News and Commentary

Los Angeles Highway Named For Obama. Next Target: Major Chicago Expressway.

Areas in or around major American cities in blue states are pushing to name their highways after former President Barack Obama. The latest case in point: Los Angeles, where a part of the 134 Freeway between Glendale and Pasadena has been named the President Barack H. Obama Highway.

That portion of the highway runs between Glendale CA-2 and the 210 Freeway, and includes the exit that leads to Occidental College, which Obama attended from 1979 to 1981. State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge), who co-authored the bill, gushed that the time Obama was a student at Occidental “influenced his political trajectory and lead him to become one of the most revered and respected Presidents in history.” He continued, “Our community came together to make this happen. It is an honor to be in a position to have helped facilitate this wonderful symbol of our collective respect for the grace and dignity embodied by our 44th President.”

Portantino first introduced the plan in December 2016.

Meanwhile, William Daley, 70, the youngest child of the late Chicago Richard J. Daley and the brother of former mayor Richard M.Daley, is running for mayor of Chicago, and he wants to name a major expressway in the city, the Dan Ryan Expressway, after Obama. He served as Secretary of Commerce from 1997-2000 under former president Bill Clinton and as Chief of Staff for former President Barack Obama from 2011-2012.

In a press release, Daley urged the city of Chicago to rename the Dan Ryan Expressway after Obama, tweeting:

Our Chicago expressways are named for towering figures in our history: Kennedy, Eisenhower, Stevenson. We should have one for Obama, who is the only President from Chicago and led the nation through the second-worst economic crisis in our history … Barack Obama is from Chicago. He owns a home here. This is where the Obama library is based. I’d like to see the legislature act on this early this year.

The Dan Ryan expressway opened on December 12, 1961. It was named after Dan Ryan Jr., who had recently died and had been president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Other streets or highways named after Obama include the following streets or highways:

Opa-locka, Florida: Pervis Avenue was renamed Barack Obama Avenue in 2009.

West Park, Florida: SW 40th Avenue was renamed Barack Obama Boulevard in 2009.

Seaside, California: Broadway Avenue was renamed Obama Way in 2010.

East St. Louis, Illinois: 4th street became Barack Obama Avenue in August, 2012.

Los Angeles, California: Rodeo Road was renamed Obama Boulevard in 2017.

Chicago, Illinois: A part of Interstate 55 was named the Barack Obama Presidential Expressway in 2017.

New Albany, Indiana: a section of Reas Lane was renamed for Obama the last week Obama served as president.

Orlando, Florida: named a street President Barack Obama Parkway.

There is also a Barack Obama Boulevard in Pahokee, Florida; a President Barack Obama Highway around Riviera Beach, Florida, and a President Barack Obama Boulevard in St. Louis, Missouri.