People live there, though, under the 110 and 105. I don’t photograph them, so they tend not to be in my photographs, but yeah, there are people that live there. You see the encampments, how they hide themselves, and it really is shocking. A lot of people drive and just stare straight ahead, and there’s this whole world along the edges.

I take photographs every time I am there … four to six times a week.

What did you end up liking about it?

It’s banality at a grand scale, which is what Los Angeles is all about. If that place is beautiful to you or not is determined by how you feel. It’s your projection on the place, which is very L.A., too. … It’s this blank canvas, and it’s a massive artifact to a way of life that isn’t very sustainable also.

The freeways. You learn so much about the city when you really study them, right?

You find that everywhere in L.A. but most people just filter it out. With something like 110-105, people just drive by and you don’t really contemplate it, what it is or what it means.

What did you learn about this place over time?

I started to pay attention to how the light would change everyday I was there. The colors would always be different. As you go through the year, you get there at different times of dawn or sunset, you get those Southern California sunrises and sunsets and all the colors and how they reflect off the concrete. It really becomes something intriguing to follow."
2017  losangeles  freeways  110  105  danielhernandez  instagram  commuting  transportation  metro  greenline  lindseymysse  photography 
december 2017 by robertogreco
The 5, the 101, the 405: Why Southern Californians Love Saying 'the' Before Freeway Numbers | LA as Subject | SoCal Focus | KCET
"Southern Californians have a distinctive -- "Saturday Night Live's" Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig might say funny -- way of giving directions. To get from Santa Monica to Hollywood, take the 10 to the 110 to the 101. Burbank to San Diego? The 134 to the 5. And, if you can, always avoid the 405.

Why the definite articles? After all, a resident of the Bay Area enjoys coastal drives along "101" or takes "80 east" to Sacramento. Most of North America, in fact, omits the "the" before route numbers.

The answer begins with the region's early embrace of the freeway. Long before the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956 gave most U.S. cities their first freeways, Los Angeles had built several. These weren't simply extensions of federal interstate highways through the city; they were local routes, engineered to carry local traffic and (partly) paid for by local funds. It only made sense that, as they opened one by one, they'd get local names, ones that succinctly denoted their route or destination. The freeway through the Cahuenga Pass thus became the Cahuenga Pass Freeway, and Angelenos knew the freeway to San Bernardino as the San Bernardino Freeway.

State highway officials did affix route numbers to these freeways. But clarity dictated that Southern Californians continue to use their descriptive names. In their early years, most Los Angeles-area freeways bore signs for multiple numbered highway routes. The Pasadena Freeway, for example, was Route 6, 66, and 99, all at once. The Harbor Freeway carried both Route 6 and Route 11. The Hollywood, Route 66 and 101. Who wouldn't prefer the simplicity of a name over a confusing array of numbers?

Soon a shorthand emerged for describing a route through the city. Joan Didion captured this Southern California vernacular in "Play It As It Lays" (1970), in which Maria "drove the San Diego to the Harbor, the Harbor up to the Hollywood, the Hollywood to the Golden State, the Santa Monica, the Santa Ana, the Pasadena, the Ventura."

How, then, did that morph into "the 405 to the 110, the 110 up to the 101, the 101 to the 5, the 10, the 5, the 110, the 134"?

Two developments convinced Southern Californians to refer to freeways by number rather than name. In 1964, the state simplified its highway numbering system, ensuring that, with few exceptions, each freeway would bear only one route number. Around the same time, a flurry of new construction added unfamiliar freeway names to the region's road maps. Drivers found it easier to learn new numbers like the 605 or the 91 rather than new names like the San Gabriel River Freeway or the Redondo Beach Freeway.

Although the transition was gradual -- numbers only eclipsed names in common usage in the late 1970s, and Caltrans still included the old names in signage through the 1990s -- Southern Californians eventually joined the rest of North America in referring to freeways by number. But when they did, they retained their old habit of prefixing a definite article, the, giving rise to a regional idiom that still confounds and amuses outsiders today."
socal  freeways  losangeles  sandiego  language  history  transportation  cars  names  naming  roads 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Guerrilla Public Service | 99% Invisible
"At some point in your life you’ve probably encountered a problem in the built world where the fix was obvious to you. Maybe a door that opened the wrong way, or poorly painted marker on the road. Mostly, when we see these things, we grumble on the inside, and then do nothing.

But not Richard Ankrom.

In the early morning of August 5, 2001, artist Richard Ankrom and a group of friends assembled on the 4th Street bridge over the 110 freeway in Los Angeles. They had gathered to commit a crime—one Ankrom had plotted for years.

Twenty years earlier, Ankron, then living in Orange County, was driving north on the 110 freeway. As he passed through downtown Los Angeles, he was going to merge onto another freeway, the I-5 North. But he missed the exit and got lost. And for some reason, this stuck with him.

Years later, when Ankrom moved to downtown Los Angeles, he was driving on the same stretch of freeway where he’d gotten lost before. He looked up at the big green rectangular sign suspended above and realized why he missed the exit all those years ago.

The sign was not adequately marked.

The I-5 exit wasn’t indicated on the green overhead sign. It was clear to Ankrom that, the California Department of Transportation (known as Caltrans) had made a mistake.

Ankrom, an artist and sign painter, decided to make the Interstate 5 North shield himself. He also decided that he would take it upon himself to install it above the 110 freeway.

He would call it an act of “guerrilla public service.

Ankrom started by studying L.A. Freeways signs and holding up pantone swatches to perfectly match the paint color. He dangled over bridges to measure the exact dimensions of other signs.

Most importantly, Ankrom consulted the MUTCD, The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which provides “uniform standards and specifications for all official traffic control devices in California.”

Ankrom wanted his sign to be built to the exact specifications of Caltrans, which were designed to be read by motorists traveling at high speeds. He copied the height and thickness of existing interstate shields, copied their exact typeface, and even sprayed his sign with a thin glaze of overspray of gray house paint so that it wouldn’t look too new.

If he was successful, no one would know that the signs weren’t put up by Caltrans.

As a finishing touch, Ankrom signed his name on the back with a black marker, like a painter signing a canvas.

Then came the next phase of the project: the installation. Ankrom planned it with the precision of a bank heist. He cut his hair, bought some work clothes and a hardhat and an orange vest. He even made a Caltrans contractor-esque decal for his pick-up truck.

He feared he could get arrested, or worse—drop the sign or one of his tools on the cars driving underneath. But he felt it was too late to turn back.

On August 5, 2001, Ankrom parked his truck and went to work. He positioned his ladder over the razor wire and made his way up to the catwalk under the sign, nearly 30 feet above the highway.

The whole installation took less than 30 minutes. As soon as the sign was up, Ankrom packed up his ladder, rushed back to his truck, and blended back into the city.

For about nine months, only a small group of people knew that the Interstate 5 shield hanging above the 110 freeway was a forgery. Then one of Ankrom’s friend leaked the story to a local paper. And that’s how Caltrans found out.

Ankrom had hoped he could get his sign back from Caltrans after they took it down; he figured he would hang it in an art gallery. But Caltrans didn’t take the sign down. His guerrilla sign had passed the Caltrans inspection.

More than eight years after after Ankrom’s sign went up, he got call from a friend who noticed some workers taking it down. It had been replaced with as part of routine maintenance.

When the new sign went up, Caltrans had added the I-5 North shield not only to it, but also to two additional signs up the road.”

[via: https://twitter.com/ablerism/status/566767100556247041 ]
art  publicservice  guerillapublicservice  2015  richardankrom  losangeles  freeways  110  2001  nyc  mta  nycmta  efficientpassengerproject  signs  caltrans 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Chapter 3: Two Truths and a Lie — The Book of Home — Medium
"California is deserts, farmlands, mountains, beaches, craggy coasts, forests, scrublands, redwood groves, oil fields, diatomite and tungsten mines, cities with unfathomable wealth, communities that are poorer than anywhere else in the country. It is where anything can come alive and where many dreams have died. It is an impossible place.

The spine that runs through it connects its fabled halves, Northern and Southern, as if this divide is all there is to say about the entire state. But the spine itself belies the myth of California, the one that hovers at the very edge like an iridescent bubble and floats just out of reach every time. There is no straight shot between those storied Northern and Southern Californias. You cannot take a direct route from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Instead, you have to unfurl each road, one memory at a time, to find California for yourself."
california  leahreich  2015  landscape  place  i5  interstate5  freeways  diversity 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Where Roads Collide — re:form — Medium
"Like an organic art form growing from commuter demands, local politics, and the brains of engineering teams, traffic interchanges are mesmerizing in their complexity. With more than half the world’s population now living in urban areas, car use is growing in countries once dominated by bicycles, motorbikes, and overcrowded buses.

Here’s a look at the good, the bad and the bizarre of global traffic management."
freeways  transportation  cars  losangeles  milwaukee  dallas  buenosaires  hongkong  bangkok  tokyo  shanghai 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Examining The New Los Angeles Paradigm: An Interview With Victor Jones | Los Angeles, I'm Yours
"Victor Jones thinks about Los Angeles in a way few people do: he thinks about it in the future tense, as a place of myriad possibilities. “Los Angeles, unlike most well known cities, is a twenty-first century paradigm in terms of its ability to inform how people live and what people do and how they experiences civic and public space. It is a new physical model of urbanity: I think Los Angeles is a fantastic case study.”

“Thats the draw here,” he says. “While perfect weather, a great economy, and geography have made life easy to take for granted my work in academia and design pushes back on the city, forcing people to reconsider the evidence of things not seen. This push back is to say—Hey.—let’s stop and revisit this, acknowledging that we are a part of a discussion, that we are not completely inside ourselves and that we are becoming a greater reference globally. When we look at urban development in Beijing, Dubai, Mexico City for example, Los Angeles has become a reference versus traditional nineteenth century cities. Let’s try to understand the physical implication of these things.”"



"The irony is that Victor is a native who never liked it here. “I always hated Los Angeles,” he explains. “I was always overwhelmed by the expanse and horizontality of the city and the lack of continuity. It wasn’t until I moved back from France and got my driver’s license that a whole new relationship with the city emerged.”

“I really didn’t get to know the city that I was born and raised in until my late thirties,” he adds. “That’s when I began to understand how special this place is.”

Victor had lived in Los Angeles from birth through late elementary school and high school. He attended Cal Poly San Louis Obispo for his undergraduate degree in Architecture and found the experience to be quite profound: it created opportunities to try different metropolitan settings. “My Architectural History professor, Dr. Joseph Burton, radically changed my life: he proposed that I moved to Paris after graduation to work,” Victor explains. “Initially, I was very resistant to the idea. But, what was supposed to be a three month internship ended up being twelve years living in Paris: that was a life changing experience. I never thought that I would end up back in Los Angeles! I completely found myself and found a completely different world order in France.”

Paris brought a lot of important things to his life: he met his partner of twenty five years, he worked for Jean Nouvel and Louis Vuitton, and took a break during his time there to get a graduate degree in Architecture from Harvard. After, he found himself back in Paris—but soon left to further his own practice. “We arrogantly thought our club membership to Paris would never expire,” he says. “There was a lot of discussion between my partner, Alain Fièvre and I on where to go and we decided that Los Angeles was the best place for an architectural practice, Fièvre + Jones. So, we came here in the late nineties. It is a very challenging experience to uproot our Parisian existence and move to the United States.”

“We do miss Europe quite a bit, though,” Victor says with a longing—but positive—undertone. “That’s what brought us to Silver Lake and to an office in Hollywood: we’re such urban creatures that we were looking for that simulacrum of urbanity in Los Angeles. Both Silver Lake and Hollywood have their own special version of that, Silver Lake being a bit of Brooklyn and Hollywood being a bit like every popular zone in every major city in the world. From certain angles, Hollywood may look like Times Square in the eighties and, from another it may look like Pigalle in Paris. It has a very special and unique quality to it.”

You could confuse his comparisons for nostalgia but analyzing Los Angeles in this manner is Victor’s job: he studies space, formed communities, and urban infrastructure to discover its flaws and successes. “My principal concentration at USC’s School Of Architecture is research on community based projects and understanding what that means in a post-racial culture. Rather than looking at community service as a direct response to under-served individuals or minorities, I look at how we as a more urban, global, and heterogenous community can construct a better quality of life.”"



"“There is a natural tendency to create villages for practical reasons. But, there is a beauty in having a passport to all neighborhoods. If you are of a certain curiosity, you’ll breach those boundaries, not letting your universe be defined by a street. But, [Angelenos] religiously stick to their boundaries. We have to question the curious way that infrastructures—like freeways—impact our lives, organizing us in as architect Craig Hodgetts says the mish-mosh we call Los Angeles.”

These views do not mean that Victor has a pessimistic view of Los Angeles. That is why he is so passionate about it changing for the better. Arguing for more opportunity for how people engage the city, he says, “Generally speaking, Angelenos tend to isolate themselves. They have a trajectory of work and home and their neighborhood. All due to limitations set by the city’s infrastructure – whether we are talking about public space, transportation, cultural institutions etc,” Some of my most fond memories of the city are from cinema and how ‘the industry’ illustrates the city. I remember in Pulp Fiction Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta would be in the Valley and then drive miles to another part of the city without any hesitation: the city in that film is a forest of pockets full of different opportunities. They were not restricted by cultural biases, distance, demographics – nothing stopped them from moving from one place to another."
victorjones  architecture  losangeles  2014  beijing  dubai  mexicocity  mexicodf  urban  urbanism  cities  race  community  diversity  integration  boundaries  borders  segregation  roads  freeways  michaelgovan  film  design  landscape  lacma  transportation  isolation  mobility  traffic  sustainability  craighodgetts  df 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Robert Moses vs. Jane Jacobs - WNYC
On not focusing on differences: "I think this focus on their clash does both of them something of a disservice ... We can fall into a trap thinking that 50 years later what we need to be doing is choosing sides in a battle." --Owen Gutfruend

On Moses' character: "He became an unchecked power that was counterproductive in many ways. He was meanspirited, he was megalomaniacal." --Owen Gutfruend

On changing how we talk about transportation: "Look at the nomenclature ... People still talk about, and journalists write about, investing in highways and subsidizing transit. Now, it seems to me we could do it the other way around. We could invest in transit because we've been subsidizing highways since the 1950s." --Roberta Brandes Gratz
nyc  janejacobs  robertmoses  via:tealtan  2010  cities  urban  urbanism  transportation  infrastructure  owengutfruend  cars  freeways  robertabrandesgratz  anthonyflint 
may 2013 by robertogreco
What Carmageddon taught us about behavioral economics | MNN - Mother Nature Network
"It was supposed to be Carmageddon in L.A., but instead the two-day closure of the busiest freeway in Los Angeles reiterated a timeless lesson about cars: We lose less than we think when we make them a lower priority in our cities."
losangeles  carmageddon  2011  cars  behavior  transportation  walking  masstransit  cities  mobility  habits  priorities  freeways 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Californian freeways: Carmageddon | The Economist
"A European might ask why people don’t bicycle instead, or take a bus or train. Yes, Los Angeles does have a weighty document, the “2010 Bicycle Plan”, but nobody believes it will do more than the two previous, and equally grandiose, bike visions, proclaimed in the 1970s and 1990s. As for buses, they do exist, but only the poor seem to be on them and routes are being cancelled for budgetary reasons. Los Angeles’s mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, also has a pet underground project, called the “subway to the sea”. But the general rule seems to be that public transport in Los Angeles has a great future, and always will."
losangeles  cars  carculture  publictransit  masstransit  freeways  the405  2011  carmageddon  california  socal 
july 2011 by robertogreco
California English - Wikipedia
"California English (or Californian, Californian English) is a dialect of the English language spoken in California.[1] California is home to a highly diverse population, which is reflected in the historical and continuing development of California English."

[Of particular interest is "freeway nomenclature" of Northern and Southern California: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_English#Freeway_nomenclature

[via: http://latimes.tumblr.com/post/4102291799/10-freeway ]
language  english  california  linguistics  dialects  accents  vocabulary  usage  phonology  nocal  socal  losangeles  sanfrancisco  sandiego  orangecounty  inlandempire  freeways  carculture  cars 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Ascent Stage: Lessons from unmaking urban mistakes
"We've got more data about cities than we know what to do with. It's lying in archives, published on government websites, being sensed from instrumentation in the environment, deduced from aerial imagery, and built from the ground-up by citizens updating, tweeting, and texting a kind of pointillist painting of city life.

There's simply no reason that we can't design tools to bring city-dwellers into a closer relationship with information that can inform their choices. All the raw materials are there: data, visualization, analytics, and tools for socializing one's insight or commentary. This would not obviate the need for town hall meetings or public presentation of a city's plans, but it would equalize the power imbalance, bringing a Jacobsian emergent planning ethic to a suasive critical mass that can interact with top-down planning around a common set of facts."
urbanplanning  urbancomputing  complexity  design  infrastructure  transportation  urban  systems  streets  community  datamining  roads  planning  cities  highline  portland  nyc  chicago  johntolva  via:adamgreenfield  janejacobs  boston  freeways 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Worldchanging: Bright Green: New Report: U.S. Road Funding From Non-Road Users Doubled in 25 Years
"The myth that U.S. roads "pay for themselves" thanks to user fees is a subject that's likely familiar to many Streetsblog readers -- but just how much of the nation's highway funding is provided by charging drivers?
roads  funding  transportation  us  highways  freeways  taxes  government  subsidies  cars  driving 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Picture Show: Traffic! | GOOD
"The French writer and philosopher Jean Baudrillard once wrote of the freeways of Los Angeles as being “ideally suited to the only truly profound pleasure, that of keeping on the move.” Indeed, nowhere is the pleasure of keeping on the move more profound than in a city whose freeways rarely offer it.
photography  losangeles  traffic  freeways  transportation  baudrillard 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Marginal Revolution: Southland freeway interchanges
"I hold the unusual view that Los Angeles is probably America's most beautiful city."
losangeles  tylercowen  freeways  cities  pasadena 
march 2009 by robertogreco
The Original 1939 Futurama
"Bel Geddes did a lot of research on...technological solutions to traffic problems...decades before they even manifested themselves...nobody paid attention to the problems he anticipated...we ended up with [gridlocked] freeways...If we lived in the Futura
belgeddes  transportation  futurama  newyorkworldsfair  worldsfair  cars  freeways  design  future  futurism  predictions 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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