Roads and highways are an inevitable part of any present-day urban landscape. Commuting via highways may be associated with both fast and convenient commutes or with long hours of wading through heavy traffic. The interstates included in the American transportation and route system are the through-passage roads that connect U.S. states over interchanges providing “access to and from any direction” (“Field Guide to Interchanges” par. 2). Since the very establishment of the Bureau of Highways in 1895 and the first highway project development from 1897 and 1907, the interstate highways, which today cover U.S. territory from border to border, had a country-wide significance as they were meant to facilitate engagement in economic activity across both urban and suburban areas (“Important Events in Caltrans History” par. 1).
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Interstate highways are usually built as bypasses to inhabited localities, but the junctions have increased accessibility to regional economic centers for suburban and countryside residents. The general purpose of highways and interchange construction includes accessibility for suburbs to enterprise and retail, as well as accessibility to labor for suburb inhabitants (Muller 366). That said, the expansion of suburbs and their active settlement is interrelated with the development of American highways.
Interstate 15 and California State Route 60
Interstate 15 is a vital route that serves as a transportation corridor for people and industrial or retail cargo between the High Desert to the Los Angeles district. It was built between 1934 and 1964 and was meant to replace prior major State Routes 66 and 91. Today, it connects Los Angeles and San Diego to several large American cities and county seats such as
Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, and Great Falls (“Interstate 15 – Index” par. 1). The major highway interchanges along Interstate 15 include State Route 138 at Cajon Junction, U.S. Route 395 near Oak Hill, and the California 60 freeway in Jurupa Valley (Southern California Association of Governments 20).
California 60 is one major freeway State Routes that previously was “part of the original specification of US Routes in 1926” but was prolonged and continued with the US 60 signage “between Route 57 near Pomona and what is now the Route 215” (“California Highways” par. 3). It serves as the main transportation corridor among suburbs like Los Angeles, Riverside Counties, and Pomona valleys.
Since the 1970s, suburban areas were exposed to significant expansion, and by 1975, suburb populations had grown to nearly 70 million (Muller 363). It is also observed that “the suburban share of metropolitan employment in the largest metropolitan areas grew by 44 percent,” and that by 1973, suburban employment had exceeded the total job rates in the large cities (Muller 363). It is possible to say that the current urbanization and economic development in suburbs was made possible due to the elaboration of efficient interstate routes, which allowed industries to enter highly populated and growing suburban districts. Many manufacturers placed their facilities in suburbia and by doing so have contributed to the suburbanization of employment and economic growth, the creation of shopping centers, and the construction of expressway networks that connect major locations of economic activities in the region.
Interstate 15 and California 60 highway interchanges represent such expressway networks, providing an efficient means of commuting between metropolitan areas like Ontario, Chino, Pomona, Declezville, Jurupa Valley, Eastvale, Rancho Cucamonga. These connect suburbs to local airports (Chino Airport or Ontario International Airport), shopping centers such as Victoria Garden and Montclair Plaza, and schools including Centennial High School and Santiago High School located near Interstate 15 and State Route 91. The proximity of shopping malls and other retail centers to the interstate route, as well as the availability of airports that serve as facilities for distribution of merchandise for manufacturers and enterprises, increases convenience and efficiency for regional supply chain operations, and as a result, leads to further development of local industry and efficient integration of national and international businesses into suburban areas.
Moreno Valley: Interstate 215 and California State Route 60 Interchange
As noted by Jonas in his evaluation of the development of suburbia in Moreno Valley (near California 60 highway between Interstate 215 and 10), regional development and entry of industries into the suburban areas significantly benefit local bankers, school officials, managers of regional utilities, and local property owners (207). Along with Los Angeles suburbia, Moreno Valley has since the 1970s been exposed to rapid development, and today many large stores and international brands are represented in the region, including Starbucks, Honda, Walmart, and ALDI Warehouse. Previously it was thought that the city was built “for outgoing rather than incoming commuters” (Jonas 209); however, the population growth stimulated by cheaper property costs increased demand for the expansion of commercial activities within the area. Thus, it is safe to say that new investors were at least in part attracted by the proximity of highway and interstate routes.
Although interstate highways are commonly associated with convenient commuting, today many problems are interrelated with the Interstate 15 and California 60 interchange. The topical issues include heavy overload between both Route 60 and Route 210, inefficient movement of goods, inefficient route design, substantial safety concerns, and increased number of transportation conflicts caused by trucks mixing with automobile traffic (Southern California Association of Governments 5).
Interstate 15 is the major multi-directional route for carrying people and cargo to and from the Los Angeles area; it also interconnects the city with the rest of the country. Today, traffic on Interstate 15 is comprised of nearly 120,000 vehicles per day, and transportation overload interferes with economic sustainability in the region (Southern California Association of Governments 25). Therefore, to avoid a potential deterioration of transportation performance, it is important to redesign the route to ensure the improvement of a transportation utility that can assist with further economic growth of the Californian suburbia.
The growth of suburban areas is closely interrelated with the construction of the interstate routes and highway interchanges that allow enterprises to locate their facilities in developing districts. At the same time, development along major freeways such as Interstate 15 and California State Route 60 helped to increase productive commercial activity in nearby suburbs. As a result, the value of large urban cities as main labor centers has decreased, while suburban areas have improved their economic status and have begun to attract a larger number of employees (Muller 366). It is possible to say that suburbia earned independence from urban areas which were in the past considered the industrial and commercial centers, and the self-sufficiency of the suburbs was largely facilitated by the expansion of suburban economic activities, suburbanization of production facilities, and the import of multiple goods to the area.
California Highways, 2012. Web.
Field Guide to Interchanges, n.d. Web.
Important Events in Caltrans History, n.d. Web.
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Interstate 15 – Index, 2012. Web.
Jonas, Andrew. “Making Edge City: Post-suburban Development and Life on the Frontier in Southern California.” Changing Suburbs: Foundation, Form and Function. Ed. Richard Harris and Peter Larkham. London: Spon, 1999. 202-221. Print.
Muller, Peter. “The Outer City: The Geographical Consequences of the Urbanization of the Suburbs.” The Suburb Reader. Ed. Becky Nicolaides and Andrew Wiese. New York: Routledge, 2006. 362-368. Print.
Southern California Association of Governments. I-15 Comprehensive Corridor Study, 2005. Web.