By Jovanni Perez

        The Great Wall of L.A. mural was created by Judith Baca and was part of a beautification program of a flood control canal in the city of Valley Glen, California, by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1974. The image depicting the impact of the building of Dodger Stadium and freeway construction on local L.A. communities is one of many that speaks to the history of race, ethnicity, and power in 20th century Los Angeles. Baca began working on the Great Wall in 1974 when she organized one thousand local youths to create the 250 murals. Her vision was to give a voice to urban minority populations to illustrate the devastation being brought to their communities by city planners and developers. The illustration shows Dodger stadium appearing like a UFO in the background, while two families are being separated from each other by a snaking freeway with a policeman forcefully removing a seemingly angry woman. This illustration shows the effect that the construction of freeways and the Dodger stadium played in low-income immigrant communities and how it not only impacted them physically, but socially. Unlike the construction of the Dodger stadium that only affected the community of Chavez Ravine, the freeway construction would affect multiple communities with demolition, construction, and physical changes to neighborhoods. While freeways were seen as signs of modernity and progress to city planners, communities that experienced displacement due to construction viewed them as destructive. One of the communities that experienced the negative effects of multiple freeways in the Los Angeles region was East Los Angeles, where the majority of residents at the time were of Mexican-American descent. In order to build the modern city that Los Angeles is today and to help accommodate its growing population, city planners chose to displace and segregate working-class immigrant communities to complete their projects. The people of East Los Angeles took many steps to resist freeway development projects, but none of their concerns were heard since city planners had already made up their minds.

The Precursor of the Freeway

            To better understand how the city of Los Angeles emerged as the ideal location for the automobile, hence the leading proponent of freeway construction, we must first look at the Pacific Electric trolley. This public transportation system served as the precursor to the modern freeway system and was used as an argument to justify the need for freeway construction. Los Angeles basin residents depended on the Pacific Electric transportation, known as the Red Cars, from the 1880s to the 1930s.[1] One of the owners of this public transportation system was Henry Huntington who also was a land speculator; this gave him a unique advantage over other land speculators. As Huntington purchased underdeveloped and remote acreage, he would also extend railways into these estates, which were all connected to Downtown Los Angeles. This encouraged individuals to purchase land plots in relatively remote, but now connected areas which would lead to the unchecked horizontal growth of the Los Angeles metropolitan region.[2] The trolley railway system was an advancement of transportation technology which permitted Los Angeles to spread out. The Los Angeles Herald praises Huntington for his contribution of the “Up building of Southern California,” because he built over 600 miles of trolley line.[3] By buying rural lands, building railway networks, and reselling land plots to individuals, Huntington fueled the horizontal growth in the region known as urban sprawl, also referred to as “Los Angelization.”[4]

The trolley system land speculations were not the only contributing factors in the urban sprawl. As the expansion of trolley railways grew, an increase of newcomers wanted to take advantage of the opportunities that urban life provides with the tranquility and sense of space and community of the suburbs.[5] The growth of the railways also led to racially mixed neighborhoods such as Watts and Boyle Heights where railway lines intersected. According to Eric Avila in his book Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight, the Red Cars provided an environment for racial interaction to take place within a society that believed in racial segregation. This concerned progressives who believed that racial interactions and tight quarters were detrimental to personal health.[6] Progressive movements in the east started off due to middle-class concerns over contagious diseases found in clothes produced by working-class immigrants in sweatshops. In Los Angeles, the middle-class progressives took steps to curb the racial fraternization in the form of freeway planning and construction. The concern over keeping the races separated in public spaces was publicly announced by the newspaper Los Angeles Record in A Section of Hades in Los Angeles:

 Inside the air was a pestilence, it was heavy with disease and the emanations from          many bodies. Anyone leaving this working mass, anyone coming into it… forced       the people into still closer, still more indecent. Was this an oriental prison? No           gentle reader, it was only the result of public stupidity and apathy. It was in a Los        Angeles streetcar on the 9th day of December, in the year of grace 1912.[7]

Actions were taken by city planners who were influenced by the health concerns that worried progressive reformers. Social interactions that conflicted with progressive beliefs came under suspicion which meant that racial and economic segregation would prevail in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles had already created special local committees to investigate and report about the traffic concerns the city faced. During the early 1900s, the city saw an increase in population that created a huge demand for housing and caused massive traffic congestions, especially in the Downtown District. The Los Angeles Times, in an article from March, 1921, stated that an 18 percent increase was seen in the last 14 months. The article mentions that the population in the city of Los Angeles was 576,673 on January 1st 1920 and in 1921 was 751,537, making it the eighth largest city in America.[8] The population boom and the rise in automobile ownership in Los Angeles further increased the urban sprawl horizontally and led to the decline of the Red Car trolley system.

Rise of the Automobile

            As land developers sought to create single housing units to meet the rising demand for housing, the street railway companies were not expanding into these new developing areas. Instead, the city established bus lines to meet the urban sprawl.[9] Pacific Electric was unable to continue to dictate the development of communities in the Los Angeles Basin. Los Angeles County saw a five-and-a-half time increase in vehicle registration in the 1920s which would allow developers to extend into areas that were not near existing railway lines.[10] The plan was to construct railway lines so commuters could be no more than two miles apart from railway stops, but the automobile changed that and allowed for locations farther away from railway stops.[11] The increase in population and registration of vehicles on the road caused an increase of traffic congestions which city officials sought to alleviate.

One of the leading advocates to find a solution to this problem was Harry Chandler, the publisher and owner of the Los Angeles Times. Chandler, who owned large amounts of stocks in automobile industries, used his paper to promote the automobile through the creation of his Sunday edition, “Pink Sheets,” that promoted the privacy and independence of the automobile, traits the public trolley system lacked.[12] Chandler formed the Major Highways Committee (MHC) which would report and recommend road and highway construction to city officials. One such report given to city officials was the Major Traffic Street Plan which supported road expansion and was supported by Southern Californians businesses.[13]

This report advocated for the automobile to become the major source of transportation in the city.[14] According to James Kushner, this resulted in the “American Phenomenon” that gave private interest control over major public construction works. The decision to build roads now rested on two factors, the population that lived in the proposed construction area and the amount of campaign contributions given to local politicians.[15] The MHC’s report was sent to Sacramento where legislators enacted the state’s first gasoline tax to help pay for roads and road expansions. This led to the expansion of major streets and boulevards in the Downtown and Business Districts of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reported on the committee’s findings before reports were sent to the city council.[16] This plan to build and/or expand roads due to growing traffic would be the precursor of freeway construction and the beginning of the end for the trolley system, which the working-class depended on to commute to work.[17]

Although the state of California enacted its own committees to report and investigate the need to construct roads and highways and proposed its own taxes to help finance these expenditures, the state needed federal help. Federal funding would not come until the start of the Great Depression in the 1930s, which would begin the planning and construction of freeways in California. The national government wanted to spend money on large construction projects to provide employment and infrastructure improvements, which would alleviate the economic depression. New Deal officials used public funding to support automobile interests. New Deal Officials, as they were known, developed a federally funded program that funded about 80 percent of the construction cost, but gave state and local government power to decide what and where to build. This money was used for construction projects throughout the state, most notably the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.[18]

In the Los Angeles region, the majority of this aid was used to improve existing roads and build highways. More committees and investigations were needed to locate the best possible routes of major highways. Once again, capitalist interests and politicians would decide where construction would take place. Lloyd Aldrich, a leading advocate for freeway construction, was hired as the city engineer by the city of Los Angeles. Aldrich then sought to raise money from downtown businesses with the help of P.J. Winant, owner of Bullock’s department store, to help pay for the study of traffic needs in Los Angeles.[19] These reports were filled with mathematical formulas, scientific jargon, and charts to help explain traffic congestions.[20] The Regional Planning Commission composed one such report in 1936 named Freeways for the Region, which was a composite of multiple reports that would encompass the Master Plan for Los Angeles.[21] This plan would become the blueprint for all freeway planning during the 1940s.

The involvement of the United States in World War II saw an increased need for defense industries. Los Angeles attracted these which drew workers from other areas of the United States, mainly the Midwest and the South.[22] During the 1920s and 1930s, Los Angeles grew horizontally because of regional infrastructure improvements, technology, and the increase in population. During the 1940s, the region spread further due to defense industries which enhanced the need for the automobile.[23] Federal and State governments saw the need for freeways now more than ever to quickly transport supplies, armament, and men to meet the war demands. The growth in population caused public opinion to demand the need for additional infrastructure planning and development. An article from the Los Angeles Times explains that four construction projects were needed just because of the population increase. First on the list was the expansion and improvement of the Los Angeles International Airport. Second was the need to build freeways because, “without them no city can grow… Los Angeles, above any other city needs a complete system of freeways because of the enormous area.”[24] The third was a need to build recreational areas. The final one was improvements to the sewer system. The articulation of these needs and the military mobilization of the era made the freeways a reality.

A federal committee was sent to Los Angeles to investigate the proposed needs of the city. Once the committee reported their findings to President Roosevelt, an advancement of $75 million was given to the state.[25] This money came with restrictions; the cash was to be used only for projects that dealt with long-term construction works.[26] Several state planning committees reported that underprivileged areas would be displaced by freeway construction and that local planners needed to offset this by offering affordable housing near freeway constructions areas. The theory was that individuals in these underprivileged areas would encompass the majority of construction workers.[27] However, affordable housing and employment for poor working-class residents in these “slums”, as city planners labeled them, would not transpire.

The Model for Future Freeways

            The first roadway designed to accommodate automobiles in the west was the Arroyo Seco Parkway, more famously known as the Pasadena Freeway or the 110 Freeway. Historically, this section was designed as a bicycle trail along the natural flow of the Los Angeles River. Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and Robert Gottlied researched the history behind the Arroyo Seco Parkway. In a two-series research paper for the University of California’s Transportation Center, the authors explain the reasons behind the expansion of this freeway and the consequences that resulted from the change. Originally, the parkway was designed to give travelers a scenic route, but then pressures began to build on city planners to alleviate traffic congestions and plans were made to turn the parkway into a highway to accommodate for a smoother traffic flow.[28] Limited access to the freeway was designed with strategic entrances placed to allow access without interrupting traffic flow.[29] This design would also be included in the constructions of future highways; however, the layout would be improved by making highways straighter to allow faster speeds, which in theory would make commute times faster.

The Arroyo Seco Parkway was not only the first highway to be constructed in the region, but it also served as the model for future freeway construction projects. The success of the Arroyo Seco Parkway in the 1940s convinced city planners that more freeways were the solution for the traffic difficulties facing the city. State Highway Commissioner Amerigo Bozani stated in 1941, “The success of the Cahuenga and the Arroyo Seco Freeways proves the value of this type of construction.”[30] This conviction in freeways led to more local committees created for the purpose of finding the best locations for construction; one in particular was the Joint Fact Finding Committee on Highways, Streets, and Bridges headed by the state legislature.[31] The federal government decided it would be best to give control to state and local governments since they knew the area better than outsiders. The committee investigated and sponsored the Burns Highway Act of 1947 which called for the buildup of finances and called for the increase of gasoline taxes and various other highway-related taxes to fund construction. This act also called for the majority of the new revenue to go towards urban freeway construction projects since major urban centers paid more taxes than rural areas. Los Angeles County in particular paid over 48 percent of the state highway taxes, stated Senator Randolph Collier who headed the Joint Fact Finding Committee.[32] These findings would again encompass scientific jargon which would be used to confuse residents and justify the actions taken by freeway construction workers and city planners. The stage was set for the ultimate elimination of all other possible forms of transportation being able to survive economically.

Dawn of the Freeways

            City officials and planners decided that in order to ease the traffic problem in the Los Angeles area freeways would have to be built, which would also create the foundation needed to build a “modern city.” Local committees were made to investigate where the best possible routes could be built in order to “to serve the greater good”, however many working-class immigrants would be affected, especially in East Los Angeles.[33] City officials would many times consider areas of predominantly Mexican, African-American, Italian, Irish, and Russian Jewish residents as slums. They often believed that these freeway construction projects would help eliminate them from the city landscape and simultaneously improve commerce and travel. This belief always left those without any political power at the mercy of those creating construction plans.

Before construction could begin in these “slum” areas, they would be relabeled in official reports to sound less degrading from a professional stand point. The completed proposal, known as the as the Master Plan, would often relabel these areas as “red tagged”.[34] The label “slum” was based on perspectives from an investigation launched by the Los Angeles Housing Commission who then sent agents to report on the conditions within the area. Boyle Heights for example had been labeled a “slum” due to an agent’s report which stated that a large portion of the area was populated by single immigrant males. The “overcrowded and unsanitary” conditions were seen as the cause of outbreaks of the bubonic plague and other communicable diseases.[35] This was a commonly used stereotype that was used to rally public support for the displacement of residents which would then allow for the construction of freeways. Several property appraisals had been conducted within several communities of Boyle Heights in order to help determine which would be cleared for construction.[36] With so many being forced out of their homes, city officials had proposed an affordable housing project in displaced communities to help alleviate the issues that faced those affected.

Similar programs had become common practice in the area and would be applied to communities outside of the Los Angeles region as well. During the 1940s, when a portion of the Santa Ana freeway opened, about half of the residents that were displaced benefited from the new affordable housing projects.[37] An article in the Los Angeles Times described city officials as being heroes to those who had lost their homes due to freeway construction, stating that, “Months of work in moving and relocating houses or finding other housing for the same tenants,” usually in high crime neighborhoods in cities such as Whittier and South Los Angeles, has occurred thanks to the hard work of city officials.[38] In reality, the majority of the spaces available in these affordable housing projects were given to defense workers and veterans.[39]

Official reports indicating that East Los Angeles and surrounding communities were economically decayed areas filled with crime created biases which would carry on for years to come. Sophie Spalding, in her article, The Myth of the Classic Slum: Contradictory Perceptions of Boyle Heights Flats, 1900-1991, contradicted this stereotype by explaining how this interracially mixed community had successfully lived in harmony with each other. Chicano kids would play with Italian, Russian, Irish, and African-American kids after school and even learned how to say certain phrases in different languages.[40] This racial coexisting would soon come to a halt when sections of these communities were destroyed. White migrants who were displaced by this and who were able to afford to move to predominately white neighborhoods began to refer and see themselves as “white” instead of Irish-American or Italian-American.[41]   What were once multi-racial communities like Watts and Boyle Heights would become isolated centers of racialized poverty caused by freeway construction.[42]

Construction and displacement first occurred in 1944, when a portion of the Santa Ana Freeway was constructed from Soto Street to Eastman Avenue in Boyle Heights. A news article from the Los Angeles Times stated that the route was a detour from the original plan which allowed for “more high-speed traffic.”[43] This re-routing was responsible for the destruction of two hundred residential buildings in Boyle Heights. The Division of Highways justified the destruction of property and the displacement of residents by saying that resident would benefit from the freeway because their commutes to work, school, and social events would be shorter.[44] What the Division of Highways failed to mention to the public was that residents were forced to re-locate further away due to this construction project. Most residents who were displaced viewed freeways as only benefiting Downtown Los Angeles businesses, which also resulted in many residents who were forced out to feel alienated.[45]

The displacement of working-class immigrants, mostly of Mexican background, was believed to be simply due to the fact that few Mexican-American political leaders had held a position in Los Angeles city hall since the American annexation of California, in particular since the 1870s. This would change with Edward Roybal who served Los Angeles District 9, which encompasses Boyle Heights and surrounding communities.[46] Several local politicians, including Mr. Roybal, joined and supported local community activists who opposed freeway construction in their neighborhoods. Further political support against the freeway came from Los Angeles County Supervisor John Anson Ford, State Assemblyman Edward Elliot, and Congressman Chet Hollifield. This political, business, and community coalition requested the California Highway Commission to delay and reevaluate a route that would cut through Boyle Heights and Hollenbeck Heights, two primarily ethnic Mexican-American Communities.[47]

Political allies and community residents joined together to attended a rehearing about the proposed route in Sacramento in 1953.[48] Several business associations, like the Brooklyn Avenue Businessmen’s Association, also joined community activists against this route and made their opposition heard. The Eastside Sun newspaper published a letter sent by the Business Association which stated that the loss of residents meant a loss of customers and would create a barrier between the Los Angeles River and their business district.[49] Other community associations included the Citizen Committee against the Freeway and the Anti-Golden State Freeway Committee.[50] This coalition was made up of politicians, businesses, and residents. They held mass rallies, several meetings to discuss how to prevent construction from destroying their neighborhood, and even circulated a petition asking for a rerouting of this planned freeway. Local businesses also hired their own private engineers to reevaluate the proposed route and come up with an alternative route.[51] The concerns of local business groups were that the freeway would mean the loss of their customer base, an economic loss local businesses sought to prevent.

The efforts of this coalition failed and the construction of this section of the Golden State freeway was built. Several politicians voiced their anger at the continuation of this freeway; State Assemblyman Edward Elliot argued that the freeway actually undermined the economic health of the area. An academic article written by Gordon Erickson, The Superhighway and City Planning: Some Ecological Considerations with Reference to Los Angeles also argues economic loss. The article explains that the main purpose of freeways was to allow downtown employees an opportunity to “live the American dream,” a home in the suburbs. Although this seemed like a good economic idea to promote homeownership, Erickson warned that taxes collected by the city of Los Angeles would be lost due to commuters shopping and investing in their home communities and not in Los Angeles. Freeways which were purposely built to promote downtown businesses were also a gateway to a scenario which could hurt the original idea that lead to freeways being built. The freeway gave options to nearby residents to shop or live in other cities, which benefited other communities more than Los Angeles. He cynically added, “If all else fails, Angelinos can make a living washing each others’ cars.”[52] Elliot cited a study in a letter he sent to the Eastside Sun Newspaper, which stated that downtown retail sales had fallen by 57 percent from 1950 to 1960.[53]

Elliott’s public attack on freeway construction did not go unnoticed. The Los Angeles Times reported in 1965 on all the Assemblymen and women running for state government. The article showed how the campaigns had been financed. In the section dedicated for Elliott, it showed that his campaign was financed by a race track and liquor lobbyist named James D. Garibaldi.[54] Despite these reports, which showed the negative effect that the freeway construction had on businesses in the downtown district, every report failed to mention the economic impact freeways had on the working-class immigrant communities which it had displaced and erased. Clearing these sections of the city that Anglo city planners considered “slums” in their initial freeway planning reports was crucial to develop their vision of the future for Los Angeles.

Elliot had also predicted how freeways would ultimately affect the city of Los Angeles by describing them as, “One gigantic mass of parking lots traversed by a futuristic contanglement [entanglement] of expressways jammed with…compacts, smog-bleaching trucks and a few obsolete MTA buses.”[55] Gar Smith writes in Freeways, Community and “Environmental Racism,” that these sections of the city that were affected by freeways and that were un-white were left to deteriorate.[56] When middle-class whites and non-whites who either owned local businesses or had invested capital in the local economy were affected by freeway construction, they simply moved. This drove the areas from being racially and economically mixed communities to low-income communities with a majority minority population. Once the economic elite left these communities, tax revenue for these communities plummeted causing civic services to neglect the remaining residents.

           Affluent Influences on Freeway Construction

            Private and corporate interest group often dictated which route a particular freeway went. One corporation that was able to directly benefit from freeway construction was the Sears Company. The purposes of freeway construction was to ease traffic congestion, shorten commute times, and facilitate commerce, all of which would help the city generate an image of the future. Sears took the “facilitate commerce” purpose to argue for the rerouting of the original direction of the Santa Ana freeway. The new path was built one block north of the store site because Sears argued that their store was part of the $600 billion of commercial investment in blighted communities.[57] This proposal was beneficial to the company since the close proximity would enable an easy commute for customers to the store. Although the construction of the exit ramp would destroy several homes and small businesses, one particularly interesting fact that is not mentioned is that the original route of the Santa Ana freeway was actually planned to be built on top of where the Sears building is located. It comes with no surprise that Anglo city leaders were convinced not to place the Santa Ana freeway on top of the Sears property since Sears invested heavily and was an ardent proponent of freeway construction.[58]

Limiting destruction of property was not a concern given to residents of East Los Angeles. During the planning of where to build the Los Angeles Interchange, several locations were given some contemplation. A location west of downtown would have devastated an Anglo community, which held greater political power than Mexican-American communities. A location southwest of downtown was also an option, but this would have destroyed several manufacturing companies. Nicole Garnett identified three reasons why governments at the federal, state, and local levels sometimes avoid the use of eminent domain to take private property. The first is that the owners have political influences which will create a political backlash. Second, the community that the government seeks to take is a cohesive community that can fight them legally in court. Lastly, non- cohesive communities with members of different political parties can still come together to fight developers in court. The location of the Los Angeles Interchange was constructed where it is now because it would only affect the section of the community which was populated mainly by Mexican-Americans who held no major political power in city hall.[59]

When Anglo city planners were deciding which communities should be leveled in order to construct the freeway system, they failed to consider the needs and wants of working-class communities, which lead to the destruction of not only private homes, but also a cherished Catholic church, Saint Isabella. A very different approach in comparison was seen when freeway construction threatened affluent white communities. When prosperous neighborhoods or the homes of celebrities and politicians were threatened by freeway construction, great lengths were taken to reroute freeway courses. One example is the reroute for KTTV television station. KTTV was spared from the construction of the Hollywood freeway, better known as the 101. Another example is the reroute and even customization for The Hollywood Bowl. The Hollywood Bowl was not only spared from demolition, the Division of Highways even constructed sound wall barriers in this portion of the 101 to help eliminate noise from the freeway.[60] The Division of Highways also spared the Hollywood Presbyterian Church, something that the agency did not do for Saint Isabella in East Los Angeles. The rerouting of the 101 freeway was not a cheap undertaking as the cost to re-route rose dramatically and lead to a scandal in which several freeway planners and government officials were charged with conspiracy and several were found guilty.[61]

Affluent communities also came together to prevent freeway construction from destroying their neighborhood, but unlike the efforts of residents in East Los Angeles, these were successful. The most famous of these was the efforts of Beverly Hills residents to prevent construction of The Beverly Hills Freeway, which would have been known as the 2 freeway.[62] This freeway was promoted by business men in the area because it would have connected the 101 freeway to the 405 and to the Pacific Ocean. Residents formed associations against the freeway and threaten to take planners and construction companies to court, if necessary.[63] In the end, city planners and the Division of Highways abandoned the plan due to the amount of negative reactions they had received.


In the end, only 61 percent of freeways planned within the 1940s Master Plan were built, but 100 percent of the freeways that were planned in East Los Angeles were built. Anglo city planners constructed freeways in areas considered to be “slums” to modernize Los Angeles. As the population of the city grew, city planners sought to displace working-class immigrant communities to restructure the city into their vision of the future. Communities like East Los Angeles would end up being surrounded and cut through by freeways. Freeways were built to a large degree with the promise of economic prosperity, the question is whose economic prosperity. The areas affected most by freeway construction were precisely those that paid the highest price, both economically and socially, as they saw their social fabric of racially and socio-economically diverse communities destroyed and their ability of upward socioeconomic mobility severely undercut.


[1] Eric Avila, Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight. University of California Press 2006. Avila describes the trolley system of the Los Angeles region as stretching from Santa Monica to the west to Riverside to the east.

[2] Mark Foster, The Model-T, the Hard Sell, and Los Angeles’s Urban Growth: The Decentralization of Los Angeles. 1975

[3] Los Angeles Herald, What Los Angeles Owes to Henry E. Huntington. 20 December, 1908

[4] James A. Kushmer, A Tale of Three Cities: Land Development and Planning for Growth in Stockholm, Berlin, and Los Angeles. Vol. 25. 1993.

[5] Avila, 187-188

[6] Ibid, 189

[7] Los Angeles Record, A Section of Hades in Los Angeles. 11 December, 1912.

[8] Los Angeles Times, New Directory Shows Big Growth in the City. 9 March, 1921

[9] Foster, 461.

[10] Michael Sheehan, Land Speculation in Southern California: The Role of Railroads, Trolleys, and Autos.1984.

[11] Foster, 477

[12] Avila, 192

[13] Ibid, 195

[14] Ibid, 193

[15] Kushner, 202. Kushner explains that politicians would allow construction companies to build in areas that did not affect affluent communities which usually held political power and influence in local government. This trend would also play a factor during the 1940s-1960s when the majority of freeway constructions would take place.

[16] Los Angeles Times, Wilshire Extension Approved. 10 August, 1926.

[17] Anthony Constance, Urban Forced Removal in Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles: North-South Similarities in Race and City. 2013

[18] Sausalito News, Seeks Federal Aid. 30 August, 1935

[19] Avila, 196.

[20] Eric Avila, The Folklore of the Freeway.1998, pg. 23 Explains that the “need to construct freeways negatively affected minorities, the poor, and women.

[21] The Regional Planning Commission, Freeways for the Region. 1936.

[22] Martin Schiesl, City Planning and the Federal Government in World War II: The Los Angeles Experience. 1980.

[23] Foster, 484.

[24] George Read, Los Angeles Times, The Future of Los Angeles. 6 April, 1945.

[25] Martin Schiesl, 130.

[26] Ibid, 130.

[27] Ibid, 133.

[28] Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and Robert Gottlied, The Day that People Filled the Freeway, and, A Road as a Route and Place. 2005.

[29] Ibid, 7.

[30] Los Angeles Times, More Freeways Will Be Built Here With State Gas Taxes. January, 1941.

[31] Avila, Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight. 199.

[32] Ibid, 198.

[33] Ibid. 197.

[34]The Regional Planning Commission, Freeways for the Region. 1936.

[35] Anthony Constance, 356.

[36] Ibid, 357.

[37] Ibid, 357.

[38] Los Angeles Times, Key Links of Freeway Rapidly Assuming Shape. 11 November, 1946.

[39] Anthony Constance, 357.

[40] Sophie Spalding, The Myth of the Classic Slum: Contradictory Perceptions of Boyle Heights Flats 1900-1991. 1984. 107.

[41] Avila, Popular Culture. 188.

[42] Avila, Popular Culture. 189.

[43] Los Angeles Times, Super Parkways Plans Made After the War. March, 1943.

[44] Gilbert Estrada, If You Build it, They Will Move: The Los Angeles Freeway System and the Displacement of Mexican East Los Angeles, 1944-1972. 2005. 290.

[45] Avila, Popular Culture. 189.

[46] Library of Congress, Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-1955.

[47] Ernesto Chavez, My People First! Mi Raza Primera. 2002.

[48] Ibid, 26.

[49] Brooklyn Avenue Businessmen’s Association letter to the editor, Eastside Sun. 30 September, 1953.

[50] Estrada, 299.

[51] Ibid, 300.

[52] Gordon Ericksen, The Superhighway and City Planning: Some Ecological Considerations with Reference to Los Angeles. May, 1950.

[53] Elliott Edward, op/ed. Column, Eastside Sun. 26 January, 1961.

[54] Allen Don, Los Angeles Times, Assembly. 15 September, 1965.

[55] Elliott Edward, op/ed. 26 January, 1961.

[56] Gar Smith, Freeways, Community, and “Environmental Racism”. 1990. 7-14.

[57] Gilbert Estrada, 298.

[58] Ibid, 299.

[59] Ibid,304.

[60] Ibid, 305.

[61] Ibid, 305.

[62] Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times, L.A. Area Has Many Freeways That Stayed on the Drawing Board. 28 October, 2014.

[63] Ken Reich, Los Angeles Times, Battle Lines are Drawn Over Freeway Routes. 19 December, 1965.


Figure 2 Map of Los Angeles freeway system Lee, Nelson.Los Angeles, California Freeways & Airports Map. 2001. Accessed April 20, 2017.
Figure 3 Map showing the Pacific Electric Trolley routes Pacific Electric Railway, David Rumsey Map Collection. Accessed April 21, 2017.

Figure 4 Map showing the East Los Angeles area and nearby freeways U.S. Census, East Los Angeles 2010. Accessed April 20, 2017.


Primary Sources: 

A Section of Hades in Los Angeles . “Los Angeles Record Newspaper.” December 11, 1912.

Eastside Sun . “Brooklyn Avenue Businesmen’s Association Letter .” September 30, 1953.

Elliott, Edward. “op/ed. column .” Eastside Sun , January 26, 1961.

II, Rong-Gong Lin. “L.A. Area Has Many Freeways that Stayed on the Drawing Board .” Los Angeles Times , October 28, 2014.

Los Angeles Herald. “What Los Angeles Owes to Henry Huntington .” December 20, 1908.

Los Angeles Times . “Key Links of Freeway Rapidly Assuming Shape .” November 11, 1946.

Los Angeles Times . “New Directory Shows Big Growth in the City .” March 9, 1921.

Los Angeles Times . “Super Parkways Plans Made After the War .” March 1943.

Los Angeles Times . “Wilshire Extension Approved .” August 10, 1926.

Los Angeles Times. “More Freeways Will Be Built Using State Gas Taxes.” January 1941.

Read, George. “The Future of Los Angeles .” Los Angeles Times , April 6, 1945.

Reich, Kan. “Battle Lines are Drawn Over Freeway Route .” Los Angeles Times , December 19, 1965.

Sausalito News . “Seek Federal Aid .” August 30, 1935.

The Regional Planning Commision “Freeways for the Region”Master Plan . Los Angeles , 1936.

Secondary Sources:

Anthony, Constance. “Urban Forced Removals in Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles: North-South Similarities in Race and City.” The University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, 2013: 337-364.

American Cancer Society. “California Cancer Facts & Figures”. 2014, 1-20

Avila, Eric. Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles. Los Angeles : University of California Press , 2006.

—. The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City . University of Minnesota Press , 2014.

Cassidy, Michael. “Los Angeles: Promise and Warning .” Official Architecture and Planning , 1970: 1057-1066.

Ericksen, Gordon. “The Superhighway and City Planning: Some Ecological Considerations with Reference to Los Angeles .” Social Forces, 1950: 429-434.

Estrada, Gilbert. “If You Build It, They Will Move: The Los Angeles Freeway System and the Displacement of Mexican East Los Angeles 1944-1972.” Southern California Quarterly , 2005: 287-315.

Foster, Mark. “The Model-T, the Hard Sell, and Los Angeles’s Urban Growth: The Decentralization of Los Angeles During the 1920s.” Pacific Historical Review , 1975: 459-484.

“Freeways and the Rights of Abutting Owners .” Stanford Law Review , 1951: 298-311.

Garnett, Nicole. “The Neglected Political Economy of Eminent Domain .” Michigan Law Review , 2006: 101-150.

Kushner, James A. “A Tale of Three Cities: Land Development and Planning for Growth in Stockholm, Berlin, and Los Angeles .” The Urban Lawyer , 1993: 197-221.

Lopez, Cesar. “Lost in Translation: From Calle de los Negros to Nigger Alley to North Los Angeles Street to Place Erasure, Los Angeles 1855-1951.” Southern California Quarterly, 2012: 25-90.

Loukaitou-Sideris, Anastasia and Gottlied, Roberts. The Day that People Filled the Freeway: Re-Envisioning the Arroyo Seco Parkway, and the Urban Environment in Los Angeles. Research paper , Los Angeles : University of California Transportation Center , 2005.

Schiesl, Martin. “City Planning and the Federal Government in World War II: Los Angeles Experience .” California History , 1980: 126-143.

Smith, Gar. “Freeways, Community, and “Enviromental Racism” .” Race, Poverty, & the Environment , 1990: 7,14.

Taylor, Brian. “Why California Stopped Building Freeways .” University of California , 1993: 29-35.