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The Legislative Route gaps of US Route 101 and California State Route 1 on the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco Bay was dedicated on May 28th, 1937.  The Golden Gate Bridge is associated with US Route 101 and California State Route 1 despite never having been maintained by the State of California.  The lack of State Maintenance of the Golden Gate Bridge has led to numerous oddities pertaining to the Legislative Route descriptions of US Route 101 and California State Route 1 containing gaps over the structure.  The Legislative Route descriptions are accentuated by a near signage gap in California State Route 1 over the Golden Gate Bridge.  Pictured above as the blog cover is the Golden Gate Bridge as it appeared in the May 1937 California Highways & Public Works.  

Note; while this blog does pertain to the history of the Golden Gate Bridge corridor it is more focused towards answering the often asked question in the "Roadgeek" community if US Route 101 and California State Route 1 actually exist on the structure.  This blog will tend to delve into Legislative Route dogma and opinions far more than other historic oriented Gribblenation features. 


Part 1; Exploring the Legislative Route gap of US Route 101 and California State Route 1 over the Golden Gate Bridge

Prior the creation of the US Route System the City of San Francisco was contained a gap in State Highway Maintenance between Legislative Route Number 1 (the Redwood Highway) and Legislative Route Number 2 (El Camino Real)..  Both Legislative Route Number 1 and Legislative Route Number 2 were adopted as part of the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act under the following definitions:

Legislative Route Number 1

- San Francisco to Crescent City

Legislative Route Number 2

-  San Francisco to San Diego

Prior to 1933 the California Highway Commission and Division of Highways could not maintain State Highway facilities within incorporated cities such as San Francisco.  Despite the lack of State Maintenance in the City of San Francisco Auto Trails and Signed Highways could be plotted within it's boundaries.  Notably numerous Auto Trails such as the Lincoln Highway did indeed terminate in San Francisco prior to the creation of the US Route System.  

By November of 1926 the US Route system was created and US Route 101 ("US 101") was designated to run through San Francisco as a primary north/south highway.  The American Association of State Highway Officials ("AASHO") was placed in charge of governing changes to the US Route System.  Early US Route signage in Northern California was placed by the California State Automobile Association (CSAA).   Unlike common modern Caltrans conventions the CSAA in addition to the Automobile Club of Southern California (ACSC) often signed highways on non-state maintained roadways.

From Sausalito Point US 101 was routed by ferry to Hyde Street Pier.  From Hyde Street Pier US 101 used the following route through San Francisco:

-  South on Hyde Street.
-  West on Bay Street.
-  South on Van Ness Avenue.
-  West on Market Street.
-  South on Valencia Street.
-  Southwest on Mission Street to Daly City.

The planned initial US Routes approved by the California Highway Commission appear in the January 1926 California Highways & Public Works.  US 101 notably is shown aligned from Sausalito south via the ferry over San Francisco Bay to Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco.  

By 1929 US 101 was split into US 101W through San Francisco and US 101E through Oakland.  The above of US 101 alignment can be seen on the 1930 State Highway City Insert.

1930 Division of Highways Map City Insert

In January of 1933 construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began followed by construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in July 1933.  As a result of the bridge construction the route of US 101W in San Francisco was picked up as an extension of Legislative Route Number 2 ("LRN 2").  The new route of US 101W through San Francisco was as follows from Hyde Street Pier:

-  South on Hyde Street.
-  West on Bay Street.
-  South on Van Ness Avenue.
-  East on Fell Street.
-  Southeast on 10th Street.  US 101W was slated to pick up Bay Bridge traffic via Harrison Street and Bryant Street.
-  South on Potrero Avenue.
-  South on Bayshore Boulevard
-  West on Alemany Boulevard.
-  Southwest on San Jose Avenue to Daly City.

The above alignment of US 101W can be seen on the 1934 State Highway Map City Insert.

1934 Division of Highways Map City Insert

The genesis point for California State Route 1 ("CA 1") in San Francisco dates to 1933.  1933 was significant due to the State Legislature allowing the Division of Highways to assume maintenance of highways in Cities for the first time.  This action by the Legislature led to a large addition of highway mileage throughout the State of California during 1933.  One such extension of LRN 56 which extended the northern terminus from Carmel to Fernbridge.  The extended definition of LRN 56 had it pass through the City of San Francisco but not over San Francisco Bay.  The 1933 definition of LRN 56 is described on as follows:

"(a) a segment from [LRN 2] near Las Cruces via Lompoc and Guadalupe to [LRN 2] near Pismo; (b) [LRN 56] near Carmel to Santa Cruz; (c) Santa Cruz to San Francisco via Coast; (d) State Highway near the Southerly end of the Marin Peninsula to the Marin-Sonoma County Line via the Coast Route; (e) Russian River near Jenner to Westport; and (f) Ferndale to [LRN 1] near Fernbridge."

In the August 1934 California Highways and Public Works Guide the Sign State Routes were announced.  CA 1 was applied to LRN 56 from Las Cruces northward towards Fortuna.  CA 1 was to be aligned with LRN 56 through the City of San Francisco towards Marin County with no implied gaps.  

In 1935 the Legislative Route Descriptions were codified.  While the definition of LRN 2 did not significantly change the definition of LRN 1 was clarified to the following:

"from a point in Marin County opposite San Francisco to the Oregon State Line via Crescent City and the Smith River"

The October 1934 California Highways & Public Works describes the local importance of Junipero Serra Boulevard.  The article goes onto cite a new extension of 19th Avenue from Sloat Boulevard southward as a feeder road to existing Junipero Serra Boulevard near the San Mateo County Line.  A further State Highway extension via 19th Avenue and Funston Avenue towards the Golden Gate Bridge site is briefly cited. 

The interim alignment of CA 1 is shown in full detail on a 1936 Shell Highway Map of San Francisco and Oakland (clink the 1936 map and pan left from Oakland).  CA 1 is shown using the following alignment from the San Mateo County Line north to the Hyde Street Pier:

-  CA 1 northbound enters the City of San Francisco via Junipero Serra Boulevard/LRN 56.

-  CA 1 merged on 19th Avenue via the 19th Avenue Extension towards Golden Gate Park on what was part of LRN 56.  CA 1 intersected CA 5 on 19th Avenue at Sloat Boulevard.  

-  CA 1 entered Golden Gate Park via 19th Avenue where State Maintenance terminated at Lincoln Way.  CA 1 is shown to traverse the local roads of Gold Gate Park around the western and northern shore of Stow Lake to Fulton Street.  CA 1 is shown to have a planned bypass of Stow Lake which would follow the southern and eastern shores to a planned new alignment via Funston Avenue.  The planned Funston Avenue alignment of CA 1 is shown traversing the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge construction site.  

-  CA 1 is shown heading east via Fulton Street to the City Hall complex at Franklin Street.  CA 1 is shown traversing the City Hall complex via Franklin Street and McAllister Street to reach US Route 101/LRN 2 at Van Ness Avenue.  

-  CA 1 followed a multiplex of US Route 101 via; Van Ness Avenue, Bay Street and Hyde Street to the Hyde Street Pier. 

The Golden Gate Bridge was completed April 19th, 1937, and was dedicated on May 28th.  The ceremonies leading up to the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge are discussed in the May 1937 California Highways & Public Works.  The article notes the unlike the State built San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge construction of the Golden Gate Bridge was financed by the six Counties of San Francisco Bay.  Thusly even from the outset the Golden Gate Bridge was never considered to be a State Highway facility.  The Golden Gate Bridge features an 8,980-foot-long hybrid truss-suspension design.  

No California Highways & Public Works nor the 1938 Division of Highways State Map City Insert gives a clear indication as to what interim route CA 1 was signed on after the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It is highly likely that CA 1 simply multiplexed US 101 from City Hall via Van Ness Avenue and Lombard Street to the Golden Gate Bridge.  

US 101 is shown to be recognized as being aligned over the Golden Gate Bridge by the California State Highway Engineer and AASHO in a letter dated November 3rd, 1937.  Said letter which contains several maps of the Signed Highways around San Francisco Bay.  One map clearly shows US 101 over the Golden Gate Bridge whereas a planned multiplex with CA 1 is seemingly implied.

The June 1939 California Highways & Public Works details the ongoing construction of what was now termed the "Park-Presidio Boulevard" approach (CA 1/LRN 56) to the Golden Gate Bridge.  The article cites negotiations for construction through the Presidio began in 1935 between the; Military, Golden Gate Bridge & Highway District and City of San Francisco with the Division of Highways not taking part.  In 1937 the Division of Highways assumed control the Presidio connector to the Golden Gate Bridge and also took over negotiations with the Military.  Construction through the Presidio was issued via Military permit to the Division of Highways on July 27th, 1938.  An U.S. Army requirement was for the Presidio project to be fully limited access through the military reservation.  The tunnel under the Presidio Golf Course is shown in false work and a diagram shows the full scale of the Presidio connector project.  

The March 1940 California Highways & Public Works shows the Park-Presidio Boulevard/Funston Avenue Approach of CA 1/LRN 56 in ongoing construction.  The article cites the Park-Presidio Boulevard Funston Avenue Approach as having an anticipated completion date of April 15th.  The 1,300 foot long tunnel under the Presidio Golf Course is cited as having been completed in January of 1940.  

The May 1940 California Highways & Public Works cites the Park-Presidio Boulevard/Funston Avenue Approach along with the 19th Avenue Approach to Golden Gate Park of CA 1/LRN 56 as being completed by April 21st. 

The November 1940 California Highways & Public Works provides some clarity as to how CA 1 through Golden Gate Park was constructed.  The article primarily details the widening of CA 1/LRN 56 on 19th Avenue but briefly mentions CA 1 being constructed as a divided highway through Golden Gate Park via a Work Progress Administration project.  It is conveyed clearly at the time CA 1 through Golden Gate Park was not State Maintained as part of LRN 56.  The reasoning for why CA 1 was aligned along the western and northern shores of Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park are not made clear in the article.  With the completion of the Golden Gate Park segment and widening of 19th Avenue the present alignment of CA 1 in San Francisco took shape.  

During the 1964 California State Highway Renumbering the Legislative Routes were dropped in favor of field signage.  What was LRN 2 was given the following definition as a segment of what was legislatively US 101:

"(a) The junction of Route 105 and 110 in Los Angeles to Route 80 in San Francisco, passing near Ford Ranch south of San Jose.  (b) Route 80 to Route 480."

What was largely LRN 1 was given the following definition as a segment of what legislatively US 101:

"(c) A point in Marin County opposite San Francisco to the Oregon State Line via Crescent City."

What was largely LRN 56 north of Gavoita Pass was added to the new legislative definition of CA 1:

"(a)" Route 5 north of San Juan Capistrano to Route 101 near El Rio. (b) Route 101 near Las Cruces to Route 101 near Pismo Beach via the vicinity of Lompoc and Guadalupe.  (c) San Luis Obispo to Route 280 south of San Francisco along the coast via Cambira, San Simeon and Santa Cruz.  (d) A connection from Route 280 to Route 82 near the south boundary of City and County of San Francisco.  (e) Route 101 near the southerly end of the Marin Peninsula to Route 101 near Fernbridge via coast route through Jenner, Westport and Ferndale."

The California legislative definition of US 101 clearly conveyed a lack of State Maintenance over the Golden Gate Bridge via multiplex of planned Interstate 480 in San Francisco.  The 1964 legislative definition of CA 1 didn't even imply a multiplex of planned Interstate 280 via the corridor of the Presidio nor US 101 in Marin County.  The legislative definitions of US 101 and CA 1 can be seen on the 1964 Division of Highways Map

The legislative route definitions described above along with US 101 and CA 1 are shown amid a void in State Highway maintenance over the Golden Gate Bridge on the 1964 Division of Highways Map City Insert.  

1968 Legislative Chapter 282 reverted the corridor of 19th Avenue and the Presidio legislatively back to CA 1 following the rerouting of planned Interstate 280:

"Route 280 near the south boundary of the City and County of San Francisco to Route 480 in San Francisco"

1991 Legislative Chapter 282 changed section (b) of the legislative description of US 101 to reflect the demolition of CA 480/Embarcadero Freeway following the Loma Prieta Earthquake:

"(b) Route 80 near Division Street in Francisco to the junction of Route 1, Funston approach, and the approach to the Golden Gate Bridge in the Presidio of San Francisco passing near the intersections of Lombard Street and Van Ness Avenue."

Part 2; a drive on the Golden Gate Bridge looking for US Route 101 and California State Route 1 signage

US 101 northbound transitions from Lombard Street in San Francisco onto the Presidio Parkway.  US 101 northbound traffic at Exit 437 is notified that CA 1 can be found 1 mile ahead at 19th Avenue.

US 101 northbound passes through Presidio Parkway Tunnel (completed during 2014) and intersects CA 1 at Exit 438 for 19th Avenue.  The Exit 438 signage indicates CA 1 southbound can be accessed via 19th Avenue but no multiplex on US 101 northbound towards the Golden Gate Bridge is implied.  

No US 101 or CA 1 signage exists in either direction on the Golden Gate Bridge.  

Oddly US 101 does appear on the Caltrans Postmile Tool as approximately Route 101 SF 10-11.18 on the Golden Gate Bridge despite it not being a State Maintained structure.  

US 101 reassurance signage north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County begins again at the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Viewpoint.  

The first CA 1 reassurance shield doesn't appear on US 101 north of the Golden Gate Bridge until a multiplex assembly approaching Exit 445B in Tamalpais-Homestead Valley.

Exit 445B on US 101 southbound doesn't imply a multiplex of CA 1 but a multiplex assembly can be found ahead of the entrance ramp.  

A multiplexed US 101/CA 1 southbound assembly at the entrance ramp at Exit 442 approaching the Golden Gate Bridge.  

Part 3; Conclusions

Looking at the totality of evidence presented in Part 1-Part 2 does US 101 and CA 1 exist on the Golden Gate Bridge? 

-  Neither US 101 or CA 1 exist as California State Legislative Routes on the Golden Gate Bridge given it is not a State Maintained facility. 
-  The AASHTO recognizes the Golden Gate Bridge as part of US 101.  
-  Neither US 101 or CA 1 are signed with reassurance shields on the Golden Gate Bridge structure.  
-  Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission do recognize the existence of US 101 on the Golden Gate Bridge given it appears in the Caltrans Postmile Tool.
-  The 1934 definition of CA 1 infers the highway multiplexed US 101 over San Francisco Bay.  At minimum this infers the State once recognized a multiplex of US 101/CA 1 once the Golden Gate Bridge was completed until the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.  
-  CA 1 is signed southbound at the last entrance ramp in Marin County before the Golden Gate Bridge.
-  Despite common practice today there are numerous examples of Rouge California State Route Spades being signed in areas not maintained by Caltrans.  The lack of Legislative Definition therefore cannot (author's personal opinion) be taken as a full inference of a State Route not existing if adequate reassurance signage remains.  

In conclusion US Route 101 without question does exist on the Golden Gate Bridge.  The existence of California State Route 1 on the Golden Gate Bridge is far more murky given the lack of fully adequate reassurance signage on both sides of the structure.  My personal take is not to look at questionable signage practices with such a dogmatic view versus obvious intended implied route continuation.  Thusly, given CA 1 is adequately signed southbound in Marin County to the Golden Gate Bridge onward into the City of San Francisco it is my personal opinion that it exists on the structure.

Have a differing opinion regarding the existence of US 101 and CA 1 on the Golden Gate Bridge?  If so, leave us a comment and give us your take.   


Derrick Garbell said…
I posted 1959 southbound reassurance signage showing US 101 & CA-1 shields at the GGB Marin entry in the comments here:

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