A five-mile section of the 134 Ventura freeway has been renamed after 44th President Barack Obama, who attended Occidental College in nearby Eagle Rock.
On Thursday, Caltrans spokesman Marc Bischoff announced that the new signs were unveiled at two locations: one on the right shoulder of westbound State Route 134 in Pasadena — not far from where the former POTUS lived during his days as a student — and the other at the eastbound 134 near Glendale.
The “President Barack H. Obama Highway” was most likely part of a young Obama’s daily route to Occidental. That school would host his first political speech, wherein he urged the college to divest itself of its investments in South Africa.
“The president has often mentioned his fond memories of living in Pasadena and attending Occidental College, so it was very appropriate to name the portion of the freeway he traveled after him,” said La Canada Flintridge’s Democratic state Senator Anthony Portantino.
No taxpayer dollars were spent for the renaming. Instead, the roughly $5,000 bill was picked up through private donations. “So many generous people can share in the accomplishment of this appropriate recognition of an inspiring, positive leader, ” Portantino said in a prepared statement. “What a great way to bring in 2019.”
Reactions were, if anything, muted. “I don’t have a problem with it. But it will not bring about world peace or feed hungry kids,” said one Pasadena resident. “It’s cool. It is better than a Donald Trump freeway,” said another.