Wilshire Boulevard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Route map: Google / Bing

Wilshire Boulevard
Maintained by California Department of Transportation
West end Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica
Major
junctions
I-405 in Los Angeles
SR 110
East end Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles
Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown

Wilshire Boulevard (/ˈwɪlʃər/ WIL-shər) is one of the principal east-west arterial roads in Los Angeles, California. It was named for Henry Gaylord Wilshire (1861–1927), an Ohio native who made and lost fortunes in real estate, farming, and gold mining.1 Henry Wilshire initiated what was to become Wilshire Boulevard in the 1890s by clearing out an unassuming twelve-hundred foot path in his barley field.2 The road first appeared on a map under its present name in 1895.3 A historic apartment building on the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and S. Kenmore Ave., the Gaylord, carries his middle name.4

Overview

The Miracle Mile

Running 15.83 miles (25.48 km) from Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles to Ocean Avenue in the City of Santa Monica, Wilshire Boulevard is densely developed throughout most of its span, connecting five of Los Angeles's major business districts to each other, as well as Beverly Hills. Many of the post-1956 skyscrapers in Los Angeles are located along Wilshire; for example, "One Wilshire," built in 1966 at the junction of Wilshire on Grand is said to be "...the main hub of the internet for the entire Pacific Rim"5 due to the large concentration of telecommunications companies renting space there.6 Aon Center, at one point Los Angeles' largest (and presently second-largest) tower, is at 707 Wilshire Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles.7

The Wilshire Boulevard home of J. Paul Getty was used as the filmset for the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard: it was demolished in 1957.8

One particularly famous stretch of the boulevard between Fairfax and Highland Avenues is known as the Miracle Mile.9 Many of Los Angeles' largest museums are located there. The area just to the east of that, between Highland Avenue and Wilton Place, is referred to as the "Park Mile".10

Wilshire Boulevard in West LA

All of the boulevard is at least four lanes in width, and most of the portion between Hoover Street and Robertson Boulevard has a raised center median. The widest portion is in the business district of central Westwood, where mobs of pedestrians crossing Wilshire at Westwood Boulevard must traverse ten lanes (including two left-turn pockets). According to a 1991 study by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, this and the nearby intersection of Wilshire and Veteran are among the busiest in Los Angeles.11

The Wilshire Corridor, located next to Century City, is one of Los Angeles' busiest districts, and contains many high-rise residential towers. The Fox and MGM studios are located in a series of skyscrapers, along with many historic Los Angeles hotels.

Wilshire Blvd is also the principal street of Los Angeles Koreatown, the site of many of Los Angeles' oldest buildings, as well as many skyscrapers. Koreatown and Mid Wilshire are among Los Angeles's densest districts.

Wilshire Boulevard and the Los Angeles County Art Museum in 1965.

Transportation

The Purple and Red subway lines of the LACMTA run along Wilshire Boulevard from just past the 7th/Figueroa Street station before serving the Westlake/MacArthur Park and Wilshire/Vermont stations, where the Purple Line continues along Wilshire to serve two stations at Normandie Avenue and at Western Avenue in Koreatown, while the Red Line branches off to terminate in North Hollywood. Metro Local line 20, Metro Rapid line 720, and Santa Monica Transit line 2 operate along Wilshire Boulevard. Due to the high ridership of line 720, 60-foot (18 m) NABI articulated buses are used on this route.

Metro Rapid 720 bus headed to Santa Monica
Purple Line train

The planned Westside Subway Extension is intended to extend the Purple Line to Westwood/UCLA, following Wilshire for most of its route. During the 2005 campaign for Mayor of Los Angeles, ultimately victorious candidate Antonio Villaraigosa pledged to begin construction on the Wilshire Boulevard subway. Current plans would see the project completed to Westwood somewhere between 2022 and 2036, depending on funding.

Traveling on Wilshire Boulevard at any time except late nights and Sundays is difficult, as it passes through the busiest sections of Los Angeles. The Santa Monica and Brentwood portions are relatively tame, but the Westwood and Beverly Hills portions are almost guaranteed to have thick traffic. There are traffic lights on every block in Beverly Hills and the Miracle Mile.

The boulevard's widest portion is in Westwood and Holmby Hills, where it expands to six, and briefly, eight lanes. Several tall glitzy condominium buildings overlook this part of Wilshire, giving it the title of Millionaire's Mile. This section is also known as the Wilshire Corridor and Condo Canyon.

The sections of Wilshire Boulevard in the city of Los Angeles are notorious for their giant potholes.12

MacArthur Park connection

Wilshire Boulevard formerly ended at the MacArthur Park lake, but in 1934 a berm was built for it to cross and link up with the existing Orange Street (which ran from Figueroa to Alvarado) into downtown Los Angeles. Orange Street was renamed Wilshire and extended east of Figueroa to Grand. This divided the lake into two halves; the northern half was later drained.

Cities and communities (east to west)

Map of Wilshire Boulevard and adjacent communities

Landmarks (west to east)

LACMA West (formerly the May Company Department Store)
Wilshire Boulevard through Miracle Mile in the 1960s
Wilshire Boulevard at the eastern border of Beverly Hills

Major intersections

The entire route is in Los Angeles County.

Location Destinations Notes
Santa Monica Ocean Avenue
Lincoln Boulevard
West Los Angeles I-405 (San Diego Freeway) – Sacramento, Long Beach Interchange; former SR 7
Sepulveda Boulevard
Westwood Boulevard
Beverly Glen Boulevard
Beverly Hills SR 2 (Santa Monica Boulevard)
La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles Fairfax Avenue
La Brea Avenue
Crenshaw Boulevard
Western Avenue
Vermont Avenue
Alvarado Street
I-110 / SR 110 – San Pedro, Pasadena Interchange
Figueroa Street Former US 6
Grand Avenue

See also

  • Ernest L. Webster, Los Angeles City Council member, 1927–31, helped introduce traffic-signal system
  • Harold A. Henry, Los Angeles City Council president active in beautifying the boulevard

References

  1. ^ Hawthorne, Christopher (23 March 2013). "Wilshire Boulevard, a Main Street that stands apart". LA Times. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  2. ^ Roderick (2005), 16
  3. ^ Roderick (2005), 10
  4. ^ "History". The Historic Gaylord Apartments. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  5. ^ Bullock, Dave (03 March 2008). "A Lesson in Internet Anatomy: The World's Densest Meet-Me Room". Wired. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  6. ^ "One Wilshire: Telco Hotel Central". Center for Land Use Interpretation. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  7. ^ Ottens, Cale (22 August 2013). "Life at the top: In L.A.'s skyscrapers, diverse firms, great views". LA Times. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  8. ^ "The top houses from the movies". Daily Telegraph. 
  9. ^ Masters, Nathan (11 April 2012). "How the Miracle Mile Got Its Name: A Brief History of L.A.'s Unlikely Retail District". KCET.com. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  10. ^ Roderick (2005), 105
  11. ^ Hill-Holtzman, Nancy (06 January 1991). "Westside Has L.A.'s Busiest Intersections : Traffic: A city survey attributes the rush of cars to population growth and the area's attractions." LA Times. Accessed 21 September 2013.
  12. ^ Steven Leigh Morris, "L.A. Metro Buses Hammered By Potholes on Aging Wilshire Boulevard," LA Weekly, 5 September 2008.

Further reading

Books

  • Roderick, Kevin; J. Eric Lynxwiler (2005). Wilshire Boulevard: The Grand Concourse of Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA: Angel City Press. ISBN 1-883318-55-6. 
  • Rosen, Louis (2011). Henry Gaylord Wilshire: The Millionaire Socialist. Los Angeles, CA: School Justice Institute. ISBN 9780615521244

External links








Creative Commons License