Observing Los Angeles

The genuine article: LA vs. SF

By Bay Area tradition, references to freeways don't carry an article. In Los Angeles we "take the 101" (or "the Ventura Freeway") but up north they just "take 101." Times "Only in L.A." columnist Steve Harvey collected some thoughts recently published up there on how Bay Area residents would feel if our way became theirs.

* "Creeping L.A.-isms are invading our airwaves. . . . Adding the word 'the' is superfluous and annoying...."

"My son moved to L.A. when he went to college. When he came home to visit, he started using 'the' to refer to freeways. I told him I wouldn't tolerate that language in my house...."


Bay Area radio reporter Joe McConnell theorized that the difference in terminology "stems from the fact that many of the freeways in SoCal have actual names, like the San Diego Freeway. . . . In more recent years, (SoCal) people have made the transition from using those names . . . to the numbers. But they haven't gotten out of the habit of saying 'the.' In a shorthand sort of way they end up saying 'the' 405 or 'the' 10, etc."

Harvey also had a good piece over the weekend on the history of the arroyo bridge at UCLA. It just looks like another campus street since the arroyo it crossed was filled in long ago.

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