Monday, November 2, 2015

A Bad Week For Freeway Signs

Normally, freeway signs don't even cross our minds in day-to-day life, even if we're on the freeway.  This past week, however they were in the news not just once, but two times - once for a silly reason and once for a tragic one.
Firstly, freeway signs are being updated here along the 5 Freeway.  The Interstate 5 Freeway runs the entire West Coast, including a large portion of Los Angeles.  Early last week, the Los Feliz  Boulevard exit sign was changed out for a new, more reflective one.  Unfortunately, the new sign somehow got past officials, engineers, and CalTrans workers and was installed with incorrect spelling.  For about 30 minutes, travelers exited Los Fezil Blvd. instead of Los Feliz.
It's a story that makes me chuckle because that neighborhood is quite affluent and "hipster".  There are regular arguments over how to properly say the name correctly, and the answer can depend on how pretentious the arguer is.  I'd imagine one of the residents would pay good money buy that botched sign and hang it in their home.
Sadly, later in the week, a freeway sign and the 5 Freeway were in the news again.  This time for a terrible accident that ended in a death.  A 20 year old driver in a Ford Focus, who was driving at high rates of speeds without a seatbelt on the RIGHT SHOULDER, veered into the left lane hitting a pick up truck.  His car rolled multiple times and he was ejected from his car.  If that weren't awful enough, he was ejected upwards of 20 feet ONTO the ledge of a Colorado St. freeway sign.  The pictures of the sheet covered body on a freeway sign are pretty surreal.   Thankfully, his reckless driving didn't hurt or kill anyone else - that's not usually the case around here.


  1. Wow... that second story is totally bizarre (and quite tragic)!

    I'd pronounce "Feliz" as it would be said in Spanish. Like Feliz Navidad or Feliz Cumpleaños.

    I just read a book series (watch for the review in a week or so...I think you'd like them) that made reference to how Californians always refer to their highways by the numbers, not the names. I thought of that when you referenced "The 5". :)

    1. Most people pronounce Los Feliz like that, due to our Latino influences. However, I say it as Los (with a long o, not short like Los Angeles) FEE-lez. My mom grew up in nearby Burbank and that's how she and my grandma would say it. I believe that the area is actually named after the family (pronounced Fee-lez) who developed it rather than a "the celebration" in Spanish. So many things are named after their Spanish translation, that many people pronounce it that way. So the debate remains. :)
      Yes, by the numbers and always with a THE in front of the numbers - the 5, the 405, the 210, the 10, etc. When I lived on the East Coast, it was 93, 95, never with a THE. Did the book say why? I don't why, it's just what they're called. :)
      Funnily enough, my dad, who grew up in the Venice Beach/Culver City area always called that local freeway (The 110) the Harbor Freeway, but everything else by number. It's funny where we get our local "dialects" from...kind of piggy backs on my phonics post.

    2. Funny you designated the "los" part, too. Yep, I'd pronounce that the Spanish way, too, with a long O. Strange that we say Los Angeles like it was spelled "loss".

      I don't remember the book giving a reason why on the number usage, just that Californians do it. Then your comparison to the East coast made me think what I do. I always put "I" in front of the interstate number, but normally just give the number when referring to a US highway. Then when it's a state road, I often say "highway" in front of it. We're creatures of habit. :)

  2. Replies
    1. So awful, and surreal! It's like something out of a David Lynch film. So weird, it'll probably never ever happen again.

  3. I had to look this up.

    Here they put a tent around a body, but I suppose you'd have some blooming job finding a canopy to envelope the motorway gantry sign.
    I strongly suspect the earlier reports will prove wrong. And that the poor guy was utterly blameless. Plus I just don't see how he ended up on that thing from below, but it does seem there's a road above that seems a likely route onto it. Hell he was all but dunked onto the bloody thing.

    Felix (L) Happy, Bountiful, Fertile or Blessed. It's the Los bit that has me stumped. The name from Wiki came from the family that owned the area. Well held the primary land grant. Which came to Griffiths. And I expect 'came' is a very loose word for what was probable extortion if not outright murder. Me Te Lo La Nos Os Los Las. Do you think 'Campo/s de' was in the mix and ended up being lost over time.

    1. I've seen the tents on British cop shows that I've watched. The white tarp is all we get here. It would seem the tent would be good for keeping forensic evidence in place/safe during the investigation.
      So far the story has remained the same other than within the first couple hours when they changed the mark of the car from a Prius to a Ford. All the witnesses say he was driving erratically and very fast. And driving/passing on the shoulder on our freeways is really taking your life into your own hands. The only thing I wonder is if an autopsy will reveal alcohol or drugs in his system.
      I believe the Feliz family had a rancho on the area. And yes, I would imagine it was less than above board tactics that moved the land from that family to (eventually) Griffith.