"[I]t takes courage to do a thing the first time, no matter how simple and obvious it may appear after it is done. And this, fellow citizens, is the first Freeway in the West."
- California Govenor Culbert Olson at the freeway's dedication
With its landscaped embankments, limited access, and depressed roadway, Arroyo Seco Parkway (now known as the Pasadena Freeway) became the prototype of the Los Angeles freeway system. Motorists enjoy a scenic drive featuring landscaped embankments lush with native chaparral. The curving alignment traverses a chain of small parks shaded by sycamores and eucalyptus and exposed views of the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains.
The experience gained by observing traffic operations on the parkway confirmed the value of acceleration/deceleration lanes and the minimum practical width for planted medians. The prohibition of cross-traffic provided additional driving safety and convenience.