Jalopnik Weekend: How Much Good Could A Good Man Do If A Good Man Could Do Good?S

Turns out, lots. Driving home on the Arroyo Seco last night (the portion of the 110 between Pasadena and Highland Park) I began realizing just how much of my life I will soon be spending on the world's first freeway. Inside Line is HQ'd in the People's Republic of Santa Monica, meaning that starting Monday not only will I have to deal with the shitty 10, but also the staggering volume of traffic that goes through the 4-level Interchange (think the beginning of Falling Down when "D Fens" abandons his Chevette) and then up the Pasadena (aka the 110 North). Though it used to be worse. Jump, por favor.

In one of the most totally selfless acts in recorded human history, an artist named Richard Ankrom got mad as hell at the traffic and was not going to take it any more. Here's the whole wiki story;

In 2001, Richard Ankrom, a local artist, who got lost trying to get onto Interstate 5 North from the northbound 110 Freeway because there was no clear official signage labeling access to the 5 North, solved his frustration by covertly modifying one of the overhead signs on the freeway just before the tunnels. Using official government sign specifications, Ankrom fabricated two sign pieces, one being an Interstate marker shield with the number '5' on it, and one with the word "NORTH", and affixed them to the left side of the sign. He performed his modifications in broad daylight, disguised as a CalTrans worker. In that district Caltrans has 3 sign crews, each thinking one of the other two crews did the installation. After nine months, at Ankrom's request, the Los Angeles Downtown News broke the story.

Prior to Ankrom's work, the only signage directing motorists to the 5 North off-ramp came at a quarter-mile before the exit, thus forcing many to merge across multiple lanes in a very short distance. The unofficial modifications remain on the sign to this day, after having been inspected by CalTrans to ensure they would not fall off onto the road below

Some morons (i.e. local politicians) wanted to bring charges against Ankrom because he broke the law. However, if I had been mayor, this dude would have had the God damn key to the city. And a star on the walk of fame. And a lifetime gift certificate to Tommy's. And a go-to-the-front-of-the-line pass for Pink's. And a box-seat at the Bowl. And the right to kick West Hollywood meter maids in the nuts. Anyhow, he was never charged with anything and the signage still stands. And dumb people wonder why we need artists.

Artwork by Richard Ankrom [ankrom.org]

Related:
America's First Freeway: The 110 [Internal]