California State Route 123

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State Route 123 marker

State Route 123
San Pablo Avenue
Map of California's San Francisco Bay Area with San Pablo Avenue from I 580 to I 80 highlighted in red; SR 123 ends further south than is shown
Route information
Defined by Streets and Highways Code § 423
Maintained by Caltrans
Length: 7.375 mi[1] (11.869 km)
Major junctions
South end: I‑580 in Oakland
  SR 13 in Berkeley
North end: I‑80 in Richmond
Highway system
SR 121 SR 124

State Route 123 (SR 123) is a state highway in the U.S. state of California in the San Francisco Bay Area. Named San Pablo Avenue for virtually its entire length, SR 123 is a major north–south state highway along the flats of the urban East Bay in the U.S. state of California. Route 123 runs a relatively short 7.39 miles (11.9 km) between Interstate 580 in the south and Interstate 80 in the north. San Pablo Avenue itself, a portion of Historic US 40, continues well past these termini but without the Route 123 designation.

Route description[edit]

Route 123 is a four-lane boulevard with a median strip for its entire length. Its southern terminus is at the underpass of Interstate 580 in Oakland. Going north, it passes through the cities of Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito. It briefly turns on Cutting Boulevard before entering Richmond at its northern terminus under Interstate 80.

San Pablo Avenue is sometimes used as an alternate route to the Eastshore Freeway (Interstate 80) when that freeway becomes very congested. Major intersections along this route include 40th Street, Ashby Avenue (State Route 13), University Avenue (which leads to UC Berkeley), Gilman Street, Marin Avenue, Central Avenue and Cutting Boulevard.

Continuing on San Pablo Avenue past Route 123's southern terminus eventually leads to downtown Oakland and Oakland City Hall where San Pablo Avenue ends. Continuing on San Pablo Avenue before Route 123's northern terminus leads to the cities of San Pablo, Pinole, Hercules, Rodeo, and Crockett. In Hercules, San Pablo Avenue meets the terminus of State Route 4 near Interstate 80, and, after a discontinuity bridged by Parker Avenue in Rodeo, the road approaches the Carquinez Bridge and arrives in Crockett as Pomona Street.

An AC Transit Rapid Bus (72R-San Pablo Rapid) runs along San Pablo Ave. from Downtown Oakland to Contra Costa College in San Pablo. The express bus line was put in place after a Metropolitan Transportation Commission study determined that it would be more cost-effective than a previous proposal to install light rail along the route. The BART system runs its Richmond leg parallel to the route up to the El Cerrito Del Norte station.

Route shield signs at the intersection of San Pablo Avenue (SR 123) and Ashby Avenue (State Route 13) in Berkeley.

The Alvarado Adobe is located by the San Pablo City Hall on the corner of San Pablo Avenue and Church Lane.

House numbers[edit]

  • In Oakland, San Pablo Avenue begins from 16 Street (1600 San Pablo Avenue) and ends at 67 Street (6700 San Pablo Avenue)
  • In Berkeley and Albany, San Pablo Avenue's house numbers range from 500 to 3100, consistent with Berkeley's grid.
  • In El Cerrito, San Pablo Avenue begins at 9800 and ends at 12??? at the Richmond city limit.
  • The end of San Pablo Avenue is 20050 San Pablo Ave, where the Dead Fish Restaurant is located in Crockett, CA.


San Pablo Avenue is one of the oldest existing roads in the East Bay. It originated in the Spanish colonial era as the Camino de la Contra Costa ("road of the opposite shore", i.e. opposite from the Presidio of San Francisco and the settlement around the Mission in San Francisco) and was legally a "camino real"[2] ("royal road", i.e., property of the Spanish crown) until Mexico won its independence in 1821. It ran from the Encinal ("Oakland") landings of the Rancho San Antonio northward (actually northwestward) along the bayshore, then eastward just inland of the Carquinez Strait. It was the principal thoroughfare for the scattered ranches throughout this part of the East Bay.

The name persisted into the American era when it was still called the "Contra Costa Road". On July 15, 1852, the Court of Sessions of Contra Costa County ordered the construction of a more direct and somewhat improved road along the same general route between the Rancho San Pablo and Oakland,[3] which consequently became known as "The San Pablo Road". This segment subsequently became today's "San Pablo Avenue".

In 1927, this road was designated as part of the Lincoln Highway, the nation's first transcontinental road upon the opening of the new highway bridge across the Carquinez Strait.

Prior to the construction of the Eastshore Highway, San Pablo Avenue was the main north–south route through the northern East Bay, carrying the designation U.S. Route 40 north of University Avenue in Berkeley (US 40 proceeded down to the foot of University and the end of the Berkeley Pier where an auto ferry transported motorists to the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco). U.S. 40 was moved to the new highway after it was built (1930s), and about 25 years later took its current designation of Interstate 80. San Pablo Avenue was Business U.S. 40 until 1964.

During 2005-06, San Pablo Avenue was repaved and otherwise rehabilitated by Caltrans. Portions of San Pablo Avenue, particularly in Berkeley, Albany, and El Cerrito, are slowly transforming, with a mix of trendy shops, restaurants and condominium developments.

In the early part of the 20th century, a streetcar line ran on San Pablo between Richmond and Oakland. Part of the Oakland segment of these tracks up to Grayson Street in Berkeley were used during World War II for the Shipyard Railway of the Key System which transported workers from the Key System's hub in Emeryville to the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond.

Major intersections[edit]

Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured on the road as it was in 1964, based on the alignment that existed at the time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. R reflects a realignment in the route since then, M indicates a second realignment, L refers an overlap due to a correction or change, and T indicates postmiles classified as temporary (for a full list of prefixes, see the list of postmile definitions).[1] Segments that remain unconstructed or have been relinquished to local control may be omitted. The numbers reset at county lines; the start and end postmiles in each county are given in the county column.

County Location Postmile
Destinations Notes
ALA 0.00-5.18
Oakland 0.00 San Pablo Avenue Continuation beyond I-580
0.00 I‑580 east (MacArthur Freeway) to SR 24 – Hayward, Stockton, Walnut Creek Interchange; south end of SR 123
Berkeley 1.91 SR 13 (Ashby Avenue)
3.15 University Avenue Serves UC Berkeley
Contra Costa
CC 0.00-2.20
El Cerrito 0.29 Central Avenue
2.10 San Pablo Avenue, Cutting Boulevard San Pablo Avenue was former US 40 east
Richmond 2.20 I‑80 east (Eastshore Freeway) – Sacramento Interchange; north end of SR 123
2.20 Cutting Boulevard – Point Richmond Continuation beyond I-80
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b c California Department of Transportation. "State Truck Route List". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (XLS file) on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015. 
  2. ^ Diseño del Rancho de San Pablo, Bancroft Library Collection, circa 1830
  3. ^,M1 History of Contra Costa County, J. P. Munro-Fraser, published by W.A. Slocum, 1882
  4. ^ California Department of Transportation, Log of Bridges on State Highways, July 2007
  5. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006

External links[edit]