Figueroa Street Tunnels

Two-way traffic once ran through the Figueroa Street Tunnels, now part of the Arroyo Seco Parkway. Courtesy of the USC Libraries - Dick Whittington Photography Collection.

Two-way traffic once ran through the Figueroa Street Tunnels, now part of the Arroyo Seco Parkway. Courtesy of the USC Libraries – Dick Whittington Photography Collection.


I am such a freeway nerd, so I cannot resist good articles on Los Angeles freeway history. One of my new favorite blogs, LA As a Subject, has a great article on the history of the Figueroa Street Tunnels.

You may recognize them as the Pasadena Freeway tunnels, and I remember them most from the Universal Studios Tour back in the early 1980s when they would get volunteers from the audience to come on stage and bounce on a bicycle in front of a green screen and they made it look like you were riding down the freeway. I love the look of the tunnels and the other LA bridges that architect Merrill Butler designed in the 30s. It’s almost like the LA River bridges and the tunnels are Art Deco bookends for the city.

Check out the article for some great photos of the tunnels under construction and in use as a road before being upgraded for freeway traffic.