California State Highway 2 (Route 2) runs from the junction of Santa Monica Boulevard and Centinela Avenue at Santa Monica to Route 138 east of Wrightwood, with discontinuities at Routes 101 and 210. It is considered to be one of the most strikingly varied state highways in the United States.
Route 2 historically begins at the junction of Routes 1 and 10 in Santa Monica. After heading a few blocks north on Lincoln Boulevard, the route turns east on Santa Monica Boulevard, just several blocks from the Pacific Ocean. The route continues on Santa Monica Boulevard as it goes through the dense urban fabric of Santa Monica, quickly reaching Centinela Avenue, where Route 2 currently begins. From there, Route 2 heads east through the wealthy areas of Westwood and Beverly Hills before entering the decidedly urban West Hollywood and Hollywood.
Route 2 then jumps onto Route 101 and heads south to the Alvarado Street exit. There, it follows Alvarado Street through the economically deprived but culturally vivid community of Echo Park. The route then turns north onto Glendale Boulevard, which is frequently congested, especially after games and events at Dodger Stadium. The route then jumps onto the Glendale Freeway. The Glendale Freeway runs near the communities of Glassell Park and Eagle Rock. After its interchange with Route 134, the route follows a mountain ridge through a valley as it flanks the east side of Glendale. The freeway ends at Foothill Boulevard in La Caņada Flintridge; Route 2 turns off onto eastbound Route 210 for a short while until reaching the Angeles Crest Highway exit.
There, the route turns north onto the Angeles Crest Highway. This route winds generally east-northeast through the canyons of the San Gabriel Mountains for over 80 miles, before descending to the floor of the Antelope Valley approximately 20 miles west of Hesperia and ending at Route 138. Starting in La Caņada at an altitude of 1300' the highway climbs to a high point of 7,903' at Dawson Saddle. The eastern portions of the Angeles Crest Highway are notoriously dangerous, with many switchbacks and blind curves, and are often closed during occasions of heavy winter snowfall. The highway is generally closed between Islip Saddle and Vincent Gap from mid-December to mid-May due to snow and rockfall.
"Route 2 is from:
- "(1) The point where Santa Monica Boulevard crosses the city limits of Santa Monica at Centinela Avenue to Route 101 in Los Angeles, except the relinquished portions described in subdivision (b).
- (2) Route 101 in Los Angeles to Route 210 in La Canada-Flintridge via Glendale.
- (3) Route 210 in La Canada-Flintridge to Route 138 via Wrightwood." [CS&HC Sec. 302(a)]
"Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the relinquished former portions of Route 2 within the city limits of West Hollywood and Santa Monica, and between Route 405 and Moreno Drive in Los Angeles, are not a state highway and are not eligible for adoption under Section 81. Those cities shall maintain signs within their respective jurisdictions directing motorists to the continuation of Route 2." [CS&HC Sec. 302(b)]
"(1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the commission may relinquish to the City of Beverly Hills the portion of Route 2 that is located between the city's west city limit at Moreno Drive and the city's east city limit at Doheny Drive, upon terms and conditions the commission finds to be in the best interests of the state. (2) A relinquishment under this subdivision shall become effective immediately following the county recorder's recordation of the relinquishment resolution containing the commission's approval of the terms and conditions of the relinquishment. (3) On and after the effective date of the relinquishment, both of the following shall occur: (A) The portion of Route 2 relinquished under this subdivision shall cease to be a state highway. (B) The portion of Route 2 relinquished under this subdivision shall be ineligible for future adoption under Section 81. (4) For the portions of Route 2 that are relinquished, the City of Beverly Hills shall maintain within its jurisdiction signs directing motorists to the continuation of Route 2." [CS&HC Sec. 302(c)]
From Glendale Boulevard in Los Angeles County to Route 210. [CS&HC Sec. 253.2]
From Route 210 in La Caņada Flintridge to Route 138 via Wrightwood. [CS&HC Sec. 263.2]
Before 1964, U.S. Route 66 once ran along Santa Monica Boulevard, while the remaining route was Signed Route 2. Before the Glendale Freeway was built, the latter continued past Route 101 on Santa Monica Boulevard, then north on Myra Avenue, east on Fountain Avenue, north on Hyperion Avenue, east on Rowena Avenue, north on Fletcher Drive, north on Verdugo Road, and east on Verdugo Boulevard, before reaching Foothill Boulevard and Angeles Crest Highway, where it continues to this day.
In 1964, Route 2 was defined as a single route from Santa Monica to Wrightwood with no discontinuities. After U.S. Route 66 was decommissioned in California, Santa Monica Boulevard was added to Route 2. The discontinuities at Routes 101 and 210 were added in 1965 and 1990, respectively.
Originally, it was to have been a freeway from Route 405 to Route 101, flowing onto today's Glendale Freeway. In fact, it was the original routing of the Santa Monica Freeway (which subsequenly went to the distantly parallel Route 10). However, the department never obtained the permission from Beverly Hills to build it, for fear that it would create a visible division between the upper and lower halfs of the city. At one time, the department considered building a cut-and-cover tunnel. The freeway plan was quietly cancelled in 1975. Currently, the Glendale Freeway begins as a stub at Glendale Boulevard. A freeway-wide bridge was built over Glendale Boulevard in hopes that the freeway would be built further west. Today, the bridge serves as a default of Route 2 west onto Glendale Boulevard south. A more modest extension to Route 101 has been discussed.
Today, Caltrans is relinquishing the street-running parts of Route 2 to local cities of which it runs through. In 1996, state law was changed to permit the relinquishment of Route 2 in Santa Monica and West Hollywood. When the relinquishment in Santa Monica went through in 1998, the portion from Route 1 to Centinela Avenue was deleted. The law was changed again in 2001 to allow Route 2 from Route 405 to Moreno Drive to be relinquished to the City of Los Angeles. In 2003 California Senate Bill 315 was chaptered, acknowledging the relinquishments within Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and from Route 405 to Moreno Drive in Los Angeles, and permitting the relinquishment of Route 2 in Beverly Hills. Whether Route 2 west of Route 101 will stay as a paper route after relinquishment is yet to be determined.
Points of Interest
- Descanso Gardens (http://www.descanso.com/) (Verdugo Boulevard exit)
- Mountain High (http://www.mthigh.com/) (Wrightwood)
|The California State Highway System |
|Route 1 |
[CS&HC Sec. 301]
|Route 3 |
[CS&HC Sec. 303]
|Route 2 |
[CS&HC Sec. 302]
|JUNCTION ||MILE POST |
|1/10 ||LA 0.00 |
|Centinela Ave. ||LA 2.32 |
|405 ||LA 3.65 |
|170 ||LA 10.90 |
|101 ||LA 12.73 |
|LA 12.81 |
|Glendale Blvd./ |
|LA 14.21 |
|5 ||LA 15.50 |
|134 ||LA R18.81 |
|210 ||LA R23.16 |
|LA 24.42 |
|249 ||LA 33.80 (?) |
|39 ||LA 64.09 |
|138 ||SB 6.36 |