California State Route 480

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State Route 480 marker

State Route 480
Embarcadero Freeway; Golden Gate Freeway (unbuilt Western section)
Route information
Maintained by Caltrans
Existed: 1968 – 1991[1]
Major junctions
West end: US 101 in San Francisco
East end: I-80 in San Francisco
Highway system
I-405 I-505

State Route 480 was a state highway in San Francisco, California, United States, consisting of the elevated double-decker Embarcadero Freeway (also known as the Embarcadero Skyway), the partly elevated Doyle Drive approach to the Golden Gate Bridge and the proposed and unbuilt section in between. The unbuilt section from Doyle Drive to Van Ness Avenue was to have been called the Golden Gate Freeway and the Embarcadero Freeway as originally planned would have extended from Van Ness along the north side of Bay Street and then along the Embarcadero to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The Embarcadero Freeway, which had only been constructed from Broadway along the Embarcadero to the Bay Bridge, was demolished after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and Doyle Drive is now part of U.S. Route 101. SR 480 was Interstate 480, an auxiliary route of the Interstate Highway System, from 1955 to 1965.[1][2] The entire route was deleted in 1991.[1]

The Embarcadero (Spanish: Wharf), is the eastern waterfront and roadway that has replaced the Embarcadero Freeway.

History[edit]

Interstate 480
Location: San Francisco, California
Existed: 1955–1968
1955 map of the planned Interstates in the San Francisco Bay Area. I-480 would have run along the north side of the city, while I-280 would run south along the peninsula. I-80 was to have run past the east end of I-480 to end at I-280.

Legislative Route 224 was defined in 1947 to connect U.S. Route 101 (pre-1964 Legislative Route 2) at the intersection of Lombard Street and Van Ness Avenue with U.S. Route 40 and U.S. Route 50 (pre-1964 Legislative Route 68) at the west end of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge (near the Transbay Terminal).[3] Its alignment was roughly along Lombard Street and the Embarcadero.[4]

Legislative Route 224, as well as Route 2 (US 101) from Route 224 west to the junction with State Route 1 near the Golden Gate Bridge, was added to the Interstate Highway System on September 15, 1955. This included the 1936 Doyle Drive, an early freeway built to access the Golden Gate Bridge.[5] After some discussion, the number Interstate 480 was assigned on November 10, 1958. (Interstate 280, as originally planned, ran south from the west end of I-480 along SR 1, through the MacArthur Tunnel and Golden Gate Park, to join its present alignment in Daly City.)[6]

In the original 1955 plan, it was planned to extend the Central Freeway as a double decked structure between Van Ness Ave. and Polk Street north to Clay Street, then as a single deck depressed freeway north to Broadway, where it would have tunneled under Russian Hill to connect with Interstate 480.

The first section of the Embarcadero Freeway, from the Bay Bridge approach (Interstate 80) north to Broadway, opened in 1959.[7] As a consequence of the freeway revolt, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Resolution 45-59 in January 1959, opposing certain freeways including the remainder of I-480.[8] The freeway revolt continued after a new freeway plan was proposed in 1964, with a major protest on May 17, 1964—200,000 people rallied in Golden Gate Park against any more new freeways. Poet Kenneth Rexroth spoke at the rally (among others) and folk singer Malvina Reynolds sang (she was most famous for her song "Little Boxes" attacking urban sprawl, which she sang at the anti-freeway rally).[9]

The proposed unbuilt section as replanned in 1964 would have extended not from the Lombard St. exit of Doyle Drive along Lombard St. as originally planned in 1955, but from the Marina Blvd. exit of Doyle Drive, through the Marina Green and then along the north side of Fort Mason, then along the north side of Bay Street to the Embarcadero and south along the Embarcadero to connect with the former Embarcadero Freeway. The section between the Golden Gate Bridge (including an upgraded Doyle Drive) and Van Ness Ave. would have been named the Golden Gate Freeway; the rest of the freeway to the east of Van Ness Ave. would have been the extended originally planned full length of the Embarcadero Freeway, originally planned to extend from Van Ness Ave. to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge–going east first down the north side of Bay Street, then going southeast curving around the base of Telegraph Hill and meeting at Broadway the former end of the actually constructed section of the Embarcadero Freeway.[10][11]

In the 1964 renumbering, Route 480 was designated for the full route of I-480, including the US 101 concurrency. The route was deleted from the Interstate Highway System in January 1968, with Interstate 280 being rerouted north of Daly City at the same time. The short piece of former I-480 from the junction with new I-280 (previously State Route 87) south to the Bay Bridge approach became part of I-280 (to allow I-280 to meet I-80), now named the Southern Embarcadero Freeway.[6] These changes were made to the state highway system in 1968; Route 480 was truncated only slightly, with the 5.47 miles[12] (8.80 km) from I-280 to SR 1 remaining, though downgraded to State Route 480; this extension of I-280 south (the Junipero Serra Freeway) is considered the southern terminus of Junipero Serra Boulevard.[8]

Demise[edit]

Section of the Embarcadero Freeway in front of the Ferry Building during demolition

In the 1980s, opposition to the Embarcadero freeway resurfaced in proposals to tear down the freeway. On November 5, 1985, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway.[7] The proposal was put to the voters in 1987, and soundly defeated. The October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake significantly damaged the structure, causing it to be closed to traffic. CalTrans planned to retrofit and retain the double-decker freeway. Various groups in and outside the City supported the CalTrans plan, but there was a significant opinion within the City in favor of removing the freeway structure. Then Mayor Art Agnos proposed demolishing the freeway in favor of a boulevard with an underpass at the Ferry Building to allow for a large plaza.

Opposition to demolishing the freeway mounted again, with over 20,000 signatures gathered to again create a ballot measure. The strongest opposition came from Chinatown and other neighborhoods North of downtown. Merchants in Chinatown had suffered a dramatic decline in business in the months immediately following the earthquake and feared that if the freeway was not reopened they would not recover.[13] Agnos continued to negotiate with federal and state officials to win enough funding to make the demolition practical, and the opposition quieted. Demolition began on February 27, 1991.[14] That year Agnos was defeated for re-election as Chinatown switched its support away from him. Meanwhile, the state legislature deleted SR 480 from the state's Streets and Highway Code.[1]

On June 16, 2006, the Port of San Francisco unveiled a monument to Mayor Agnos honoring his vision and courage, noting:

This pedestrian pier commemorates the achievement of Mayor Agnos in leaving our city better and stronger than he found it.

Legislative changes that year deleted Route 480 from the state highway system; the northwest section was transferred to U.S. Route 101.[8] The only piece of the Embarcadero Freeway to remain was the beginning of the ramp from the Bay Bridge to Fremont Street, including a short ramp stub that formerly carried traffic to the freeway (Interstate 280 after 1968). This part was rebuilt as a part of the Bay Bridge retrofit project. (I-280 was never finished to that interchange, though its legislative definition still takes it there.[15])

Prior to the earthquake, the Embarcadero Freeway carried approximately 70,000 vehicles daily in the vicinity of the Ferry Building. Another 40,000 vehicles/day used associated ramps at Main and Beale Sts.

In 2003, Caltrans began work on a retrofitting project to replace the western approach to the Bay Bridge. This retrofitting was part of a larger, $6 billion project to upgrade the aging Bay Bridge to modern earthquake standards, which includes replacing the entire eastern span. The entire project was completed in 2013, and the west approach was completed in 2009. In late 2005, Caltrans began the demolition of the original west approach after traffic was routed onto a temporary bypass structure. As a result of this retrofitting project, all old parts of the approach have been replaced, removing the final remains of the Embarcadero Freeway.[16]

Popular culture[edit]

The Embarcadero Freeway was featured in several films, including Magnum Force, Freebie and the Bean, Bullitt, Serial, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, The Lineup, Time After Time, Innerspace, and Koyaanisqatsi. On television, the freeway was seen in such shows such as Full House (in several overhead screen shots) and The Streets of San Francisco. For a sequence at the beginning of the 2007 film Zodiac, which takes place in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the now-demolished freeway was digitally added behind a shot of the Ferry Building. In 1985, four years before its destruction, James Bond (played for the last time by Roger Moore) drove along the freeway in A View to a Kill as he followed his ally Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) during his quest to eliminate the villainous Max Zorin (Christopher Walken).[17] In the 1993 T.V. movie Miracle on Interstate 880, the Embarcadero Freeway was used in place of the Cypress Street Viaduct. The film focuses on the survival of three victims who survived the collapse of the Cypress Street Viaduct during the Loma Prieta earthquake.[18] In a major science fiction alternative-history novel “The Man in the High Castle” by Philip K. Dick, the Embarcadero Freeway is a dominant symbol of noisy, industrialized civilizations in the visions of one protagonist.

Gallery[edit]

Exit list[edit]

Map of the Embarcadero Freeway (purple)

The following is an exit list of the former Embarcadero Freeway prior to the Loma Prieta earthquake and subsequent demolition.

The route was in San Francisco. The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column. The entire route is in [[San Francisco, California|San Francisco]].

Postmile Destinations Notes
  I-80 east (Bay Bridge) – Oakland Southbound exit and northbound entrance
  US 101 south (Bayshore Freeway via I-80 west) – San Jose Southbound exit and northbound entrance
  Main Street Northbound exit
  Beale Street Southbound entrance
  Washington Street Northbound exit
  Clay Street Southbound entrance
  Broadway, Battery Street Northbound exit
  Broadway, Sansome Street Southbound entrance
Gap in route
  Marina Blvd Continuation beyond U.S. 101
  US 101 north (Doyle Drive) – Golden Gate Bridge Northbound exit and southbound entrance
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Former State Route 480". California Highways. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  2. ^ "Interstate 480". kurumi.com. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  3. ^ "California Highways: Chronology of California Highways 1947-1962". Cahighways.org. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  4. ^ "1963 San Francisco inset map". Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  5. ^ "South Access to the Golden Gate Bridge". Presidio Parkway. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  6. ^ a b "California Highways: Interstate Highway Types and the History of California's Interstates". Cahighways.org. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  7. ^ a b "I-480 (canceled) California". kurumi. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  8. ^ a b c "California Highways: Former State Route 480". Cahighways.org. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  9. ^ San Francisco Chronicle, May 18, 1964 Page One
  10. ^ Transportation Section of the Master Plan of the City and County of San Francisco, 1955, OCLC 51930208 (map with route numbers added)
  11. ^ "San Francisco Freeway Plan", 1964 [Revised from 1955 plan] San Francisco Department of City Planning map
  12. ^ "January 1, 2006 California Log of Bridges on State Highways". Dot.ca.gov. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  13. ^ Quake Renews Embarcadero Freeway Fight - San Francisco Chronicle November 16, 1989, Front page
  14. ^ "FHWA By Day - February 27". Fhwa.dot.gov. 1991-02-27. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  15. ^ "California Highways: Interstate 280". Cahighways.org. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  16. ^ Bay Bridge Info. "Bay Bridge Seismic Safety Project". Baybridgeinfo.org. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  17. ^ A View to a Kill (1985) - Filming locations
  18. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]