Caltrans Contemplates Overhaul of Pasadena's Freeway, the SR-110 Arroyo Seco Parkway

Plans call for upgrading the historic winding 4.81-mile roadway between Pasadena and Los Angeles

Published : Monday, September 30, 2019 | 4:46 AM

Caltrans will lay out changes it is considering to make to the SR-110 Arroyo Seco Parkway at a scoping meeting today.

“We’re inviting the public to come in and listen to the various alternatives that we have, proposed to increase motorist safety along the Arroyo Seco Parkway,” said Eric Menjivar, public information officer, Caltrans District 7.

The meeting will explore five alternatives, one of which is to do nothing.

The second alternative would make lane 3 a permanent shoulder, “to be used as part-time travel during peak periods when volumes are high,” said Caltrans. “Dynamic message signs” (DMS) would convey the lane/shoulder’s changed status.

Alternative three would make the outside lane, lane 3, an acceleration/deceleration/auxiliary lane during off-peak commuter hours. Again, DMS technology would be employed to signal the “flex” lane’s alternating uses.

Alternative four, the speed reduction alternative, would reduce the current speed limit of 55 miles per hour by 10 miles per hour, while adding four emergency pullout areas (two in each direction) along the Parkway.

Alternative five, known as the two-lane option, reduces the parkway’s width by a lane, though not completely, as the third lane would again be used for acceleration and deceleration purposes.

The scoping and comment period ends October 24th, after which, Menjivar said, the environment impact review process would begin. Caltrans projects having that phase completed by late 2020, early 2021.

“The community has also been asking for something to get done, so hopefully we can come to some consensus,” he said.

The project has “been on the burner for a while,” Menjivar explained, thanks to the parkway’s uniqueness, which includes its status as one of the state’s first, and the fact it has historical status, too.”

“We’re trying to preserve the integrity of the highway,” explained Menjivar, “but at the same time, we know we need to increase motorist safety.”

First opened in 1940, the Parkway, formerly known as the Pasadena Freeway and now officially known as State Route (SR) 110, is also notable for representing the transition between early parkways and modern freeways. At the time it was built, it was in conformity with modern standards, but today, it is regarded as a narrow outdated roadway.

Caltrans said it is proposing improvements, “which would enhance safety and operations” and “address existing traffic conflicts by allowing vehicles more efficient ingress and egress from the on- and off-ramps along the Parkway.”

The Caltrans scoping meeting on the SR-110 will be held Sept. 30, at Ramona Hall Community Center, 4580 North Figueroa Street, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Those who can’t make the meeting, but would like input can do so in writing. Send to Kelly Ewing-Toledo, California Department of Transportation Division of Environmental Planning, 100 South Main Street, MS-16A Los Angeles 90012, or via e-mail at by the October 24 deadline.

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