Skip to main content

2nd Street and 3rd Street Tunnels in Los Angeles

While visiting Los Angeles recently I stopped at the 2nd Street and 3rd Street Tunnels through Bunker Hill.


Bunker Hill is a large hill located in downtown Los Angeles.  Traditionally Bunker Hill was physical barrier which separated neighborhoods of Los Angeles.  Beginning in the late 1860s developers began to construct Victorian style homes on top of Bunker Hill.  As people began to move to Bunker Hill there was an increasing need to route traffic efficiently through the neighborhood.

The first tunnel to be built through Bunker Hill was on 3rd Street in 1901 from Hill Street west to Flower Street.  The 3rd Street Tunnel has a utilitarian appearance which to the eye masks true age of the structure.

 
The 3rd Street Tunnel was built next to the original Angel's Flight incline railroad which moved pedestrian traffic uphill to Olive Street.  The original Angel's Flight operated until 1969 when it was removed for neighborhood redevelopment. A second Angele's Flight was opened in 1996 between Hill Street and Grand Avenue a half block from the 3rd Street Tunnel. 

The 3rd Street Tunnel was joined in 1909 by the Hill Street Tunnels which was located just north of Bunker Hill in what is known as Fort Moore Hills.  The Hill Street Tunnels were located in what is now Grand Park and US 101 on the Santa Ana Freeway.   Construction of the Santa Ana Freeway ultimately led to the Hill Street Tunnels along with the nearby 1901 Broadway Tunnel being razed in 1949.   Photos of these tunnels can be found on the link below:

Lost Tunnels of downtown Los Angeles

The 2nd Street Tunnel is by far the most well known tunnel in the Bunker Hill neighborhood.  The 2nd Street Tunnel was under construction from 1916 until it was completed in 1924.  The Hill Street Tunnel runs between Hill Street to South Figueroa Street and ultimately was constructed to relieve traffic in the 3rd Street Tunnel.  The 2nd Street Tunnel is far more ornate than the 3rd Street Tunnel and features white tiles which reflect light.  The 2nd Street Tunnel is over 1,500 feet in length and until 2013 allowed room for four-lanes of automotive traffic.


The 2nd Street Tunnel is frequently featured in movies and has made several notable appearances.  The 2nd Street Tunnel can be seen in the below clip in Blade Runner starting at 0:53:


The 2nd Street Tunnel is featured in the absurd "Boomer will live" sequence of Independence Day:


Which is the source of the below meme from the ancient days of Youtube:


Bunker Hill was extensively redeveloped and lowered starting in the 1950s.  While Bunker Hill still exists it is not the steep residential neighborhood that once necessitated road tunnels being built.  Much of the current skyline of Los Angeles presently centers around the Bunker Hill neighborhood.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Where the hell is Hill Valley? (US Route 8 south/US Route 395 east)

Recently I made a visit to Universal Studios near Los Angeles.  While on the back lot tour I came across a piece of infamous movie-borne fictional highway infamy; the location of town square of Hill Valley, California on US Route 8/US Route 395.


The above photo is part of the intro scene to the first Back-to-the-Future movie which was set in 1985. To anyone who follows roadways the signage error of US 8 meeting US 395 in California is an immediately notable error.  For one; US 8 doesn't even exist anywhere near California with present alignment being signed as an east/west highway between Norway, Michigan and Forest Lake, Minnesota.  To make matters worse US 8 is signed as a southbound route and US 395 (a north/south highway) is signed as an eastbound route.  At minimum the cut-out US 8 and US 395 shields somewhat resemble what Caltrans used in the 1980s.

Assuming Hill Valley is located on what would have been US 395 by 1985 what locales would be a viable real world analog?  US 39…

The Arroyo Seco Parkway and early terminus points of US Route 66 in Los Angeles

This past month I visited the original terminus of US Route 66 on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles and drove the entirety of the Arroyo Seco Parkway to Pasadena.


The Arroyo Seco Parkway is a 8.162 mile section of freeway which traverses from the Four-Level Interchange in downtown Los Angeles north/northeast following the Arroyo Seco to Pasadena.  The Arroyo Seco Parkway is currently designated as part of California State Route 110 but is more widely known as being a classic component of US Route 66.  While US 66 used the entirety of the Arroyo Seco Parkway the freeway also carried US 6, US 99 and CA 11 at different points throughout it's long history.  The Arroyo Seco Parkway is the oldest freeway in the western United States and depending on the definition used it can be considered the oldest in the United States.

Before the Arroyo Seco Parkway travel between Pasadena and Los Angeles on US 66 was routed on surface roads that largely avoided the Arroyo Seco.  Prior to 1933 the Dep…

"Governor Hunt Cuts Ribbon on Doomsday" - The drawnout legal battle to build the I-95 Fayetteville Bypass

It is Monday, December 15, 1980.  North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt and many other dignitaries take part in a ribbon cutting ceremony opening a new 17 mile stretch of Interstate 95 in Cumberland County.  The new road bypasses Fayetteville to the east and completes Interstate 95 in North Carolina - closing a significant gap in what many consider the backbone highway of the East Coast.  The new road moved Interstate traffic from an at-grade, four lane US 301 lined with numerous motels and restaurants onto a fully controlled and traffic light-free limited access freeway. 

Meanwhile at a Quality Inn along US 301 in Fayetteville, a billboard read "Governor Hunt Cuts Ribbon on Doomsday."(1)

The ribbon cutting put an end to over a decade long heated battle over the routing of Interstate 95 around Fayetteville.  One that made it all the way to the steps of the United States Supreme Court.



Interstate 95 in North Carolina History:

The 181 mile Interstate 95 has a unique story in Nort…