Primary Source Report-JB

Source 1:

County of Los Angeles Regional Planning Commission. Freeways for the Region. Accessed through Metro Library Archives. http://libraryarchives.metro.net/DPGTL/trafficplans/1943_freeways_for_the_region.pdf1943.

Freeways for the Region is a seminal document that lays out the justifications for building a freeway system in Los Angeles County. This document provides the original context for the shift in transportation towards automobile travel and will allow me to explain the genesis a truly interconnected system of freeway travel in Los Angeles. It also offers a history of previous proposals that had set the table for future plans, including plans by the Automobile Club, a Citizen’s Committee Plan, and a Los Angeles City Plan. This sixty-page document is full of maps, sketches, and cartoon advertisements that provide propagandized justifications for investing in urban freeways. Considering this proposal is comprehensive and full of subjectivity, it will allow me to analyze the political, fiscal, and cultural context of the era of freeway expansion.

Source 2:

Telford, Edward T. California Highways and Public Works. District VII Freeways Report: Accomplishments During 1956 and Outlook for Future. Accessed through Metro Library Archives. 1957.

Similar to the first highway report, this report provides context to the construction of Interstate-10 in the early 1960s. This document details recent achievements in building the freeway system and discusses plans for the immediate future. Primary sources like this are crucial to situating my argument in the context of federated government, and this gives me a detailed account of machinations at the state level. The report also includes diagrams and maps of proposed future freeway routes, including the Santa Monica Freeway/Interstate-10. Comparing this source with Freeways for the Region, I will be able to analyze changes in the regional plan and trace how those changes affected different Los Angeles neighborhoods and their residents.

Source 3:

Bradford, Robert B. California Highways and Public Works. California Highways, 1962. Accessed through Metro Library Archives. 1962.

This 1962 statewide report will allow me to complete my three-fold analysis of the highway commission’s planning for the Los Angeles region. If the first two documents provided the long-term and immediate foreground to the Santa Monica Freeway construction, this report details the immediate aftermath. This includes maps, financial figures, and pictures of accomplishments throughout the state in the 1961-1962 fiscal year. I will use this report to analyze the official state narrative on freeway construction during the year I am most specifically focusing on. I will pay close attention to any route changes, construction delays, and editorializing of the construction and will scour the document for hints at where to find other primary sources.

Source 4:

Census of Population and Housing, 1960, Final Report Series PHC (1), Census Tracts: Los Angeles-Long Beach. Accessed through U.S. Census Bureau.

The 1960 census details the racial and socioeconomic demographics of Los Angeles immediately before the construction of Interstate 10. The report is broken down in to census tracts, which I can use to assess the composition of neighborhoods impacted by freeway construction. I can then compare this data with the data in 1970 and 1980 to measure the impacts of the freeway on the racial and socioeconomic demographics of the neighborhood. This will prove crucial as I set out to answer whether Interstate-10 has had a polarizing and segregating effect on the neighborhood and on the entire mid-city region of the city.

Sources 5 & 6:

Aerial Footage of West Adams with Arlington and Gramercy overpasses. 1961. Originally located in UCSB Aerial Photograph Archives, accessed courtesy of West Adams Heritage Association. Second photo is a Google Maps screenshot of the same parcel today.

Analyzing images will be a key part of my research project, considering I am studying the impacts of changes in the built environment. The first photo is a gold mine of analytical possibility: it contains remnants of plots destroyed during construction, shows traces of Berkeley Square, a well-documented cultural landmark in the West Adams neighborhood, and evokes strong imagery of a neighborhood in transition. Places images like this in my work will give me an opportunity to draw readers into the physical impacts of neighborhood transition and will bolster data and evidence found in reports and planning documents.

Key Words:

Race, Class, Roads, Community, Pollution