For every street, there's a history. KPCC has found some of the stories you can find right under your tires.
Hosted by KPCC
Airs Occasionally

Whitnall Highway

With Disney Hall and L.A. Live, there's finally something to Downtown Los Angeles. But it's taken more than a century to happen. The city father who preached the suburban vision of L.A. is remembered by a street in the San Fernando Valley.

The street is called Whitnall Highway. Gordon Whitnall was L.A.'s Planning Director in the early 20th century. Today, Bill Robertson is director of L.A.'s Department of Street Services.

He says, "It's a divided street. If you've ever been on Whitnall Highway, there's kind of a north and a south and in between there this big plot of land which we now have power lines going down. It was actually laid out to be like a beautiful parkway where people could utilize it. Unfortunately, the plan never happened."

From 1913 until the Great Depression, Gordon Whitnall carved out his vision for a decentralized L.A. But Robertson says he didn't live long enough to see his dream for Whitnall Highway come true.

"Finally, after years and years, we're finally utilizing some of that land for dog parks and other facilities that the community uses. So, ya know, almost a hundred years after they planned it, we're finally seeing some of the use that they had in mind."

Gordon Whitnall died in 1977.